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5 things we learned as the Chiefs ground out a win against the Jaguars

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By: Rocky Magaña

Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Kansas City did enough to win in another mistake-ridden game — this one in Jacksonville.

The Kansas City Chiefs found a way to rebound from their opening week loss to the Detroit Lions, traveling to the Sunshine State on Sunday to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. It wasn’t a pretty game — but when the dust had settled, the Chiefs had done enough to grab a much-needed road win, beating the Jaguars 17-9 to even the season record at 1-1.

Here are five things we learned from the game.

1. Headlines don’t tell the entire story

Syndication: Florida Times-Union
Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union / USA TODAY NETWORK

Late in the second half, the Chiefs once again found themselves in a one-score game — but this time, the offense found a way to drive the final nail in the coffin. While Kansas City has not been playing its best offensive football, Jacksonville is a playoff team that opened the season with a convincing victory over the Indianapolis Colts.

But the box score never tells the entire story — and not all one-score games are created equal.

With 1:45 remaining, Kansas City running back Isiah Pacheco ran the ball up the middle for a 5-yard gain, getting a first down at the Jaguars’ 1-yard line. If head coach Andy Reid had wanted to make the headlines look better, he could have easily punched it in to go up 24-9 — or even run three plays and kicked a field goal — to walk away with a two-possession road victory. But the Jaguars were out of timeouts and the game was already won, so there was nothing to be gained by scoring again.

So let’s remember: this wasn’t a true one-possession victory.

2. The Skyy isn’t falling

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars
Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

Early in the second quarter, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes attempted to connect with his second-year, second-round wideout on a pass over the middle. Moore had to jump for it — and for the second straight week, he failed to come down with the ball. But two possessions later, Mahomes connected with Moore on a back-shoulder pass for the go-ahead touchdown.

On a third-and-6 during the Chiefs’ final drive — when team needed to keep the drive alive to salt away the game — Mahomes found Moore once again for a big 54-yard gain.

The key to Moore’s success seems to be in ball placement. At 5 feet 9 (and with a 34.5-inch vertical), Moore is never going to be a guy who goes up to win 50/50 balls.

In fact, heading into Sunday’s game, Moore had caught just one of four contested catches in his young career. But if you can keep his feet on the ground, he can find the patches of green grass — and do some damage in space.

3. Chris Jones wants his money

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

This week, the All-Pro defensive tackle told the media that there was no rust in his game; he was ready to play.

He was right.

If Sunday was any indicator of how 2023 is going to go, then it wouldn’t surprise me if by the end of the season, Chris Jones is walking around the Chiefs facility whistling Rihanna’s “B*tch Better Have My Money.”

The contract year may be undefeated — but do you know what’s better? Having your best defensive player uber-motivated because a good chunk of his cash is tied up in whether he can rack up a boatload of sacks and player honors. On Sunday, Jones got off to a fantastic start — and looked exactly like a candidate for defensive player of the year.

4. This Chiefs’ defense could be special

Kansas City Chiefs v Jacksonville Jaguars
Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

So we know Jones was really good against the Jaguars. But do you know who else was also very good? Nearly every other member of the Kansas City defense. In 2022, Jacksonville fielded a top-ten scoring offense — and on Sunday, it was held to three field goals.

George Karlafits and Mike Danna continued to impress on the defensive line — while the Chiefs’ linebackers looked like one of the best units in the league. Leo Chenal was a heat-seeking missile against the run. Nick Bolton did Nick Bolton things. Willie Gay Jr. and Drue Tranquill held up really well in pass coverage.

But I think my favorite part of this game was the team’s secondary. In a day and age of weak arm-tackling defensive backs, the Kansas City secondary is developing a reputation for laying the wood.

This defense has the potential to be the best we’ve seen since Andy Reid arrived in Kansas City.

5. Good enough isn’t good enough

Kansas City Chiefs v Jacksonville Jaguars

For the second straight week, the Chiefs’ offense sputtered out of the gate. The offensive players shot themselves in the foot, shot themselves in the other foot — and then shot themselves in the first foot for good measure.

To say there is a lot for the Kansas City offense to clean up is an understatement. Fumbles and penalties were a problem all afternoon.

This just isn’t a unit that has the same margin of error as previous Chiefs’ offenses. The receiving corps remains a work in progress. Right tackle Jawaan Taylor has to adjust to the league adjusting to him — and Travis Kelce not only needs to get back to full strength, but also calm his wild hairs. He’s not 25 years old any longer. The team needs him to be the mature leader he’s become — not a firebrand who draws stupid unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and gets into arguments with opposing players.

So while the offense is working out the kinks, it may be wise to lean on the running game a little bit more — and set up the pass by feeding the ball to Pacheco, who averaged 5.8 yards per carry on Sunday.

Originally posted on Arrowhead Pride