The much heralded Kansas City offensive line was anything but special on Sunday giving up six sacks facing a mostly a four man rush. For those wanting to see a shootout on the northern Florida coast, they had to be disappointed as the Kansas City offense put together another perplexing performance.
As for the defense they, played well at times but for whatever reason they chose to sit back on the game winning drive for the most part and only rushed three bodies when they had Leftwich on the ropes with a bad ankle. Once again Cornerback Dexter McCleon was the goat. He has totally lost the ability to play corner. The one time he had a chance to make a play to erase his poor play, he dropped a sure interception on a fourth and two that he could have waltzed into the end zone.
But the Chiefs special teams nearly blew the game as whispers of the questions ruled the post game as Lawrence Tynes missed an extra point and field goal that was part of the reason the Chiefs failed to win their second game of the season. Even more disturbing is return man Dante' Hall who has clearly lost his confidence and his ability to use his strength and that's his speed.
This was a statement game for both teams but the Chiefs came into this game needing to show that they were going to make a splash in the AFC. They could ill-afford to have an early season loss to a Jacksonville team that was riding a two game winning streak.
Early in the first quarter the Chiefs defense had a chance to make a statement but they fell pray to their initial success stopping the Jaguars potent offense on first and second down. In the first half, the Jaguars converted on each of their third down conversions.
Chiefs defensive coordinator used a lot of five and six defensive backs and Jacksonville quarterback Byron Leftwich used both his right arm and legs to get the Jaguars first touchdown.
Leftwich marched the Jaguars down the field and a beautifully executed 13 play drive that ate up nearly half the first quarter. On the drive the former Marshall standout hit five different receivers. Facing a third and goal from the seven yard line, Leftwich behind his fullback Chris Fuamata-Ma'afala just crossed the goal line ahead of the tackle by Chiefs linebacker Shawn Barber.
That touchdown gave the Jaguars a 7-0 lead but it served notice that they were not going to let their two game losing streak affect how they wanted to play on Sunday. The Chiefs defense could not finish off the Jaguars on the drive and it cost them.
On the next possession, Trent Green put the ball on his back and executed a perfect 50-yard pass to Johnnie Morton. That set up the only field goal that Lawrence Tynes would make as he nailed a 31-yard field goal that left the Chiefs trailing the Jaguars 7-3.
But after that score, the Jaguars churned up the Chiefs defense for another big play. Fred Taylor caught a swing pass from Leftwich and ran it down the sidelines untouched for a 64-yard score that gave Jacksonville a 14-3 lead.
The game stayed that way until the third quarter when Trent Green finally had the time to see his open receivers. He engineered a 68-yard drive that culminated with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Tony Gonzalez that left the Chiefs trailing 14-10.
After that the defense held but the Chiefs offense was unable to generate any momentum or rhythm. Then Kansas City finally got on track late in the fourth quarter as Green did his best Harry Houdini act and shoveled a pass to Priest Holmes before he fell to the ground. Holmes caught the ball and weaved his way into the end zone behind two Gonzalez blocks giving the Chiefs a 16-14 lead.
The defense stepped up on the next series as they held the Jaguars to a four and out. But the offense predictably struggled with their passive play. On the first play Gonzalez was flagged for a penalty that put the ball back to the 38 yard line and three running plays netted the Chiefs 14 yards. Facing a fourth and one with Jacksonville out of timeouts, the Chiefs hoped to extent their lead to five points but Tynes attempt, like his missed PAT was wide right and that gave the Jaguars new life.
Leftwich made one poor play on the drive as he nearly threw the ball into the arms of cornerback Eric Warfield who let it skip between his arms as the ball fell to the ground so might have the Chiefs season.
Every single time that Leftwich needed to make a play on the final drive they threw the ball to whomever McCleon was covering. It worked to perfection as he continues to struggle. On the game winner, Leftwich put the ball in the right spot and the Chiefs cornerback was unable to even locate the incoming aerials.
The Chiefs had one last gasp but they were unable to get the ball into the end zone. Now they face back to back home games against the Atlanta Falcons and re-match with the Indianapolis Colts before going back on the road for two straight.
The team can't use the excuse they lost the game on their rookie kicker. Even if Tynes made the PAT and field goal, the lack of aggression on the final drive and in third down situations by Cunningham's crew, had more to do with it than anything else. It also might be time that McCleon sits and Kansas City might have better luck putting Benny Sapp or Julian Battle in the starting lineup.
For a season with so much promise, the Chiefs coaching staff now has made three critical mistakes in losses today at Jacksonville and against the Texans and Panthers. They will have to do a better job just to get back the .500 mark before they can consider the playoffs.