KANSAS CITY, Missouri – This one hurt for different reasons than the last two.
The Jaguars by any definition played poorly against Oakland and Tennessee the last two weeks. It would have been difficult in either game to argue that the Jaguars could have won.
Not so Sunday against Kansas City. The Jaguars in fact outplayed the Chiefs in nearly every area except the two that mattered most. One area was the turnover differential, an area the Chiefs dominated by a game-defining 4-0 margin.
The other area was the most important area.
That was the final score, which finished 19-14 in favor of Kansas City.
Because of that second area, the Jaguars are now 2-6 after eight games – and have lost three consecutive games. So yeah, while this one was better than the last two weeks, it was still a loss.
And it still hurt – just for different reasons than the last two.
Let's get to it …
Aaron from Whitehall, AR:
Is it too late to get Nathaniel Hackett on the ballot for President?
John: Hackett indeed had an impressive debut as the Jaguars' offensive coordinator. The team rushed for a season-high 205 yards, a total that pretty much was unthinkable during the first seven games – a span in which the Jaguars ranked 30th in the NFL in rushing with 72.6 yards per game. The offense looked crisp at times Sunday, and it was a remarkable first game for Hackett with the exception of the four turnovers. The offensive line gave backs room to run and backs ran decisively; Hackett appeared to do a good job of being unpredictable and running out of formations the Chiefs weren't anticipating. Quarterback Blake Bortles wasn't close to perfect, but he threw for 244 yards and two touchdowns. He would love to have a few throws back – his first-half interception and a missed deep ball to wide receiver Allen Robinson among them. Still, overall, this was a step forward for an offense that desperately needed such a step.
Eric from Gainesville, GA:
Is Bradley fired yet? Can we boo now?
John: No, Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley isn't "fired yet" and I don't expect a midseason change with the Jaguars' head coaching position. And boo to your heart's content. No one's stopping you.
Bill from GCS, FL:
Fun time starts as we couldn't beat the backups. So, we will listen to Gus say how good the Jags did, the new OC did … lose next.
John: That wasn't remotely what Bradley said after the game. He actually talked mostly about how you can't lose the turnover margin 4-0 and win a game. He was visibly frustrated. There in fact wasn't much smiling at all in Bradley's post-game press conference, which of course was exactly as it should have been.
Bobby from Draper, UT:
Hey O ... how do we expect to beat anyone when we beat ourselves? Fumble another punt, Hurns dropping a perfect fourth-down pass and another Bortles interception … How can we win when we beat ourselves?
John: Mistakes indeed defined this one. The Jaguars trailed 10-7 at halftime despite outgaining the Chiefs, 221-126. They lost despite nearly doubling the Chiefs in total yardage – and the reason they lost was they committed four turnovers and created none. They also lost because they missed on opportunities for big plays – and not just Bortles, either. Wide receiver Allen Hurns indeed dropped a very catchable pass that would have given the Jaguars a first-half first down inside the Chiefs 5. Those are the sorts of critical mistakes struggling teams make and good teams avoid. They were the mistakes that cost the Jaguars dearly Sunday.
Brian from Section 238:
Game over. Same Jags, same offense, same result.
John: This was the much-anticipated, much-ballyhooed, much-analyzed First Email of the Game. As is the case with many First Emails of the Game, it was incorrect. The game was not the same Jaguars, and it certainly was not the same Jaguars offense we previously had seen this season. It indeed was the same result, but the offense by any definition appeared to be noticeably improved.
Tim from Orange Park, FL:
1996 isn't walking through that door!
John: No, probably not.
Tommy from Jacksonville:
I am still waiting for the potential to mature you mention of Blake Bortles. Anytime now, Johnny.
John: Sunday in fact was a pretty good example of why the Jaguars must give Blake Bortles at least the rest of the season to show whether or not he is the franchise quarterback for this team. He made some critical mistakes, but he also showed some positives. The first-half interception was a killer and the missed deep ball to Robinson was equally damaging. He also had a couple of near-miss interceptions, but the good things were enough to merit a continued, extended look. That's a look Bortles is going to keep getting this season – as he must.