KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Senior writer John Oehser and senior correspondent Brian Sexton both offer three quick thoughts on the Jaguars' 19-14 loss to Kansas City at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City Sunday
- The Jaguars cost themselves this one. Big-time. Turnovers were the pre-game storyline and perhaps unsurprisingly, they indeed were the major factor Sunday, with the Chiefs forcing four takeaways and the Jaguars forcing none. The Jaguars had a 221-126 total-yardage advantage at halftime and a 449-231 edge at game's end – and still found a way to lose. A fumbled punt by wide receiver Bryan Walters set up the Chiefs' first touchdown and a second-quarter interception thrown by Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles led directly to a Chiefs field goal. A lost fumble by Jaguars running back T.J Yeldon also led to a third-quarter Chiefs field goal – and a turnover also cost the Jaguars a fourth-quarter touchdown when running back Chris Ivory fumbled into the end zone. The Chiefs entered the game plus-9 in takeaway-giveaway margin and the Jaguars entered minus-eight. The Jaguars knew that was the key to the game. They were right – and unsurprisingly, takeaways cost the Jaguars Sunday in a big way.
- Consider the offensive coordinator change a success – for now, at least. The Jaguars' offense was notably improved – particularly early – in the first game under new coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who was promoted from quarterbacks coach this past week to replace dismissed coordinator Greg Olson. The impact was felt immediately – and most notably in the running game, where the Jaguars rushed for a season-high 205 yards on 32 carries. Though Bortles had an inconsistent day, he appeared to have multiple opportunities for big plays and managed to be productive despite multiple errant throws. No, the Jaguars didn't win Sunday, but it felt as if they got traction offensively in some critical areas. It may be too late to save the season, but perhaps it's a start.
- This will be a tough one to accept in a lot of areas – and it was particularly unfortunate for a Jaguars defense that turned in one of its best games of the season. The unit held the Chiefs to one of 14 on third downs and he Chiefs had just 168 total yards through the first three quarters. The difference: while the Jaguars' offense was productive, turnovers put the Jaguars' defense in near-impossible situations. The Chiefs' first four scoring drives covered 23, five, five yards and 25 yards – and came after three turnovers and a 36-yard punt return. The Jaguars' defensive effort a week ago against Tennessee was not good enough by any measure. That wasn't remotely the case on Sunday, a day when in fact the defense deserved a much better fate.
- A team wins less than one percent of the time when they are minus-four in the turnover ratio. The Jags weren't going to beat those odds at Arrowhead Stadium, though they had a shot at the end because the defense kept answering the bell. I don't know how to describe the comedy of errors or turnovers, other than to say it was unexplainable or inexcusable or both. Probably both.
2. The defense was money all day long. They held Kansas City to a touchdown and two field goals after three of the four turnovers and gave the offense a chance at the end on a day they didn't truly deserve it. Time and again, they answered the call without losing any energy or feeling as if they were doing their part...they gave more. I was really impressed with the way Malik Jackson, Paul Poslusny and Telvin Smith kept the defense focused when it felt like Arrowhead was closing in on them. Todd Wash has a unit that is getting better mid-way through the season.
3. It was good to see that the running game and Blake Bortles clearly benefited from a sense of balance on that side of the ball. He was better today but still missed open receivers either because he didn't see them or because he threw the ball poorly. He won't have his throwing coach at his side, but he does have Nathaniel Hackett, and it was clear the two men have a strong bond and work well together. They're going to have to work overtime again, but this week's results make the move Gus Bradley made last week make sense. Now they have to go forward and not fall off as they have tended to do after a good game.