When the Kansas City Chiefs have three turnovers, go 4 of 13 on third downs and commit 12 penalties for 94 yards, it's not a very good day for the offense. But when the defense holds a playoff team to nine points at home, there's still a chance to walk out with a victory — which is exactly what the Chiefs did on Sunday at Jacksonville, winning 17-9.
It was an ugly game, especially in the first half, but it was enough to even the season's record at 1-1 and get a few players back on track after Week 1.
Here are some who stood out, both good and bad from Sunday's game:
Wide receiver Skyy Moore: After not catching any of his three targets last week, the second-year receiver needed a bounce-back game. He converted 3 of 4 targets into a touchdown and a 54-yard catch and run to help win the game for the Chiefs. You could see the excitement and relief as Moore redeemed himself this week — and hopefully, that will carry him through the rest of the season.
Defensive lineman Chris Jones: It was an impressive return for Chris Jones after missing all of training camp, preseason and the first week. The Chiefs got their best defensive player on the field in Jacksonville, and he didn't want to leave it. His impact was felt from the first snap — whether he was creating pressure himself or disrupting plays for his teammates to finish. It is just a different defense with Jones on the field. He finished with 1.5 sacks and a batted pass, closing out multiple drives, including the final Jaguars' possession. The closer is back, and he's elevating this entire team.
EDGE George Karlaftis: One of the players who might be happiest to see Chris Jones back on the field is second-year EDGE George Karlaftis. His first sack helped end the opening drive for Jacksonville, as Jones flushed Trevor Lawrence into the waiting arms of Karlaftis and Mike Danna. "Furious George" would add another sack in the third quarter as part of a brilliant overall defensive effort.
Wide receiver Kadarius Toney: After maybe the worst game of his young career, Kadarius Toney (like Moore) bounced back with an efficient performance against the Jaguars. Toney secured all five of his targets and ran for positive yardage. He couldn't break many big plays, but he was a go-to receiver for Patrick Mahomes this week, which is a big step in the right direction.
Running back Isiah Pacheco: In the first half, it didn't seem like the Chiefs would ever try to establish the run in this contest at all. But Pacheco came charging out in the third quarter with a 31-yard run and the game's final first down. Like Moore, Pacheco showed a level of enthusiasm that few could match as he helped close this one out. Ending the day with 70 total yards on 13 touches was just what the Chiefs' offense needed and should prompt the play-callers to get him involved earlier going forward.
Cornerback Jaylen Watson: It was third-and-2 in a scoreless game when the Jaguars set up a short pass to Christian Kirk. He had one man to beat for a first down and more, but unfortunately for him, that man was Jaylen Watson — the same player that didn't play a single defensive snap last week. At this moment, though, Watson closed and absolutely leveled the receiver, ending the drive in its tracks. Watson still contributed on special teams, downing a Tommy Townsend punt on the 1-yard line. Not a bad day for the young corner.
Right tackle Jawaan Taylor: His first two games of the season have been the most visible for a right tackle in recent memory, and that's rarely good. While his blocking has been quite solid, Jawaan Taylor's string of penalties was a real problem this week. Two false starts, two holding calls and an illegal formation put Mahomes and company in really bad spots against the Jaguars. We knew his alignment and get-off would be under the microscope this week, but Taylor didn't seem prepared to adjust. Andy Reid went so far as to bench him for a couple of plays just to give him a chance to get back on track.
Left tackle Donovan Smith: Donovon Smith also had two penalties, including one of the more perplexing moments of the first half. Mahomes, under pressure, flipped a short pass in Smith's direction. He caught it but knew immediately that it would be a penalty for illegal touching by an ineligible receiver.
Tight end Travis Kelce: The Chiefs' all-everything tight end returned to action this week, but it looked like a very frustrating debut. He caught just four of his nine targets for 26 yards, including a touchdown. But he seemed to lose his temper quite a bit in this one, and he was penalized twice (one unsportsmanlike conduct, one unnecessary roughness). He also punted that touchdown into the stands, a celebration that may very well lead to a fine from the league. But, hey, Kelce is back, and he will have much better days than this one ahead.
Wide receiver Richie James: For all the talk about the struggles of Toney and Moore last week, Richie James had a rough start as well. The difference is that James's bad start continued against the Jaguars. He dropped his only target of the day and lost a punt in the sun, leading to a fumble and a very short field for Jacksonville's offense.