Jaguars Up-Down drill: Tracking the good, bad and ugly from Kansas City Chiefs game
Tracking the good, the bad and the ugly from the Jaguars’ 27-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC divisional round at Arrowhead Stadium.
Nobody can rightfully ask Jaguars players or fans to view this close defeat to the No. 1-seeded Chiefs as some sort of moral victory.
Every team getting bounced from the playoffs is entitled to feel heartache. But given where the Jaguars were two months ago — a team still in position for possibly a top-5 draft pick — turning the season around and coming up just short of reaching the AFC Championship game is one of the franchise’s truly great accomplishments.
Game recap: A look back at Jaguars vs. Chiefs
Trevor Tracker:Here's how Trevor Lawrence's divisional playoff game stats stack up in franchise history
Immediate takeaways:Jaguars make costly mistakes in 27-20 Divisional Round loss to Chiefs.
After tying for 25th in the NFL this season with 35 sacks, the Jaguars pulled a disappearing act in that department by going sackless against Chiefs quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Chad Henne.
Of particular note for being rather invisible were primary pass rushers Josh Allen and Travon Walker. Even after Mahomes got hurt in the second quarter and was limping through the second half, the Jaguars failed to take advantage of his limited mobility.
Allen had turned up his game the past few weeks, but him and Walker had a combined three tackles apiece against KC. That’s not a recipe for winning big games.
The Jaguars’ return specialist did as much as anyone to keep his team in contention. He took a kickoff back 63 yards to set up its first touchdown, then was inches away from having a 97-yard TD kick return after the Chiefs extended their lead to 27-17.
KC kicker Harrison Butker barely got Agnew down at the Jaguars’ 45, saving a touchdown with 7:08 remaining that would have made things more dicey for the Chiefs in the closing minutes.
On the flip side, Agnew did fumble the ball when he failed to secure a pass from Trevor Lawrence at the KC 3 and linebacker Nick Bolton recovered for the game’s first turnover with 5:29 remaining.
Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence has never had a bad Saturday, seeing as how he compiled a 37-0 record on that day as a quarterback in high school, college and the NFL.
His run of Saturday perfection is now over with the loss to Kansas City, which dropped the Jaguars’ playoff road record to 4-7.
This is only a consolation for the Jaguars fans and others with an affinity for gambling on the black and teal.
Jaguars coach Doug Pederson extended his record to 7-0 against the spread when his teams are an underdog.
The Jaguars were given nine points and scored a victory for those who wagered on them when Riley Patterson kicked a field goal with 25 seconds remaining.
After losing twice in head-to-head matchups this season with Mahomes, the Jaguars’ Lawrence won’t have to wait too long for a measure of revenge.
Though the NFL schedule won’t come out until April or May, the Jaguars are scheduled to get the Chiefs at home in 2023.
If history repeats itself, that could be a good sign. After the Jaguars lost to the New England Patriots 24-20 in the 2017 AFC Championship game, they played Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in Week 2 the following season and won 31-20.
It's been a longstanding trend with the Jaguars that they struggle covering even modestly successful tight ends.
But when faced with the monster assignment of covering Travis Kelce, arguably the best pass-catching TE who ever played the game, it didn’t go well.
Predictably, the Jaguars lost track of Kelce too often as he recorded an NFL playoff-record 14 receptions on 17 targets for 98 yards and two touchdowns.
Keeping track of the tight end has to be a big emphasis going into 2023 for Mike Caldwell’s defense.
While the pass-rush was nothing close to special, the Jaguars’ rushing attack perked back up to life with 144 yards on 19 total carries for an average rush of 7.6 yards.
Travis Etienne led the way with 62 yards on 10 attempts. Backup JaMycal Hasty needed only four carries to get 36 yards, including a 23-yarder.
There was no excuse for the Jaguars’ defense not taking advantage of Patrick Mahomes being out of the game for one series in the second quarter.
With 37-year-old backup and former Jaguar Chad Henne under center, the Chiefs still drove the ball 98 yards for a touchdown and a 17-7 lead.
Most teams would be thrilled to get a backup QB on such a big stage, but Henne put together a 12-play drive that extended Kansas City’s lead to 17-7. It ended up being the difference in the game.
The officiating crew of Shawn Hochuli threw the second-most flags in the NFL this season, averaging 14.6 per game. But Hochuli’s crew didn’t have the yellow hankies flying too much Saturday. The Jaguars were only flagged five times for 40 yards, while Kansas City even less with three penalties for 30 yards.