Mark Brunell: Jags struggle in test against Chiefs

Jacksonville offense fails to keep up with Kansas City's firepower

By Mark Brunell - Sports Analyst

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Sunday's game was tough to watch. Most of us knew this was not going to be an easy win. Playing in Kansas City is always difficult. Arrowhead Stadium can get really loud. The Chiefs were 4-0 and loaded with talent on the offensive side of the ball. This would be a big test for our defense.

It would be easy to point the finger at our quarterback, as many already have. One fumble and four
interceptions might make you think this one was all on him. But it wasn’t. Sure Blake didn’t play well. It was one of his worst performances as a pro. That’s not a good thing when you’re expected to be playing the best football of your career.

But here’s why this wasn’t all on Blake: we didn’t protect him. Not even close. The best of quarterbacks in the NFL need the big boys out front to do their job. On Sunday, the offensive line failed the QB, allowing too many hits and too many hurries.

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Now, when you get down 20-0 and have to play catch up, you need to throw it more. But you never want to throw the ball over 60 times in a game. Throwing for over 400 yards sounds great but, again, it's not ideal. It is critical that Nathaniel Hackett finds a way to protect Blake and stays out of long passing situations.

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Of course, getting healthy on the line would certainly help the cause. And Leonard Fournette's return can't come soon enough. You simply can't put this all on the QB. 

In my opinion, the defense got the job done. When you have to face an offense equipped with that much talent and that many weapons, it's tough. This offense is absolutely loaded and is led by a QB who is playing lights out. The tempo, the creativity, the speed, the execution -- all of it is impressive. The only way to really shut them down is to get after their young QB.

But you can't get to him. The ball comes out quick, and he’s often on the move outside the pocket. You can't really stop them. Nobody has. You simply do your best to limit them. And the Jaguars defense did that. They were put in bad situations by the offense and yet played tough.

Of course, this game didn’t go as planned, but the defense held its own. It was up to the offense to score the points. The Chiefs were last in the NFL in defense going into this game.

I still feel very good about this team. But I’m finding myself going from we are good to we can be good.

A lot of things need fixing. We just need a big win against the Cowboys next week to get back on track.

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