Teams that win the turnover battle prevail for the win almost 70% of the time, but on Sunday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-17 in a game that never seemed that close despite the Chiefs losing the turnover battle.
The first miscue for the Chiefs happened on the opening kickoff, when the Jaguars shockingly recovered an onside kick. Although that doesn't go down in the books as a turnover, it has the same feeling and result. But the Chiefs' defense rose to the unexpected occasion and forced the Jaguars to punt after just five plays.
After that, the offense led by Patrick Mahomes took the field and went on a nine-play, 71-yard drive. After a 25-yard pass from Mahomes to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, the Chiefs would make their second mistake. Jaguars' Safety Rayshawn Jenkins forced rookie running back Isiah Pacheco to fumble, and the Jaguars recovered.
Linebacker Devin Lloyd returned the ball to the Jaguars' 24-yard line. Even though the Chiefs' defense gave up a big play on first down — as quarterback Trevor Lawrence found wide receiver Christian Kirk deep left for a 24-yard gain — once again, the Chiefs' defense forced a punt four plays later.
After losing an onside kick and a fumble, the Chiefs had to feel good at no score. At that point, the Chiefs went on a 20-0 run.
After the Jaguars' first touchdown, the score was 20 to 7. That is when the Chiefs would have their third miscue. Tight end Jody Fortson returned a short kickoff 12 yards before linebacker Caleb Johnson forced a fumble to be recovered by Jaguars defensive end Adam Gotsis at the Chiefs' 32-yard line. Jaguars kicker Riley Patterson missed a 41-yard attempt, bailing the Chiefs out.
The Chiefs played a fairly clean third quarter, adding a touchdown while only giving up a field goal and went into the final frame leading 27-10.
After three first downs, a fourth blunder would hit the Chiefs. On second-and-9, Mahomes dropped back and felt some pressure — and a short pass intended for running back Jerick McKinnon was intercepted by Jaguars safety Andre Cisco. Cisco would return for eight yards to the Jaguars' 46-yard line. The Jaguars scored a touchdown, making it a 10-point game with less than six minutes to go. But timely passes by Mahomes and strong running from Pacheco ensured that the Chiefs would win the game.
The bottom line
You don't typically lose the turnover battle in the NFL and still win the game, especially in convincing fashion, as the Chiefs did on Sunday.
The Chiefs' defense played well, only allowing seven points off three turnovers and an onside kick recovery. The offense once again showed that it could put points up in bunches when it is clicking.
However, I am sure head coach Andy Reid will make it a point of emphasis to clean up the mistakes. That many miscues in a playoff game will most likely render a different outcome, but for now, the Chiefs can enjoy this win and the No. 1 record in the AFC.