JACKSONVILLE – In a weekly feature for the 2023 season, NFL Media and Jaguars Media analyst Bucky Brooks breaks down the Jaguars' performance in a 17-9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville Sunday
- The Jaguars missed a chance to knock off the defending Super Bowl champions in a game that was there for the taking. Despite winning the turnover battle (plus-2) and holding the Chiefs' high-powered offense to 17 points, the Jaguars failed to walk away with a victory due to faulty offensive execution. Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence and Co. never found their rhythm, and the unit's struggles – particularly in the red zone – were the difference in the game. With the defense and special teams creating short fields and scoring chances, the offense's inability to take advantage of those gifts created a few sleepless nights for the coaching staff this week.
KEYS TO VICTORY
- The Chiefs won for the first time this season due to the spectacular efforts of their "Big 3" (quarterback Patrick Mahomes, tight end Travis Kelce and defensive tackle Chris Jones) in key moments. The veteran trio played like all-stars when the Chiefs needed it, and their clutch performance was the difference in the game. From Mahomes' impromptu scramble tosses – including a 9-yard touchdown strike to Kelce – to Jones' single-handed destruction of the Jaguars' pass protection, the Chiefs' star power overwhelmed the Jaguars throughout the game.
- The Jaguars' franchise quarterback did not bring his A-game to the party against the Chiefs. Lawrence completed 22 of 41 passes for 216 without a touchdown or interception. The former No. 1 overall pick repeatedly missed open receivers down the field and in the red zone. Although some of the misfires were slightly off-target, the imprecise ball placement kept the Jaguars' playmakers (SEE: wide receivers Zay Jones and Calvin Ridley) from toe-tapping in the back of the end zone. Lawrence's inaccuracy was compounded by a few questionable decisions that prevented the Jaguars from taking advantage of favorable field position and scoring opportunities against the defending champs. As a franchise quarterback with Top 5 potential, Lawrence must excel in these moments for the Jaguars to take the next step as a playoff/title contender.
- Inside linebacker Devin Lloyd quietly played one of the best games of his career against the Chiefs. The second-year pro finished with 11 tackles and two pass breakups while displaying the speed, instincts and awareness that made him a first-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. If Lloyd can carry the momentum from this standout performance into the next few games, the Jaguars' defense could surge up the charts as a top unit.
- The offense has yet to click through the first two weeks of the season. The combination of faulty execution, poor offensive line play and the inconsistent performance of the franchise quarterback has prevented this unit from realizing its potential as a high-powered offense. The lack of big plays and consistent chain movement has led to frustrations from the players and coaches. Until the offense plays up to the standard set by Pederson ahead of the season, the Jaguars will continue to struggle in big games against elite competition.
- Credit defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell for crafting a solid game plan that kept the Jaguars in the game. The clever mix of coverage and pressure prevented Mahomes from finding his rhythm for most of the game. Although the two-time MVP finished with a 300-yard game, he turned the ball over and was forced to play a "dink-and-dunk" game from the pocket. With the Chiefs' passing game contained for most of the game, the Jaguars' defense gave the team a chance to win a big game in front of the home crowd.
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