JACKSONVILLE – Nick Foles spoke for himself and many others.
“It’s not the way you want to start your time here,” Foles said late Sunday afternoon.
Foles, the Jaguars’ starting quarterback, sustained a broken left clavicle late in the first quarter of a 40-26 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at TIAA Bank Field Sunday. He will undergo surgery Monday and is out indefinitely.
“I just know he has a broken collarbone,” Head Coach Doug Marrone said, adding: “You know what I’m going to say, right? ---- happens.”
Foles, who signed as an unrestricted free agent from Philadelphia in the 2019 offseason, sustained his injury on the final play of the Jaguars’ second offensive drive Sunday. He threw a perfect 35-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver D.J. Chark, and was hit after the throw. Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones landed on Foles, who staggered to the sidelines afterward.
Foles walked immediately to the tunnel and was X-Rayed.
“It’s unfortunate but at the same time I’m going to stay positive and trust the good Lord in this time,” Foles said. “Sometimes things don’t happen like we expect them to, but we just have to have faith that it’s for a reason. I’m still grateful I get to be a part of this team. I’ll have surgery tomorrow to get this thing rolling and trust the good Lord for healing and be ready to roll when I am.”
Foles, who sustained a broken collarbone with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014, said this injury was worse than that one.
“At the same time, I’m optimistic that it will heal quicker,” Foles said. “We don’t have a time span. We’re going to take it one day at a time.”
Foles added: “I knew right when I hit the ground something was wrong. I felt it. The whole play, they did a nice job covering that route and all I remember is seeing DJ. We’ve never thrown that route, that’s the first time I’ve thrown that route to him. It’s usually the underneath route but they did a nice job with their coverage. They mix it up and my gut told me just to release it.
“All I saw was two red jerseys in my face and I remember hitting the ground on the left side and feeling a crack. Then getting up and going to the sidelines to get checked.”
Rookie sixth-round quarterback Gardner Minshew replaced Foles, completing 22 of 25 passes for 275 yards and a touchdown with an interception in three quarters. “It was a lot of ups and downs,” Minshew said. “I’m not happy with the circumstances that it happened obviously. It breaks my heart to see what happened to Nick, because he’s been one of the best people I’ve ever played with and had the pleasure to be around. To see him go down like that was awful, but I know he’s going to be there with me and we’re going to have this team where we need to go.” Said wide receiver Chris Conley: “I was very impressed. [Minshew] did a very good job of calming his nerves. … He put points on the board. This offense is going to be good. We’ve just got to eliminate the drive-ending penalties that back ourselves up.”
Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack on his second-quarter ejection for throwing a punch during an altercation with Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins, for which Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson and running back Damien Williams were penalized but not ejected: “I have to apologize to my team and the city of Jacksonville because that is not how we conduct ourselves in any way.” Jack emphasized that he didn’t believe Watkins was trying to run a route on the play. “I just felt like that play was not a football play,” Jack said. “I felt like it was a pass play and the receiver did not run the route. I felt like he smashed right into me underneath my chin and tackled me and got up and said some words to me, so I kind of pushed him and I got attacked from the back. At that point, I felt like we were not playing football anymore but that is no excuse for my actions. Looking back, it was an idiotic move for me to do that because you do not get points for that. I’m a captain now and the team just extended me (his contract), so I have to do better for me and my team.”
A Jaguars defense that ranked in the Top 6 in the NFL in total defense the past three seasons allowed 491 yards Sunday. “I wouldn’t say it was communication, but more of them protecting our scheme and attacking our plays,” cornerback Jalen Ramsey said. “I guess we were not disciplined enough, nor did we execute the plays as we should have and that kind of affected us across the board.” The Chiefs scored on their first seven possessions, with quarterback Patrick Mahomes throwing for 313 yards in the first half. “We were on the sidelines talking to each other and we really did not know how to feel,” Ramsey said. “We knew that they had a great offense, but we thought we would perform better against them. Forty points is not good and that is not Jacksonville defense. We have too many talented players and too good of a group to perform like that out there, but it’s Week 1, so we are going to watch the film and correct our mistakes as much as we can.”
Running back Leonard Fournette rushed for 66 yards on 13 carries with four receptions for 28 yards. He also accounted for both Jaguars turnovers, losing a key third-quarter fumble inside the Chiefs 30 and having a pass from Minshew bounce off his hands for a fourth-quarter interception. The fumble allowed the Chiefs to turn a 10-point lead into 17 and the interception led to the Chiefs’ final field goal. “I have to learn from it and not let it bother me, so I have to move on from it,” Fournette said. “This is only Game One, not like the championship.”
Conley on the loss of Foles: “That’s the game of football. It’s ebb and flow and unexpected. We’ve got to roll with the punches. We’ve got to get better and we’ve got to learn from some of the mistakes that we’ve made today. If we can continue to work putting things together, this team is going to be in a great place. We just got to focus on that. We can’t look backwards at should’ve/could’ve/would’ve been done today. We can’t look too far ahead. We’ve got to focus on the here and now, which is learning about why we made the mistakes that we made today. And we’ve got to put in the work so that we can be better tomorrow. I think that this team has all of the talent in the world and we’re going to be in a good place.”
Fournette: “We’re good. It’s only game one and we expected the offense to come in and do what they do, and they did. It wasn’t like a blowout. We still kept fighting until the end of the game, so that was a good thing and I liked that in the team and so now we have to move on from this and get ready for the rest of the games that are coming up in the season.”