clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Instabreakdown: Chiefs’ defense bails out offense in close win over Jaguars

Kansas City’s offense struggled in Jacksonville on Sunday, but the defense picked them up.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Final score: Kansas City Chiefs 17, Jacksonville Jaguars 9

Offense (Caleb James)


For the second consecutive week, the Kansas City offense struggled to convert in most big situations — and was hamstrung by mistakes.

Right tackle Jawaan Taylor struggled, getting flagged for an illegal alignment, two false starts and two holding calls. After his second hold was called, he was benched in favor of Prince Tega Wanogho. While he did return to the game, it was a rough showing a week after “AlignmentGate” drew national attention in Week 1.

The offense was stagnant through most of the first half, but a late drive saw Mahomes find Skyy Moore in the end zone to take the lead. The second half started out with the Chiefs pounding the rock, as Isiah Pacheco ripped a 31-yard run out of the gate. The offense continued to be in rhythm as the drive ended with a vintage Mahomes scramble to find Travis Kelce for a touchdown.

The success, however, could not be maintained. The Chiefs' next three drives ended with two punts and a field goal.

While it was a poor day overall, the Kansas City offense stepped up in the final four minutes of the game. Mahomes scrambled for a first down and then connected with Moore on a giant 54-yard reception on third down with less than a minute to play in the game.

Two Pacheco runs and one first down later, the Jaguars were out of time outs — and the game was over.

Offensive player of the game: quarterback Patrick Mahomes

Mahomes finished with 305 yards passing and two touchdowns — and was the deciding factor in the final four minutes of the game. It was not his cleanest performance — it included an interception and several miscues with the wide receivers and offensive line — but in the game’s largest moments, he guided his ship into port.

Finding a connection with Moore was huge — and should provide the duo a spark in the weeks to come.

Mahomes also found Justin Watson, Noah Gray and Clyde Edwards-Helaire in big moments. After goin back to some of the basic passing concepts in the Chiefs’ offense, he seemed settled in .

There will be a lot for the offense to clean up this week — but when the Chiefs needed the MVP to step up, he answered the call.

Defense (Ron Kopp Jr.)

It was an impressive showing for the Kansas City defense, covering up for the sloppiness shown by the team’s offense and special teams. Jacksonville started two drives inside Chiefs’ territory during the first half, but only came away with two field goals. The Jaguars also advanced to the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter, but ended up kicking a third field goal.

It was mostly possible because of strong play from the front seven — highlighted by the return of defensive tackle Chris Jones. We’ll get to him later, but he was the cherry on top of a strong game from many of the unit’s players.

Defensive end George Karlaftis got in on multiple sacks, totaling 1.5. Defensive ends Felix Anudike-Uzomah and Mike Danna each earned half of a sack, while all three edge defenders totaled eight tackles.

Linebacker Drue Tranquill and Nick Bolton were both stout against the run, combining for 13 tackles and aiding in holding the Jaguars to 74 yards rushing. Defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi was also solid at the point of attack — and in the first quarter, batted down a pass.

Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed was primarily tasked with manning up against the Jaguars’ wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who ended up with two catches for 32 yards. Sneed did struggle early on — earning two pass-interference penalties in the first half — but his ability to stay with Ridley while matching his physicality obviously messed with the connection between the wideout and his quarterback.

Sneed wasn’t the only defensive back to earn a penalty on Sunday, but it was a good day overall for the back end in coverage — especially in the red zone. In those scenarios, tight coverage forced Lawrence to make perfect throws — and every time, he failed.

Defensive player of the game: defensive tackle Chris Jones

From the first drive, Jones’ impact opened things up for others. He rushed over the right tackle on the majority of his third-down snaps. Among those plays:

  • Karlaftis and Danna took advantage of his edge pressure, sacking Lawrence on the first drive.
  • Jones himself tallied a sack on a fourth down in the second quarter.
  • Jones batted down a screen pass attempt.
  • Jones and Anudike-Uzomah combined for a sack to end the Jaguars’ last drive.

While Jones obviously had to be somewhat limited in his playing time, you wouldn’t know it from the box score. He finished with two total tackles, 1.5 sacks and a pass defended. It’s a very encouraging sign that he can be in full-go shape — sooner rather than later.

NEW: Join Arrowhead Pride Premier

If you love Arrowhead Pride, you won’t want to miss Pete Sweeney in your inbox each week as he delivers deep analysis and insights on the Chiefs' path to the Super Bowl.