After their stellar play against Peyton Manning three weeks ago, opposing quarterbacks – lesser quarterbacks, I might add – have taken advantage of the Kansas City secondary in back to back weeks.
Sure, we can argue the pass interference penalty wrongly called on Brandon Carr last week and again on Sunday against Jacksonville were factors. But into the third quarter, defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel only has himself to blame for the lackluster play of his defense.
If you're not going to press receivers at the line of scrimmage with your corners, and you're not going to blitz, then any NFL quarterback can have success against your defense.
But what's puzzling about the defense, especially on the last drive of the first half, that resulted in a 18-yard field goal by Jaguars' kicker Josh Scobee, – was that they had been on the sidelines nearly eight minutes and still came out flat.
Derrick Johnson could have ended the madness, but he couldn't hold onto to a high throw by Bouman that could have resulted in a pick six. And that's at the core of the defensive woes right now – not enough players make plays when the opportunities present themselves. Though DJ would make amends in the third quarter when he picked off Bauman and vaulted into the end zone pushing the Chiefs lead from one digit to eight.
Eric Berry was wrongly called for pass interference in the third quarter.
Still, Bouman – who came into the game with 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on his professional resume – was solid throughout the game, especially when you consider he was on the street Monday morning. And without his performance, there's no way the Jaguars would have trailed at halftime by a single point.
In the second half, the Chiefs' defense initially took a double hit. After a terrible pass interference call against safety Eric Berry, he was burned badly on a touchdown pass to Jags wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker. Like last week against Houston, Berry let the receiver get behind him, and he was again out of position. But like DJ, Berry had an interception in the fourth quarter that stalled the Jags last hope to get back into the game.
But despite the recoveries by DJ and Berry, without a more aggressive pass rush, this defense continues to resemble the one from last year. Tamba Hali has done his best to lead that effort, but nobody else is stepping up to help the fifth-year linebacker.
Granted, the defense came alive just in time to thwart the upset but that only occurred when Crennel started bringing linebackers, safeties and corners to get after Bouman.
And it worked. Once Bouman had defenders in his face, he came back down to the earth and was ineffective the rest of the game.
However, the troubling aspect about this defense is that, last week, they started great and then faltered down the stretch. This week, they weren't good until Johnson made the defensive play of the game.
Chiefs defense held Maurice Jones-Drew to 47 yards rushing on Sunday.
In my opinion, Crennel has to be more aggressive in the first half of games. Had he taken the same approach in the first half as he did in the second, maybe there would not have been as many anxious moments on Sunday.
I know this defense is still evolving, but the Chiefs can't let up. I think Crennel needs to take a cue from his head coach.
How many times did Todd Haley ask his offense to stay on the field on fourth down? One time it worked, resulting in a Thomas Jones touchdown. The second time, deep in Jacksonville territory, it didn't.
Right now, the defense just seems to be too concerned about preventing the big play. What they need to do is dictate the action like they did on Bouman's second pick. Instead of sitting back with the pass rush, they were more aggressive and the result was Berry picking off his first NFL pass.
That sealed the victory as the offense added another late touchdown to put an exclamation point on the game.
I know I'm nitpicking but I'm going to be greedy going forward. I want this defense to resemble the unit we saw against San Diego, San Francisco and Indianapolis, and the one that dominated Houston for nearly three quarters and the one that eventually put the Jaguars away in the second half.
If they can start putting together complete games defensively, the sky is the limit for this football team because the offense is scoring a multitude of points.