Hays Carlyon's Jaguars Blog

Jaguars not ready to join elite after offense falters against Chiefs

todaySeptember 17, 2023


By Hays Carlyon

The inside track for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs: Gone.

The chance to make a definite statement about being a legit contender: Squandered.

The opportunity to provide the city with a signature home victory: Blown.

The Chiefs owning the Jaguars: Very much alive.

The Jaguars still can’t play close to a crisp offensive game when they see the Chiefs.

Sunday’s 17-9 disaster was the most galling of the three losses the Chiefs have handed the Jaguars in the last calendar year. The Jaguars at least scored in double digits in the previous two, including 20 in the AFC Divisional Round playoff loss to end the season.

The Jaguars have added star receiver Calvin Ridley. Everyone else is pretty much back on offense.

This is the year. This was going to be the day the Jaguars announced themselves as a legit threat to the reigning Super Bowl champs.

Instead, the offense fell on its face time and time again. The Jaguars averaged 4.2 yards a play on Sunday. Houston was last in the NFL last season in yards per play at 4.75 yards. Sunday’s performance was atrocious for a team with this much offensive talent playing at home against a Chiefs defense no one considers excellent.

Maybe Jaguars coach Doug Pederson coaches tight against his former boss, Kansas City coach Andy Reid. He’s 0-4 against Reid in his career.

Maybe Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence presses trying to find a higher level with Chiefs superstar Patrick Mahomes on the other sideline.

Maybe the Jaguars offensive line simply isn’t adequate. They’ve been pushed around in each game.

The venue doesn’t matter. Whether it’s Arrowhead Stadium or here in Jacksonville, Kansas City owns the Jaguars.

Make no mistake: any time you hold Mahomes to 17 points, you have to win the game. You have to capitalize on that quality of a defensive performance.

Lawrence admitted after the game that the Jaguars have been waiting a while for this one. Perhaps for a Week 2 matchup, it meant too much.

“This is the team that beat us in the playoffs last year and that’s fresh in your mind all offseason,” Lawrence said. “The schedule comes out and its Week 2, you get Kansas City. … We got our shot here at home and we lay an egg offensively. It’s pretty frustrating.”

The Jaguars showed offensive issues in last week’s 31-21 win at Indianapolis. However, the high point total made it easier to give the Jaguars a pass for opening-day jitters.

Now, there has to be some level of concern.

The Jaguars are simply too talented and versatile on offense to be performing this poorly.

They were 3 of 12 on third down in both games this season. That’s a 25-percent clip. Last season, the Jaguars converted on third down 42 percent of the time.

The Jaguars also haven’t been any better on fourth down so far. They were 1 of 3 against the Colts and 0 for 2 on Sunday. They converted 52 percent on fourth down last season.

Is it the new play-calling situation? Pederson might have made a mistake in turning all of the play calling over to offensive coordinator Press Taylor. The early returns are poor.

The Jaguars are 6 of 24 on third down and 1 of 5 on fourth down this season. It’s impossible to believe that’s all on the players not executing.

The Jaguars had a first-and-goal situation at the Chiefs 1-yard line on Sunday and settled for a field goal. The series started with Lawrence running outside for a 3-yard loss.

Pederson defended Taylor in his postgame press conference.

While voicing his disappointment about Sunday’s performance, he also tried to take a broader view.

“It’s Week 2 and we’re 1-1,” Pederson said. “We’re in a great spot. We lost to a great football team today. We didn’t play great. Guys know that. Guys are going to rally. Guys are going to bounce back. … Those guys are ticked off in there. You know, they’re mad. But it’s so early in this season that one game’s not going to define who we are and it’s not going to define our season.”

Maybe not, but it does define who the Jaguars are now.

They aren’t ready for prime time.

The kings of the NFL in Kansas City don’t have to worry at all about any threat to their supremacy coming from Jacksonville. The Jaguars are just an above-average team in a bad division.

They had a chance to take a 2 ½ game lead over the Chiefs in the early race for the top seed in the AFC.

Instead, the offense laid an egg and wasted a magnificent defensive effort.

(You can email Hays at [email protected] and follow him on X @HaysCarlyon).









Written by: Hays Carlyon

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