KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Senior writer John Oehser examines the Jaguars' 19-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday – with an eye on Head Coach Gus Bradley's reaction to the loss
"WE CAME HERE TO WIN"
Gus Bradley saw it clearly and simply.
The Jaguars improved offensively and defensively Sunday, and in many ways played well enough to win. They played far better than they had the past two weeks.
And because they didn't win, none of it mattered.
The Jaguars' head coach made that clear in the wake of a third consecutive loss, a game in which the Jaguars outgained the Kansas City Chiefs 449-221 but lost after committing four turnovers and forcing none.
"We didn't come here to collect positives; we came here to win," Bradley said after the Jaguars slipped to 2-6 and lost despite holding the Chiefs to 10 total first downs.
The Jaguars also held the Chiefs to 1 of 14 on third downs after struggling on third-down defense entering the game.
But the Jaguars' most significant improvement Sunday came offensively, with the offense turning in its most impressive statistical game of the season in new coordinator Nathaniel Hackett's first game in the position.
Hackett and Bradley both said during the week there would be an emphasis on the running game. The offense responded, rushing for a season-high 205 yards on 32 carries. Running back Chris Ivory rushed for a season-high 107 yards on 18 carries and running back T.J. Yeldon rushed for 33 yards on seven carries.
"I just think we stuck with it," Bradley said. "It was pretty clear that that was our intent, that we wanted to mix it up. We felt like if those plays generated and we got some runs we liked we'd stick with it."
The Jaguars scored two touchdowns Sunday and missed multiple opportunities for more. One miss came when wide receiver Allen Hurns dropped a well-thrown pass by Bortles inside the Chiefs' five-yard line on 4th-and-1 from the Chiefs 30 in the second quarter. Bortles also twice missed wide receiver Allen Robinson on deep routes. But the most costly missed opportunity came early in the fourth quarter on 2nd-and-goal from the Chiefs 1. With the Jaguars trailing 19-7, Ivory ran up the middle. As he stretched the ball toward the goal line, he fumbled and Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters recovered. Officials ruled Ivory had fumbled before crossing the plane and officials later ruled there wasn't enough video evidence to overturn the call. "It was close, but I thought I had stuck it across the plane," Ivory said.
Turnovers without question hurt the Jaguars Sunday. The team not only lost fumbles on runs by Ivory and Yeldon and on a punt return by wide receiver Bryan Walters, Bortles also threw a second-quarter interception. "That's a bad one," Bortles said of the interception. "It was really just a two-man route. I had a good pocket and I had some time. I got off rhythm. I had to just check it down, take off and run." Still, Bortles said the biggest missed opportunity came in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars took possession on their 35 with 3:07 remaining, but turned the ball over on downs when Bortles threw incomplete to Walters on 4th-and-3 from the Chiefs 32 with 1:55 remaining. "There were three minutes left, and we were down five and had the ball," Bortles said. "As a quarterback, that's all you can ask."
"It was all about turnovers. We didn't get them. They had them. … You talk about dominating stats; we didn't dominate that one. That's usually the No. 1 factor. I guess I'm frustrated with that because I felt like we had our opportunities. We just missed them."
"We got in a rhythm. We were able to move the ball. Even in the first half, even though we only got seven points, we felt like we were able to do what we wanted to. We just weren't able to finish drives. It's a good feeling. It's a good sign. But we're not here to take moral victories. We found balance, though. That's good for us."
"There wasn't a doubt in my mind we were going to win that game. We came up short, but that's the confidence of our offense. We've gone through some turmoil, some ups and downs, but I thought the guys played awesome today. We have to take care of the ball and make more plays."