Four takeaways: Jaguars have their chances but still too inconsistent

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. (1) runs with the ball as Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Joshua Williams (23) defends during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga) (Ed Zurga, Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The Jaguars fell to 3-7 with a 27-17 loss to the Chiefs in Kansas City. It was the first game this season in which Jacksonville did not lead at some point in the game. Doug Pederson called it a “benchmark game.” So how did the Jaguars measure up? Here are my four biggest takeaways from the game:

The Jaguars had their chance

The story of the game was the opportunities the Jaguars missed. Here’s a sampling. After recovering a surprise onside kick to start the game, the Jaguars saw Christian Kirk drop a pass that would have put the Jaguars around the Chiefs’ 10-yard line. Instead of a touchdown or field goal, the Jaguars punted the ball into the end zone, wasting the extra possession.

In the second quarter, Trevor Lawrence threw a touchdown pass to Evan Engram, but the score was called back on a penalty on Cam Robinson for being downfield. The Jaguars settled for a field goal.

Riley Patterson, however, missed a pair of field goals that could have cut into the Chiefs’ lead, including one just before halftime that could have cut the lead to 10.

Underdogs playing on the road can’t afford to squander opportunities as the Jaguars did on Sunday in Kansas City.

Lines of scrimmage

For most of the game, the Jaguars’ offensive line was beaten by the Chiefs’ front. Chris Jones had a big day against Jaguars’ right guard Brandon Scherff, but he wasn’t the only one who struggled.

On the other side of the ball, the Jaguars didn’t get much pressure on Patrick Mahomes, and when they did, Mahomes did what he does, and escaped, setting up big plays. Josh Allen and Travon Walker continued to struggle to get sacks. While Allen has produced pressure, the sack numbers have not been there lately. Against Mahomes, the Jaguars needed to win with the front four and they did not.

Mahomes did his thing

Coming into the game, there were three key challenges I felt the Jaguars needed to overcome. One was the crowd at Arrowhead Stadium, which didn’t appear to be a factor very often. The second was the weather, although the cold didn’t appear to be a factor for either team. The final obstacle was Mahomes. The former league MVP produced another raft of jaw-dropping plays. The statistics were impressive as well. Mahomes finished the game by completing 26 of 35 passes for 331 yards and four touchdowns. Andre Cisco intercepted him in the fourth quarter, but aside from that mistake, it was vintage Mahomes. The Chiefs won’t lose many games when Mahomes plays as he did.

Lawrence’s progress

Lawrence followed up his best game of the season with another strong performance. If not for a couple of drops, the numbers would be even better. Lawrence finished the game 29 of 40 for 259 yards with two touchdown passes and no interceptions. But more than the numbers, the way Lawrence handled the stage was impressive.

He had a couple of missed throws early on but led three impressive drives when the Jaguars had to have a touchdown to stay in the game. One came to close out the first half, although it led to a missed field goal. The drive to cut the Kansas City lead to 27-17 in the fourth quarter was one to build on as well. We’re seeing the development that Lawrence needs to show as his second professional season plays out. He’ll have the chance to reflect on his first 10 games as the Jaguars hit the bye week.