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Sexton-Oehser quick thoughts: Chiefs 30, Jaguars 14

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JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser and senior correspondent Brian Sexton both offer three quick thoughts on the Jaguars’ game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday …

Oehser …

1.The offense had a really bad day. There’s no other way to say it: On a day when the Jaguars’ top-ranked defense a better-than-average job against the NFL’s No. 1-scoring offense, the Jaguars’ offense squandered too many opportunities – and made too many mistakes. The Jaguars’ offense not only failed to score from inside the five-yard line three times, quarterback Blake Bortles committed three second-quarter turnovers. That turned what could have been a competitive game at halftime into a 20-0 Chiefs lead. One interception was returned by defensive lineman Chris Jones for a 20-yard touchdown. If that didn’t feel like the game’s key moment, then a pass from Bortles that caromed off guard A.J. Cann’s helmet for a score-saving interception in the end zone by cornerback Steven Nelson just before halftime did. If those weren’t the turning points, then was Bortles getting sacked with a Chiefs fumble recovery on the play after the Jaguars’ first interception of the game. Yes, the Jaguars were hurt by injuries to left tackle Josh Wells and running back Corey Grant. And yes, the defense allowed the Chiefs too much too easily early. But there were opportunities to stay even early and get back in the game late. The Jaguars squandered too many opportunities – and Bortles made too many mistakes – for that to happen.

2.The defense was good … at times. This was a tough day to gauge the Jaguars’ defense. The unit was irritated with allowing two long early drives that gave the Chiefs a 10-0 lead and set the tone for the game. And Head Coach Doug Marrone correctly noted that the unit gave up too many big plays. Still, the defense stiffened after the first quarter, not only holding the Chiefs’ offense to two field goals in the second and third quarters but giving the offense possession with safety Tashaun Gipson’s second-quarter interception. The Chiefs forced a turnover on the ensuing play to regain momentum. Yes, the Chiefs’ offense for several spurts – particularly on the first two drives – had too much speed for a very fast Jaguars defense. But his was never going to be a game in which the Jaguars’ defense shut out the Chiefs. Overall, the Jaguars’ defense did more than enough to keep this game far closer than this.

3.The Jaguars’ offensive line … well … Bortles had a tough day. The offense as a whole had a tough day and missed both running back Leonard Fournette (hamstring) an Grant, the latter of whom left early in the game with a foot injury. But this was a tough day for the Jaguars’ offensive line, too. Not only did the unit lose left tackle Josh Wells (groin) – starting for left-tackle Cam Robinson, who is out for the season – early in the first half, they struggled throughout the game to protect Bortles. Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford’s outside pressure gave right tackle Jermey Parnell trouble throughout was credited with a first-half sack and three hurries, but he seemed to pressure Bortles more than that – and the Chiefs were credited with 11 hurries and five sacks for the game. Yes, the Jaguars were throwing too much to think the Chiefs wouldn’t get some pressure. But the Chiefs’ front still disrupted Bortles and the offense far too often.

Sexton ...

1. A key decision in the second quarter: was dubious at best.Down just 10-0 and facing third and two inside the Chiefs five-yard line the Jaguars threw it twice and turned it over. Generally, I am not a big play calling critic; a good one works and a bad one doesn’t. But in this instance the Jaguars were gashing the Chiefs defense with the running game and left it on those two, key plays. I would have taken the points but understand how head coach Doug Marrone would see it as a touchdown game and trading field goals as a losing proposition but to not run it on a wet day, even once, seemed to me like a mistake. That felt like a turning point in the game as the defense was starting to figure things out and the offense moved the ball down the field with relative ease. You know the rest of the story; a takeaway became a turnover and a pick six buried the Jaguars under a 20-0 avalanche headed into the locker room at half-time and the Jaguars never recovered. 

2. I didn’t think Blake Bortles had that kind of day in him any longer.He was on target one play then high or errant on the next. I don’t blame him for the strip sack, it came from the blindside and the interception at the end was meaningless. The interception he threw to Chris Jones was strangely reminiscent to the one he threw in Arizona last November and I wasn’t sure he still had that play in him, it was an errant decision that all but ended the game before halftime. The Jaguars turned the ball over three times in the first half and missed on two chances in the red zone, a sure-fire formula for losing, especially on the road. We had CBS Sports’ Jim Nantz on Drive Time this week and he extolled the virtues of No. 5 without being pressed to do so. He saw a new and improved quarterback and while we may see that guy next week in Dallas, y guess is today he’s regretting his words because this Blake Bortles didn’t look anything like the guy Nantz saw against New England and he, like me, thought these kinds of days were behind Bortles. 

3. The defense didn’t play well enough to win, but they had only given up 13 points mid-way through the third quarter and it felt as if they were up to the challenge. Then they let Patrick Mahomes drive off the Kansas City 2-yard line to set up a field goal and a 23-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Teams haven’t been able to drive against the Jaguars this season, until today. I don’t know whether it was the scheme or the talent, but the Jaguars defense didn’t have an answer for Travis Kelce or Sammy Watkins today so as good as they looked in defending Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt their inability to shut down the remainder of Mahomes weapons kept the chains moving for the Chiefs and kept the defense on the field way too much. This was the first time since the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship Game that it seemed the defense couldn’t find a way to make a play.

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