JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines what we learned from the Jaguars' 30-14 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, Sunday …
1.The Jaguars need a running back(s?) … Starting running back Leonard Fournette missed Sunday with a hamstring injury. Third-team Corey Grant left with a second-quarter foot injury, and reports are he is out for the season. This is a run-oriented team. That running team now may be down to T.J. Yeldon and Brandon Wilds, with Yeldon dealing with an ankle injury. This is past being a concern. This is a situation that must be addressed.
2. … and the offensive line is a concern, too. The Jaguars entered Sunday with Josh Wells starting at left tackle for Cam Robinson, who is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Wells left Sunday's game with a groin injury and didn't return. Josh Walker played adequately in Wells' place, so left tackle isn't a crisis … yet.
3.Blake Bortles is up again down again … The fifth-year veteran has been inconsistent this season, struggling in the second half in Week 1 and throughout losses in Week 3 and Week 5. Sunday's loss was not "all Bortles," but it without question was one of his worst games in a while.
4. … and he was really down Sunday. Bortles committed five takeaways Sunday, including three in a second quarter in which the Jaguars squandered multiple opportunities to rally. He not only threw a pick-six in the second quarter, he compounded that with an interception in the end zone late in the quarter that bounced off the helmet of guard A.J. Cann. "I can't throw four picks," he said. "It is hard to win when you turn the ball over."
5.The Jaguars' offense misses Fournette. Boy, do they …
6.The Jaguars can't throw 61 passes and win. Bortles threw 61 passes. He ran four times after dropping to pass. He was sacked five times. That's 70 passing plays and 17 running plays. That's not a formula for success for many NFL teams. It's particularly not a formula for success for this NFL team.
7.Defense can't do it alone. The Jaguars' defense wasn't great Sunday, allowing 14 plays of 10 or more yards and five scores. Still, the defense got its footing after a shaky start and held its own enough for the Jaguars to get in the game – and the offense couldn't take advantage. This team is built to win defensively, but it can't win that way getting zero production offensively. The Jaguars got just that too often Sunday.
8.The Jaguars came out flat. Safety Tashaun Gipson and linebacker Telvin Smith both said they were surprised at the early lack of intensity. Wide receiver Dede Westbrook: "We came out lackadaisical – pretty much thinking we just had to show up. And, that wasn't the case." No, it wasn't.
9.The Jaguars have a giveaway-takeaway issue. The Jaguars were minus-four in takeaway-giveaway Sunday. They are minus-eight for the season. That's not how this team is built. That's not how it will win going forward. It is how they can lose going forward if they don't change that.
10.The Jaguars are still close in the AFC South. They division tightened up when the Texans beat the Cowboys in overtime Sunday, but the Jaguars remain even with the Tennessee Titans at 3-2 and a game ahead of the 2-3 Texans. Yes, the Jaguars missed an opportunity to move into first place, but they're only a tiebreaker away from first place. There's a long way to go in this season.
11.The Jaguars need to be resilient. Players used the word resiliency a lot in the postgame locker room Sunday. They're going to need resilience in a big way. This is a beat-up team and it may take a few weeks to get healthy on the offensive line and in the running back room. They need to gut it out defensively and get some victories until things get right. That won't be easy. It's the NFL. It's not supposed to be easy.
12.DJ Chark Jr. can make plays deep. Chark, the Jaguars' rookie wide receiver, was a rare bright spot offensively Sunday. He caught two passes for 68 yards in the first half. Signs of life?
13.Big situations matter. The Chiefs had three third downs with more than six yards to go on their first two drives; they converted two, and an offsides penalty on Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson turned a third-and-6 into a third-and-1 that the Chiefs converted easily. The Chiefs got 10 points from those two drives. The Jaguars' offense turned two first-half drives inside the Kansas City 5 into no points. NFL games turn on key situations. The Chiefs turned opportunities into points Sunday; the Jaguars didn't. Mammoth difference.
14.This isn't over. Only the 5-0 Chiefs and the 4-1 Cincinnati Bengals have better records in the AFC. Yes, Sunday was bad – really bad at times. But it wasn't a season-killer. What the Jaguars face now is a very important game at Dallas. If they win that, things will look better. If not …