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Jaguars Stumble in Home Opener: Quick Thoughts on the Team's Week 2 Performance 

Quick Thoughts (Postgame)

JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser, senior correspondent Brian Sexton and team reporter Kainani Stevens offer quick thoughts on the Jaguars' 17-9 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in a 2023 Week 2 game at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville Sunday

John Oehser, Jaguars Senior Writer…

  1. Way too many mistakes … again. The theme Sunday was obvious and singular – enough so that it was repeated by Head Coach Doug Pederson and multiple players afterward: Execution, execution, execution. Yes, the offensive line struggled at some big moments for a second consecutive week. Still, the Jaguars had multiple opportunities – first to lead by more than three points in the first half, then to cut and perhaps retake the lead in the second half. The Jaguars on Sunday scored six points on five first-half possessions past midfield, a statistic too similar to a 2022 regular-season loss at Kansas City in which they scored seven points on five first-half possessions past the 50. The Jaguars also managed just six points on three red-zone possessions Sunday, with a field goal after facing first-and-goal at the one in the first quarter particularly painful. The Jaguars talked throughout the week about playing big in big moments and the offense didn't do it. A sack on fourth-and-five from the 45 in the first half. A lost fumble immediately after a first-half turnover gave the Jaguars possession at the Chiefs 37 with a 3-0 second-quarter lead. Multiple lost chances to tie in the second half. On a day of difficult statistics for an offense too talented to be held under 10 points, it's the mistakes in such moments that will resonate.
  2. Two weeks, two impressive performances defensively. There were plenty of storylines around a struggling offense Sunday. But what shouldn't be lost is that the lack of execution cost the Jaguars on a day when the defense played more than well enough to beat the Super Bowl champions. The defense forced three takeaways, all in the second quarter, and for a second consecutive week the unit played big in tough situations. The Chiefs produced 399 yards, and Jaguars safety Andre Cisco correctly bemoaned some long plays allowed at crucial times, but the Jaguars held the Chiefs scoreless until :27 remained in the first half and didn't allow a touchdown in the final 26 minutes. "The defense played their butts off, gave us many opportunities," tight end Evan Engram said. "We just have to execute better as a whole unit." This Jaguars team is built to score touchdowns and win shootouts against the NFL's best teams. Holding the Chiefs under 20 points and allowing just one touchdown drive over 50 yards is a front-line defensive performance, one the Jaguars certainly feel was good enough on a frustrating day offensively.

Brian Sexton, Jaguars Senior Correspondent …

  1. They're not ready to take the next step, at least not yet. Who would have thought on a day the defense held the Chiefs to 17 points and created three turnovers that quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the offense would offer that lackluster performance? A week after scoring three touchdowns in three red-zone trips in Indianapolis, these Jaguars scored two field goals in three trips inside Kansas City's red zone. The offensive line couldn't protect Lawrence, who couldn't connect with open receivers. Open receivers dropped passes and running backs were bottled up, which explains why they scored only nine points and are 1-1 through two games. It was a shockingly poor performance for an offense with as many weapons as this one.
  2. The offensive line is the story. They were a weak spot in Week 1 and were again in Week 2. Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones schooled rookie right tackle Anton Harrison, which is to be expected. But there was pressure all across the front. Making it worse was there were no seams, holes or gaps for running back Travis Etienne Jr. to exploit to slow the pass rush. Maybe center Luke Fortner and right guard Brandon Scherff should have been on the sidelines with their bad ankles. Maybe that's the reason why it looked so bad. This offensive line began training camp as a trusted unit that could be counted upon week to week. Through the first two weeks, it has been anything but. It's a major problem and help is not on the way until left tackle Cam Robinson returns in Week Five.

Kainani Stevens, Jaguars Team Reporter/Producer ...

  1. You can't win if you don't score. Many of us predicted this 2023 Jaguars offense to be prolific. That certainly was not the case Sunday. It's unfathomable to not score a single touchdown in the home opener, and the frustration in the locker room postgame was palpable. The defense has played above and beyond what was expected in both games so far this season. I guess this is why you play the game and don't just go off predictions.
  2. Short memories. The team will understandably be frustrated, but it also must work very hard to turn the page upon returning to the building on Monday. The Week 3 matchup against the Houston Texans has all the making of a "trap game" after all the buildup and letdown in the home opener. I think Head Coach Doug Pederson will get this group in a good headspace by next week, but feelings cannot linger as preparation moves towards next week.

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