KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The start surprised Tashaun Gipson.
"I thought we came out and played flat – myself included," the Jaguars' free safety said in the visitors' locker room at Arrowhead Stadium in the wake of a 30-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday afternoon.
"I think they scored on points on every possession of the first half … you can't call yourself the best defensive in the National Football League [doing that].
"We came out flat, and it showed. That's why they came out victorious today."
Gipson wasn't exactlyright, but he wasn't far off.
The Chiefs scored on three of their first four possessions Sunday en route to a one-sided victory, with the exception being Gipson's second-quarter interception off Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs led 20-0 at halftime. They had 215 yards at that point, with 153 of those yards on the first two possessions. Mahomes' five-yard touchdown run capped a 73-yard opening drive, then the Chiefs capped an 82-yard drive on their second possession with a 22-yard field goal by Harrison Butker.
"They just executed a little better than us," Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack said. "It's definitely a tough offense. [Chiefs Head Coach] Andy Reid is dialing up some plays that are exotic, and they out-executed us. They got on us quickly and kept going. You've got to give them credit."
The Chiefs, who entered Sunday ranked No. 1 in the NFL in points scored, finished the game with 424 total yards. The Jaguars held Mahomes without a passing touchdown for the first time this season, but Gipson was nonetheless impressed with the Chiefs overall.
"I've never seen a team do that to us consistently," Gipson said. "They had their way with us all game. It's pick your poison. We just have to play better. … Collectively, we have to play better. This definitely wasn't our best effort defensively."
Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith said he was surprised and "very hurt" by the loss.
"They did what they did," Smith said. "We didn't do what we do. That's what happened. … This is just getting us ready for the second half of the season. Now, we've got to step our game up."
And while the Jaguars' offense committed five turnovers and squandered numerous scoring opportunities, Jaguars defenders were far more concerned about what the Chiefs did offensively.
"I'm not too worried about the offensive side of the ball," Gipson said. "Specifically, after this game, we need to fix stuff on defense. I can't be concerned about what's happening on offense. We have to fix whatever's going on before teams exploit what we're doing.
"But I'm confident. No one's confidence is wavering. We just know we got our butts kicked today, and that's part of the NFL."
A key moment came midway through the second quarter. Trailing 10-0 and facing 3rd-and-2 from the Chiefs 4, Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles threw a back-shoulder fade to wide receiver Donte Moncrief. The pass came from a no-back set and Bortles threw incomplete to tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins on the ensuing play, allowing the Chiefs to maintain their lead with 7:40 remaining in the second quarter. "We felt really comfortable it [the Chiefs' defense] would be Cover Zero, which it was," Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said, referring to Kansas City's man-to-man coverage with a blitz on the pass to Moncrief.
The Jaguars rushed for 101 yards on 17 carries, with running back T.J. Yeldon rushing for 53 yards on 10 carries and Bortles rushing four times for 34 yards. Running back Corey Grant left with a second-quarter foot injury and did not return; the Jaguars entered the game without starting running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring) and finished with Yeldon and Brandon Wilds as the only healthy backs. Yeldon has been playing through an ankle issue. "He went out there and gutted it out," Marrone said of Yeldon. "We have to be able to do other things, too. We have enough of a game plan to do a good job. We're not going to blame it on an injury."
Gipson: "If I was a betting man, I'd have to say that in years past, the AFC Championship definitely had to go through [the New England Patriots in] Foxboro [Mass.]; it's coming through here. We're excited about that matchup. We're definitely going to see them again. … If it comes down to it, we'll be ready."
Marrone: "Offensively, we didn't execute. We had a poor showing in the red zone. We had turnovers. The game got out of hand. We have to coach better, play better and we have to go back and get this team back on track."
Marrone: "It's not just one guy. It's not just one group. It was a team effort, this loss today."
Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell: "I know this team is resilient. We're tough. We stick together. We have a lot of heart. We lost one on the road against a good team when things didn't go our way. If things were bouncing our way and we still lost, that's a big deal. Today was one of those days when things didn't go our way. We lost a game by a good amount, but I like the fight in our team. We're going to be bounce back and be just fine."
Campbell: "We're not where we want to be by any means. But are we a good team? Without a doubt? Do I have faith this team can win a Super Bowl? Without a doubt. This doesn't change our goal. We have to bounce back."
Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson on the Chiefs: "They're good. I can't talk much because they beat us. They're good."