The highly anticipated Week 2 matchup between the Chiefs and Jaguars did not meet expectations. The game was supposed to be an offensive explosion. It was not. Patrick Mahomes and Trevor Lawrence were supposed to light up the stat sheet. They did not. Instead, the game turned into an ugly defensive struggle full of turnovers, dropped passes, and bad decisions. The trio of Patrick Mahomes, Chris Jones, and Travis Kelce ended up being the difference in the game, especially the stellar defensive play of Jones. The Jaguars play calling was just as bad as it was in Week 1. Ultimately, the Chiefs were the better team, and these 10 factors determined the game.
How the Chiefs Emerged Victorious Over the Jaguars
1. Four Near Touchdowns Caught Out-of-Bounds
On four different occasions, Jaguars receivers made clean catches of potential touchdown passes without getting their feet down in bounds. On at least two of those occasions, the receiver should have made the play, and the argument could be made that all four passes should have been touchdowns. There was one play to Zay Jones in particular where he ran a slant to the left side of the end zone, caught the ball, and had plenty of time to get both feet down. Instead, he did not even attempt to drag his second foot and the Jaguars kicked a field goal. Calvin Ridley also squandered two great opportunities to score by not getting both feet down.
Trevor Lawrence with *4* potential TDs on Sunday where the ball was caught, but WR was unable to get two feet down inbounds
(two came on the same drive, but still sheeshy, you know what I mean?) pic.twitter.com/Q4ab08qyZq
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) September 18, 2023
2. Chris Jones
Chris Jones missed the first game of the season and all of training camp because of a contract dispute. Against the Jaguars, he was the best player on the field. He continually pushed the line, pressured Lawrence, manhandled Anton Harrison, and ended up with 1.5 sacks. He was a game-changer on Sunday.
3. Red Zone Offense
According to AP News, Trevor Lawrence was 0 for 7 passing in the red zone. The Jaguars made it inside the Chiefs 20 on three occasions and did not score a touchdown. A team like the Jaguars cannot play like that against one of the best teams in the NFL and expect to win.
4. Jacksonville Could Not Capitalize On Mistakes
Richie James fumbled a punt and gave the ball to the Jaguars inside the 10, the Jaguars kicked a field goal. When Kansas City was called for pass interference in the end zone and the Jaguars had the ball first and goal on the one, they tried a naked boot leg that lost yards and then kicked a field goal. Andre Cisco picked off a Mahomes pass on second down early in the game, and the Jaguars turned the ball over on downs leading to a Chiefs touchdown. Kansas City made a lot of mistakes, and the Jaguars did not capitalize on a single one.
5. Patrick Mahomes is Better Than Trevor Lawrence
Patrick Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL, and it is not close. Mahomes did not have his best day, but on the two touchdown drives, he was an almost perfect 9/10. When it mattered, Mahomes delivered. Trevor Lawrence did anything but deliver a good performance for his team. He was terrible in the Red Zone and struggled on third and fourth downs. Lawrence has a long way to go to catch Mahomes, and games like the one he played on Sunday show that loud and clear.
6. The Jaguars Offense Does Not Have an Identity
At some point, Press Taylor has to stop calling the plays. The decision to go for it on fourth down on the Chief’s 48-yard line was a bad decision. The best-case scenario is that you get a first down and then have to make a lot of other good plays to get into the end zone. The worst-case scenario is that the Chiefs get the stop and go down and score. The worst-case scenario happened.
On top of that call, however, was the fact that the team never got into any rhythm. There is a lot of offensive talent on the roster, and the Jaguars are not playing well. None of the gimmicky plays are working, and the offensive line looks bad. The team is built to pass the ball, and when Trevor Lawrence gets in a rhythm, they look good. Then, seemingly all of a sudden, the Jaguars become a run-first team. They lose their rhythm, and their best playmakers are taken out of the flow of the game. Doug Pederson needs to take back over play calling and get the team back on track.
7. Pass Rush
Josh Allen went down with an injury in the second half of the contest, but he was a non-factor all game. He and Travon Walker did not put any pressure on Mahomes all game, and only K’Lavon Chaisson left the game with a sack. Going into the season, pass rush and offensive line play were the two biggest question marks. They were also the two biggest reasons the Jaguars lost to the Chiefs. If you cannot pressure Mahomes, he will pick you apart, and that is exactly what happened when Allen and Walker did not spend any meaningful time in the Chief’s backfield.
8. Jaguar Receivers Did Not Make Plays
There was one major mismatch that the Jaguars were supposed to enjoy over the Chiefs Sunday. The receiving corps that includes Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, Zay Jones, and Evan Engram was supposed to be the key to a Jaguars victory. They are much better than the Chief’s receivers, at least on paper, and they should have been a mismatch for the Kansas City secondary. In reality, the Chief’s receivers thoroughly outplayed their counterparts while the Kansas City secondary plays lights out.
9. Drops By Jaguar Receivers
Lawrence did not play well, but there were also two many drive-stopping drops made by the Jaguars. Calvin Ridley dropped two easy catches, Kirk had a drop, and Evan Engram barely put his hands up on a ball thrown purposefully behind him in the second half. When your offense is struggling, a drive-ending drop is the last thing you need.
10. The Kansas City Chiefs Were Better
Right now, the Chiefs are the better NFL team. Neither team executed well and both teams made costly mistakes, and the better team won. The Jaguars needed a strong game plan executed almost to perfection to beat the Super Bowl champs, and they did not get that type of performance. They could not get into the end zone, they could not block the Chief’s front seven, and their receivers dropped too many balls. It was a recipe for a Chief’s win and that is exactly what happened.
Universal Responsible Gambling Disclaimer: Ages 21+. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER
Main Photo: Nathan Ray Seebeck – USA Today Sports