Chiefs-Jaguars: Chris Jones, Travis Kelce push Chiefs to one-score win

The Kansas City Chiefs bounced back from a Week 1 loss to win Jacksonville Jaguars 17-9 in Week 2. With the win, the Chiefs improved to 1-1 on the 2023 season.

Here’s my initial reaction to the game:

Having your two best players in the lineup makes a difference.

Kansas City got a significant boost from the return of two of its best players to the starting lineup: defensive tackle Chris Jones and tight end Travis Kelce. In a one-score win, their presence alone could have been the difference between a win and a loss on Sunday.

Prior to the game, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo wouldn’t commit to a snap count for Jones — and the Chiefs didn’t seem to hold him back. Kelce seemed to be on a shorter leash than Jones — but that’s to be expected. Jones missed the offseason and training camp; Kelce was coming back from injury.

Both had solid outflows in their earnings. Jones disrupted the Jaguars’ offensive line and quarterback Trevor Lawrence all afternoon. He got his first sack of the season in the second quarter — and he had another key strip-sack late in the game (the refs gave him a half-sack, breaking up with rookie Felix Anutick-Uzoma). The final quarterback pressure numbers will be available this week, but I have a feeling Jones will be very pleased.

With Kelce limited, his touchdown came on one of those Patrick Mahomes specials — an off-structure play in which the quarterback buys Kelce enough time to find a soft spot in coverage. It gave the leaders a lead they never relinquished.

Short yard salvation

Considering head coach Andy Reid has routinely finished his team in the top five every season, it’s hard to complain about the Chiefs’ offense. So while the nitpicking factor is acknowledged, Chiefs have struggled in key short-term situations.

Sunday went well in Jacksonville. Two successful fourth-down attempts allowed the Chiefs to clinch the game — even if the offense was a bit sluggish early in the game.

On fourth-and-2 at the Jacksonville 42 in the second quarter, Mahomes found running back Clyde Edwards-Heller in the right flat. The running back broke a tackle for a 10-yard gain, and wide receiver Skye Moore scored a touchdown two plays later.

The Chiefs faced fourth-and-1 at the Jaguars 30-yard line to extend their lead in the fourth quarter. Reed called running back Isiah Pacheco, who gained 2 yards for a first down. Kansas City kicked a field goal on the drive to extend its lead to eight points, and it didn’t need to score anymore to secure the win.

Principals may rightly have a problem on their hands.

It’s not exactly perfect for Jacksonville, especially when it comes to tackling Jawan Taylor’s homecoming. A week later the nation watched NBC Commentators Mike Trigo and Chris Collinsworth begged the umpires for penalties against 74, which they finally granted.

Taylor was stunned Five Penalties in the game – including two false starts. Reed and offensive line coach Andy Heck actually subbed Taylor for Prince Teka Wanoko midway through the third quarter.

Unlike last week, Kansas City found a way to win the game. Winning makes that kind of stuff easier to swallow, but the offseason price tag for Taylor may raise some eyebrows this week — as Kansas City gave the 25-year-old a four-year contract that includes $60 million guaranteed.

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