JACKSONVILLE – The new era didn't have a feel-good start.
With Gus Bradley making his Jaguars head coaching debut, and with 26 new players on the roster, the Jaguars struggled offensively throughout, falling behind by 19 points at halftime and losing to the Kansas City Chiefs, 28-2 in front of 59,416 at EverBank Field Sunday in the 2013 regular-season opener.
The Chiefs (1-0) outgained the Jaguars 170-49 in the first half, and led 21-2 at halftime.
Blaine Gabbert, starting at quarterback for the Jaguars (0-1) after being a game-time decision because of a thumb injury, completed 16 of 35 passes for 121 yards and two interceptions. The Jaguars finished with 178 total yards.
Alex Smith, making his first regular-season start at quarterback for the Chiefs after being acquired in an offseason trade with San Francisco, completed 21 of 34 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.
Gabbert left the game on the Jaguars' final series after a scramble ended with him being shaken up. Chad Henne finished the drive, which ended on the Chiefs' four-yard line with :41 remaining.
Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew rushed 15 times for 45 yards, and Cecil Shorts III – who came within 21 yards of 1,000 yards receiving last season – catching three passes for 40 yards.
The Chiefs finished with a 293-178 total-yardage advantage and had 17 first downs to 12 for the Jaguars.
The Chiefs took a 14-2 lead in the first quarter, with a pair of touchdown drives coming from point-blank range.
A five-yard pass from Smith to wide receiver Donnie Avery capped a 24-yard drive that came after a 36-yard punt return by Dexter McCluster. A 3-yard touchdown pass from Smith to wide receiver Junior Hemingway capped a 21-yard drive that came after cornerback Brandon Flowers returned an interception 36 yards.
Running back Jamaal Charles' 2-yard run with 6:26 remaining in the second quarter made it, 21-2, and linebacker Tamba Hali's 7-yard interception return made it 28-2 early in the fourth quarter.
The last time an NFL team scored exactly two points was 1993.
This came in the first quarter. The Jaguars had early momentum, with linebacker J.T. Thomas – claimed off waivers last Sunday – blocking a punt that went through the back of the end zone for a safety. That gave the Jaguars a 2-0 lead with 12:26 remaining. But the Chiefs turned McCluster's punt return into a short, point-blank touchdown drive and with the offense struggling,the Jaguars never threatened to take the lead again.
- Jaguars defensive end Jason Babin had a sack early in the fourth quarter.
- Linebackers Geno Hayes and Paul Posluszny leveled Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles on 3rd-and-1 early in the third quarter. The play stopped a Chiefs drive and forced a punt. Charles left the game with a quad injury, and did not return.
- Jaguars second-year punter Bryan Anger punted 11 times to tie a franchise record for punts in a game.
LOOKING ON . . .
*This was a tough day for the Jaguars' offense. Really tough. Gabbert's numbers were disappointing, with his day made difficult by early drops, and a lack of protection throughout. The Chiefs finished with six sacks, including three by linebacker Justin Houston. Jaguars rookie offensive tackle Luke Joeckel struggled at times with Houston, appearing to allow two of the sacks, but overall, it was a difficult day for an offensive line expected to be improved this season.
*No one around the Jaguars will be happy with this effort, but it's hard to blame the Jaguars' defense too, too much. The Chiefs' longest touchdown drive was 53 yards, with the two first-half touchdowns coming in drives of 24 and 21 yards, respectively. The defense didn't get enough pass rush on Smith at times, but overall, they got off the field enough to keep the team in the game had the offense functioned.
Jaguars cornerback Dwayne Gratz sustained a calf injury late in the first half, and did not return. Guard Will Rackley sustained a knee contusion and did not return. Wide receiver Mike Brown sustained a back contusion in the fourth quarter and did not return.
The Jaguars began the game with tight end Marcedes Lewis the only starter not in the lineup. Guard Will Rackley started after missing the final two games of the preseason with an ankle injury.
Running back Justin Forsett returned after missing all four preseason games with a toe injury.