Is Jacksonville Jaguars' upset of Buffalo Bills a sign things have turned or just a lucky day?

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars pulled off the biggest upset in franchise history on Sunday afternoon at TIAA Bank Field, beating the 15.5-point favorite Buffalo Bills 9-6.

It came one week after an embarrassing -- or, per linebacker Myles Jack, "humiliating" -- loss at the Seattle Seahawks in which quarterback Geno Smith almost couldn’t miss.

Which leaves the Jaguars … where?

Was Sunday’s victory over the Bills (5-3) an indication that things have started to turn for the Jaguars (2-6) in 2021? A sign that they are indeed headed in the right direction under coach Urban Meyer? Or was it just a day when they got lucky and they’re headed for another clunker next week against the Colts in Indianapolis, where they’ve lost seven of eight?

If you’re looking for signs that the Jaguars might have turned the corner, you can point to the fact that they held the league’s top-scoring offense (31.7 points per game entering the weekend) to just two field goals. And that they intercepted Josh Allen twice, forced him to fumble once, and sacked him four times.

Plus, cornerback Shaquill Griffin kept wide receiver Stefon Diggs from doing a lot of damage (six catches for 85 yards), and his counterpart, Cole Beasley, managed just 33 yards on eight catches.

Jaguars running back James Robinson (heel) did not play, left tackle Cam Robinson’s back tightened up in pregame warm-ups and rookie Walker Little (who did not play in the first five games and had played just one offensive snap until Sunday) was forced into a starting role. That meant three starting offensive linemen didn’t play, because right guard A.J. Cann (knee) is out for the season and center Brandon Linder (high ankle sprain) is still on injured reserve.

There also were four dropped passes -- two by receiver Jamal Agnew, including one in the end zone -- and kicker Matthew Wright missed field goals on three consecutive snaps (two were voided by penalties).

And yet Jacksonville still beat Buffalo, which entered the weekend as the odds-on favorite to win the Super Bowl.

“That was awful last week [against Seattle],” Meyer said. “It's not bad players; no one ever said that. But the best version of ourselves is pretty good. First half against Cincinnati. At one point you were beating a really good Cardinals team 19-10. You hold Seattle to 60 yards of offense in the second half. So, the best version of yourself is pretty good.

“They kind of bought into it and believed it, and they had a good day [Sunday].”

Can they build on that, though? They weren’t able to the last time they got some momentum.

The Jaguars had made progress after their embarrassing season-opening loss at the Houston Texans. They had the lead against the Arizona Cardinals and also had a chance to beat the host Cincinnati Bengals on a Thursday night before defeating the Miami Dolphins 23-20 in London.

But they went backward after the bye in Seattle, which is partly why Sunday’s victory over the Bills was so surprising.

What they did Sunday isn’t sustainable, though. The Jaguars managed just 218 yards of offense, Trevor Lawrence’s completion percentage has dropped in each of the past four games, and a position group that appeared to be the team’s strength (receiver) lost DJ Chark Jr. and hasn’t been as impactful.

The defense had forced just two turnovers in the first six games and had allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 74% of their passes before forcing three turnovers against the Bills. And the capper to “How unusual was Sunday’s defensive performance?” Defensive tackle Taven Bryan had two sacks after having 3.5 in his first 54 games.

This was always going to be a multiyear rebuild, regardless of what Meyer said in the offseason. And 2021 was always going to be rough even with someone who was considered to be a generational quarterback in this year's draft. This team was 1-15 last season and it wasn’t just because of poor quarterback play. There was a major talent issue, and that hasn’t changed much.

There are certainly some building blocks with Lawrence, Allen, Robinson, Griffin and Jack. But that’s not even close to being enough. They need another pass-rusher. They need help at linebacker, cornerback, offensive line and tight end. Most importantly, the Jaguars need more speed and talent at receiver.

Addressing those needs is a slow process, though, and it can be messy. What they did Sunday doesn’t mean what happened against Houston and Seattle won’t happen again. But it’s a bit of positivity for a franchise that, frankly, hasn't had much of it lately.

“We can't think that we won a game; ‘All right, now we're good,’” Lawrence said. “It's just going to keep rolling. You've got to still put the work in and do everything you can to get another one. I have no doubt this team will do that.

“You see us getting better every week, and to beat one of the best teams in the league, that shows it. It just shows we can win any way we need to. In London, we threw for a lot of yards, ran for a lot of yards, scored some touchdowns, ended up having to win the game at the end of the game on offense, had to get a first down, make a game-winning field goal, and then, today, played great defense and just grinded it out and found a way to win. So, it's awesome.”