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Despite loss to Jets, Jaguars off to best start since 2010 -- and tied for first

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As cruddy as the Jacksonville Jaguars felt on Monday after a 23-20 overtime loss to the New York Jets, they were able to find a small positive.

They are still in first place in the AFC South.

Tied with Houston and Tennessee at 2-2, but in first place nonetheless. Considering the state of the franchise over the last decade, that’s not an insignificant accomplishment.

“Absolutely making progress,” linebacker Paul Posluszny said. “You can just feel the attitude of the team, the feel of the team, the entire culture that’s been established. We’re definitely heading in the right direction.

“Now, we want to be better. We want to win more [and] play at a higher level. That’ll continually be our goal.”

The Jaguars are off to their best start since they also started 2-2 in 2010. Victories over Houston and Baltimore are the most they’ve had in September since the 2008 season. They were 5-22 in games played in September from 2009 to 2016.

They were winless in September in 2013 (0-4), 2014 (0-4) and 2016 (0-3), which essentially ended any realistic chance of being competitive in the division. That they’re sitting in a three-way tie for first place in October heading into Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh, despite playing their worst game of the season last Sunday, isn’t lost on the players.

“We’re still standing in a good place,” receiver Arrelious Benn said. “We’re not going to beat ourselves up. It’s a lot of football left to play. All the guys in here know that; coaches know it. We’re just going to keep preparing.”

That doesn’t mean the loss to the Jets doesn't sting. Posluszny and Benn were still bothered by their costly penalties late in the game -- Posluszny’s unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty helped set up the Jets’ winning field goal, and Benn’s hold wiped out what could have been a game-winning touchdown -- and the rest of the defense was still upset about giving up 256 yards rushing.

Receiver Marqise Lee tweeted an apology for his overtime drop that could have set up a game-winning field goal attempt. Quarterback Blake Bortles said the offense’s inconsistency, as well as his own, is holding the unit back.

Defensive tackle Malik Jackson said he was pleased that the Jaguars are tied for first but wants to make sure people understand that they’re not satisfied with being .500.

“We live in the situation where we want to be 4-0 in every quarter, so to be 2-2 and say last year we were this, it doesn’t matter because this is this year,” Jackson said. “Being able to be here now in the situation is great. It’s better than being 1-3. It’s better than being 0-4, but, hell, we want to be perfect. That’s our goal to strive for and that’s what we want to do. That’s what we’re going to do.”