JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines what we learned from the Jaguars' 19-14 loss to the Kanas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City Sunday
1. A loss is still a loss.Yes, the Jaguars played better against Kansas City than they did against Oakland and Tennessee the previous two weeks. That was true of the offense and the defense. It didn't much feel that way, though. Improvement wasn't what mattered Sunday; winning mattered. And considering the Jaguars' 2-6 record, Sunday's loss just felt like … a loss.
2. A change did the Jaguars good.The Jaguars produced 449 yards offensively in Nathaniel Hackett's debut as offensive coordinator. Can the Jaguars keep that up once defensive coordinators get film on the Hackett-directed offense? That will be worth watching, but there was no question the offense responded to the change.
3. The Jaguars can run.The Jaguars made a point to re-emphasize run when they made the change from Greg Olson to Hackett as coordinator. Many scoffed at the notion. Scoff no more: the Jaguars rushed for a season-high 205 yards rushing Sunday. The running game not only wasn't a weakness Sunday; it was a strength.
4. The two-headed back thing can be effective.The Jaguars entering the season envisioned Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon being a complementary two-head backfield. We finally saw on Sunday how that can look, with Ivory running hard for a season-high 107 yards on 18 carries and Yeldon effective as a runner and receiver.
5.Give-aways kill.The Jaguars committed four turnovers Sunday. The Chiefs turned three of them into 13 points and the fourth – a lost fumble by Ivory at the goal line – cost the Jaguars a touchdown. You don't win in the NFL doing that.
6.No take-aways kills, too.The Jaguars played stingy, gutsy defense Sunday, but a defense that has forced just four turnovers this season created none Sunday. You don't win in the NFL doing that, either.
7. Blake Bortles benefitted from Nathaniel Hackett …It was hard to draw any other conclusion. Hackett appeared to do a good job putting Bortles in situations where he felt comfortable. While Bortles wasn't perfect Sunday – or even close – he did look better. The offense looked better as a result – and no, a strong running game sure didn't hurt Bortles' performance.
8. … and perhaps from Adam Dedeaux's visit, too.Bortles brought Dedeaux – his personal throwing coach – in on Monday and Tuesday to shorten his motion and hone his mechanics. Bortles' mechanics weren't perfect and he missed some makeable throws. He was the first to say last week that working with Dedeaux during the season likely won't improve his mechanics significantly this season. Still, he played better than he had played in the past two weeks. Perhaps that's a start.
9. The defense is gutsy.The Jaguars' defensive performance against Tennessee a week ago left much to be desired. The effort Sunday was worlds better. The Chiefs' first four scoring drives covered 23, five, five and 25 yards. Three of those drives ended in field goals. That's playing with guts.
10. This team hasn't quit.There was enough frustration showed in losses to Oakland and Tennessee that observers questioned this – and the Jaguars certainly entered Sunday's game in difficult circumstance. There was nothing wrong with the Jaguars' effort Sunday. Their execution? Yes. Their effort? No.
11. Marqise Lee is getting good …It's time to stop seeing Lee as a complementary "extra" offensive weapon. The third-year veteran has stayed healthy this season and is emerging as a key figure in the' offense. It's not time to say Lee is the Jaguars' best wide receiver. It is time to say he's showing signs of playing to the potential of his 2014 second-round draft status.
12. … and he appears to be getting better.Lee made big plays in several ways Sunday – a short screen that he turned into a first down, a catch and run that he nearly turned into a touchdown and a long pass that showed his deep speed. He's having an impact in a lot of different ways and only seems to be gaining confidence. This could get interesting.