KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Jaguars fell three games behind the Kansas City Chiefs with a 30-14 loss on the road, but the way the Jaguars performed Sunday might preclude them from continuing in that conversation. The Chiefs stayed undefeated as they dominated nearly every aspect of the game. Here are my four takeaways from the Jaguars' loss:
Are the Jaguars still a Super Bowl contender?
The ramifications of the loss in Kansas City are far reaching. Not only are the Jaguars now three games behind KC in the race for the best record in the AFC and home field advantage in the playoffs, but there are serious questions to be asked about how good this team, as they currently stand, can be. More on that later. As for the math, if the Jaguars don't make up three games on the Chiefs, and they make the playoffs and hope to earn a Super Bowl berth, they'll have to win a playoff game on the road, perhaps in Arrowhead in January. That's not the best formula for success. It's too soon to answer the question, but the Jaguars did not look like a Super Bowl contender Sunday.
Last week against the Jets, the Jaguars got away with three turnovers and nine penalties, because because the Jets are not a playoff team. The Chiefs are. Just as Doug Marrone said after the game last week, those kinds of mistakes will cost you against better teams. They contributed to the Jaguars' loss on Sunday. On the Chiefs' opening drive, the Jaguars committed two penalties that helped lead to the game's first touchdown. Another touchdown was the direct result of a turnover, when Blake Bortles' screen pass was intercepted by Chiefs' nose tackle Chris Jones, who returned it 20 yards for a touchdown. The Jaguars turned the ball over five times in the game.
The injuries are mounting for the Jaguars. They were down to their third left tackle during the game when Josh Wells left the game with a groin injury. The offensive line was struggling before Wells went out. Wells, who took over the starting job when Cam Robinson was lost for the year with a knee injury, was replaced by Josh Walker. At running back, Leonard Fournette was inactive with his hamstring injury, then. Then in the second quarter, Corey Grant left the game with a foot injury and was almost immediately ruled out. That's not a good sign. With the offense continuing to ride a roller coaster, depth will be tested in the next several weeks.
Bortles continues Jekyll and Hyde trend
There's "Good Blake" and there is "Bad Blake," and there hasn't been much in between. During Sunday's game, Bortles was "Bad Blake" during the first half, when he completed 10 of 22 passes and was intercepted twice. It didn't get much better in the second half. With 11:19 remaining in the fourth quarter with the Jaguars down 30-7, he threw another interception. The most puzzling aspect of Bortles' play and the offense's up-and-down season has been that there has been virtually no in-between. No average days. It's been either all great or garbage. The offensive struggles are not all on Bortles, but his bad days have to be better.