The defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars, 17-9, on Sunday thanks to a gritty, resilient performance. This was the season’s first victory for the Chiefs.
With little over two minutes left in the game, the Chiefs were up eight points and faced with a third down at midfield when quarterback Patrick Mahomes connected with wide receiver Skyy Moore for a gain of 54 yards that effectively sealed the victory.
On a day that was generally filled with self-inflicted mistakes, it was a crucial play, but even with three turnovers, ten or more penalties, and other poor plays, the Chiefs managed to prevail in the end.
“Our guys really sucked it up. It was hot and humid out there. I’m an offensive guy, but that was a beautiful thing defensively,” said Head Coach Andy Reid. Offensively, we have to take care of the penalties and the turnovers, but to battle through it shows me a little something. We’ll get the other stuff fixed as we go.”
In fact, the Chiefs’ defense was excellent the whole game on Sunday, limiting the Jaguars to only nine points overall and no touchdowns over 11 possessions. Jacksonville only managed 271 yards of total offense on the day, going 3-of-12 on third down and 0-3 in the red zone.
“The defense was incredible. That’s a really good offense, and for [our defense] to shut them down and get some pretty critical stops…The defense won that game,” Mahomes said. “We have to continue to get better as an offense – which I think we will – but if the defense plays like that, we’re going to be a hard team to beat. That’s special.”
Despite a sluggish start that saw Kansas City’s first four possessions end in two punts, a fumble, and an interception, a strong defensive effort kept the Chiefs in the game. In reality, the defense soon held Jacksonville to a field goal rather than conceding a short-field score after a muffed punt deep in Chiefs’ territory. Then, just one play later, Kansas City regained possession when defensive tackle Chris Jones sacked Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence on a fourth-down attempt.
It was a part of Jones’ outstanding season debut, which included 1.5 sacks, a pass deflection, and other pressures. Jones’ efforts weren’t in vain, either, as Mahomes went on to direct a seven-play, 50-yard scoring drive for the Chiefs that culminated in a 9-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Skyy Moore.
The drive showed the Chiefs’ tenacity as they faced a 3rd-and-14 early on in the series before tight end For a 12-yard gain, Noah Gray received a brief pass and eluded several defenders. On a quick fourth-down effort, Mahomes next made a pass to tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire to advance the chains, which later allowed Moore to score.
Despite its offensive troubles in the first half, the score gave Kansas City a one-point advantage at the half. On the opening play of the third quarter, the Chiefs once again shifted momentum in their favor as tailback Isiah Pacheco broke free for a 31-yard run. The Chiefs’ lead increased to eight points after the opening play of a seven-play, 81-yard scoring drive that ended with a touchdown pass of nine yards to tight end Travis Kelce. Two third downs were successfully converted throughout the drive, including a pass completion of 34 yards to wide receiver Justin Watson on a third-and-10.
In terms of the scoring, Mahomes and Kelce broke a tie with Len Dawson and Otis Taylor for the most touchdowns scored by a pair in franchise history with their 47th touchdown connection during their tenure in Kansas City. With 818 career catches as a tight end, Kelce’s four receptions on the day put him ahead of Shannon Sharpe for fourth place overall. In terms of career receptions by a tight end in league history, only Tony Gonzalez (1,325), Jason Witten (1,228), and Antonio Gates (955) have more than Kelce.