JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines five key plays from the Jaguars' 17-9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in a 2023 Week 2 game at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville Sunday.
1. Fuuuumble – and three. The teams exchanged punts through the first quarter, with both teams driving once past the 50 without scoring on the game's first four possessions. The Jaguars got a momentum-changing play on the first play of the second quarter, when Chiefs returner Richie James muffed a 50-yard punt by Jaguars punter Logan Cooke that Jaguars wide receiver Tim Jones recovered at the Chiefs 17. Jaguars' kicker Brandon McManus' 32-yard field four plays later gave the Jaguars a 3-0 lead with 12:59 remaining in the second quarter.
2. Fuuuuuumble, another fumble and a pick. The Jaguars' defense kept playing big early in the second quarter, keeping the Jaguars in the game – and in the lead - with turnovers and big plays. Linebacker Foye Oluokun recovered a fumble by Chiefs wide receiver Justin Watson at the Jaguars 48, with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce giving the Jaguars a first down at the Chiefs 37. A backward pass for a fumble from quarterback Trevor Lawrence to wide receiver Jamal Agnew ended the opportunity, with Chiefs cornerback L'Jarius Sneed recovering at the Chiefs 43. An interception by safety Andre Cisco off a deep pass from quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the third Kansas City turnover of the game and the quarter, ended the ensuing Chiefs' possession at the Jaguars 12 and the Jaguars maintaining their 3-0 lead. "They played great," Lawrence said of the defense. "They played awesome. We have to do better. We have to help them. They were on the field a lot today. We had a lot of bad possessions where they would get a turnover and we put them right back on the field. Their back was against the wall the whole day."
3. Big late drives. The Jaguars felt in control in the second quarter – and then suddenly they weren't. At least not as much. The Chiefs, after committing three turnovers early in the quarter, recovered nicely to drive 50 yards on seven plays for a nine-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes to wide receiver Skyy Moore. That gave the Chiefs a 7-3 lead with :27 remaining, with the drive set up with defensive tackle Chris Jones sacked Lawrence on 4th-and-five from the Chiefs 45. "I just wanted to stay aggressive right there," Jaguars Head Coach Doug Pederson said. "That was my decision, to be aggressive and stay on the field. We just didn't execute." The Jaguars then drove 44 yards on five plays immediately after Moore's touchdown, with the key play being a 26-yard pass from Lawrence to wide receiver Calvin Ridley. That helped set up a 49-yard field goal by McManus on the final play of the first half to cut the Kansas City lead to 7-6.
4. First and oops. The Jaguars faced first-and-goal at the one with a real opportunity to tie early in the fourth quarter after a pass interference penalty on linebacker Cam Jones defending tight end Evan Engram in the end zone. The Jaguars ran shotgun on first down from there, with Lawrence running a left and tackled for a three-yard loss cornerback L'Jarius Sneed and linebacker Nick Bolton. Lawrence threw incomplete in the end zone to wide receivers Calvin Ridley and Zay Jones on the next two plays, with McManus' 22-yard field goal with 13:43 remaining cutting the Chiefs' lead to 14-9. "We need to score there," Pederson said, with Lawrence adding: "That was a big possession when you look back at the game."
5. Not quite. The Jaguars had one more real chance to tie when they drove to Chiefs 14 trailing by eight late in the fourth quarter. Lawrence passed to Ridley on fourth-and-12 from the Chiefs 16, with officials ruling that Ridley was bobbling the pass and didn't have possession in the back of the end zone with 4:18 remaining. "We're just not executing, really at every position at different times," Lawrence said. "Whether it's the throw at times, the protection, the drops – whatever it is, we're all just having some mistakes in critical situations, and we just have to play better." The Chiefs essentially secured the victory when Mahomes scrambled on third-and-six from the Kansas City 34 and found Moore wide open for a 54-yard gain to the Jaguars 12 at the two-minute warning. The Jaguars had six points on three possessions inside the Chiefs 20 Sunday. "You're not going to beat good teams when you do that," Lawrence said. "We have to be better." Said Pederson, "The opportunities were there, and we didn't do it."