JACKSONVILLE – Gus Bradley didn't see what he had been seeing.
That was the biggest theme for the Jaguars' first-year head coach following a 28-2 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the 2013 regular-season opener at EverBank Field Sunday.
Yes, Bradley expected a better result.
And he expected more from the offense and defense.
But he said his biggest takeaway after the Chiefs took a 19-point halftime lead and held on through the second half was a lot of the good things the Jaguars had been doing in recent weeks just weren't there Sunday afternoon.
"We challenged our guys to really come out and be focused," Bradley said after the Chiefs outgained Jacksonville 291-178 Sunday. "So much of this game is performing like you do in practice: Catch the balls that are thrown to you; when it says five-step drop five-step, drop; if you're supposed to cover the strong hook, cover the strong hook . . .
"Some of the things you saw in practice didn't carry over to the game. It demonstrated to me, especially in the first half, that some of our guys were not in phase."
Bradley said in that respect, there was improvement in the second half. The Chiefs led 21-2 at halftime, but the Jaguars allowed 121 second-half yards. Kansas City did not score a second-half offensive touchdown.
The Chiefs took a 7-2 lead on a 5-yard pass first-quarter pass from quarterback Alex Smith to Donnie Avery, and then extended it with a 3-yard pass from Smith to Junior Hemingway and a 2-yard run by Jamaal Charles with 6:26 remaining in the second quarter.
The only score of the second half came when Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali intercepted Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert and returned it 10 yards for a touchdown with 12:51 remaining.
"Defensively, I think they had eight series in a row where they didn't score," Bradley said. "We'll build off that."
Bradley said overall, the Jaguars' tackling wasn't where it needed to be.
"We'll get those things corrected," he said.
The Jaguars took a 2-0 lead when linebacker J.T. Thomas blocked a punt out of the end zone early, and Bradley said the special teams improved throughout the game, but offensively, the day was a struggle.
The Jaguars produced 12 first downs and had 18 total yards midway through the second quarter. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert completed 16 of 35 passes for 121 yards, had several passes dropped early and was intercepted twice. He also was sacked six times, including three times by linebacker Justin Houston.
"It just never felt like we could get into a rhythm," Bradley said. "A lot of the credit goes to Kansas City. They have a good defense. We knew they played good defense, and credit should go to them, but we still have to find a way to execute."
Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for 45 yards on 15 carries, and the Jaguars' offense didn't get past midfield until the fourth quarter.
"We just have to create a rhythm and I think that we never really got in the flow of things," Bradley said.
Gabbert said his thumb didn't bother him Sunday.
Gabbert, who was a game-time decision because of a thumb injury on his throwing hand sustained late in preseason, said the injury didn't factor into the game's outcome.
Gabbert threw two interceptions Sunday, one of which led to a short Kansas City touchdown drive and the other of which was returned 10 yards for a touchdown by Tamba Hali.
"It was fine," he said. "It is what it is. That's not a crutch or an excuse or an explanation about why we didn't perform to the level we wanted to today."
Gabbert sustained a cut on his throwing hand on the game's final series. He caught the top of his hand on a face mask, did not return and had 15 stitches afterward.
"We will see how it is," he said. "We will see how it is tomorrow. It's another day-to-day thing and we will see how it is and move on."
Jaguars cornerback Dwayne Gratz sustained a shin contusion and did not return. The extent of the injury was not initially known. Veteran Will Middleton finished the game in his place.
Offensive guard Will Rackley sustained a left knee injury, and also did not return. Mike Brewster played in his place.
- Jones-Drew: "It's hard to run the ball when you are getting three-and-outs. We were putting ourselves in bad situations with third-and-twelve and second-and-twelve. It is hard to run the ball there. Those are some of the things we have to work on."
- Jones-Drew: "As an offense we just didn't do our job. The defense played well and special teams did a good job. We just didn't hold up our end of the bargain. . . . We didn't move the ball and there were too many three-and-outs. That is all 11 guys. We didn't do our part to move the ball."
- Gabbert: "It was unfortunate. We left a lot of plays out on the field. We're going to look at the tape, see what we can do and keep chipping away."
- Safety Dwight Lowery: "It's a poor showing. I feel like from here the only thing we can do is get better and take what's positive from the game and move on and get ready for next week."
- The game was the 100th career game for Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew. He is the 22nd player in franchise history to play in 100 games.
- The game marked the 75th consecutive start for center Brad Meester, which ties the second-longest streak in franchise history. Meester started 92 consecutive games between 2000 and 2005.
- Jaguars punter Bryan Anger set a franchise record for punts in a game with 11.
The Jaguars will visit the Oakland Raiders in the second game of the regular season Sunday, September 15.