JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs insist they are doing well despite another lackluster offensive effort.
Mahomes threw two touchdown passes, including one to returning star Travis Kelce, and the Chiefs overcame three early turnovers to beat Jacksonville 17-9 on Sunday for their third victory over the Jaguars in 10 months.
“You play bad and win, it’s a lot better than playing bad and losing,” Mahomes said. “So I was happy we were able to find a way to get the win at the end of the day, but there’s a lot of things we need to be better at.”
Topping the list: 12 penalties for 94 yards in sweltering heat and humidity that caused plenty of problems for fans burning in the sun and players cramped on the field.
“It’s still early in the season and you just saw game two, putting all the new pieces together,” Kelce said. “But for now, hats off to the defense, for the way they plan to keep us in games. We love them for it. We need to stop shooting ourselves in the foot on offense.
The Chiefs (1-1) won their eighth straight game in the series and avoided becoming the first defending Super Bowl champions to start 0-2 since Denver in 1999.
The Jaguars (1-1), who emphasized all week that they owe the Chiefs for their loss in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs in January, barely participated in their game opening at home.
“We had our chance here at home and laid an egg offensively,” Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence said. “It’s quite frustrating. … It’s really, really frustrating to leave so many things out.
Coach Doug Pederson’s team got off to another slow start, failed to capitalize on two of three turnovers and struggled to protect Lawrence, who was 0 of 7 passing in the red zone.
The Jaguars had to settle for a field goal after scoring first-and-goal at the 1 to start the fourth quarter and Lawrence then threw incomplete on a fourth-and-12 play with 4:16 left. Kansas City didn’t let the Jaguars get the ball.
“No surprises,” Jacksonville tight end Evan Engram said. “Just disappointing. We are better than that. We missed. We missed our shot. We will definitely move on. …We will see them again.
The Jaguars should definitely have a better plan for All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones in a potential rematch.
Making his season debut after ending his resistance and signing a one-year contract, Jones dominated his one-on-one matchups. He manhandled rookie right tackle Anton Harrison and was just as effective against the rest of the Jacksonville line. He finished with 1 1/2 sacks on five QB pressures.
With more time to prepare after a loss to Detroit 10 days earlier in the NFL opener, the Chiefs hoped to look much more like their normally dynamic personality on offense. But Richie James muffed a punt, Justin Watson fumbled and Mahomes threw an interception. Kadarius Toney, who dropped three passes in the first game, fumbled late in the third, but was able to recover the loose ball and avoid another turnover.
“Too many procedural penalties and turnovers,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “We’ll take care of it.”
Mahomes completed 29 of 41 passes for 305 yards. He found Kelce all alone in the end zone to extend KC’s lead to 14-6. CBS play-by-play announcer Ian Eagle slipped into a song referencing reports linking Kelce to pop superstar Taylor Swift by saying “Kelce finds empty space for the score.” One of Swift’s many hits is “Blank Space.”
Kelce, who missed the first game with a hyperextended knee, threw the ball into the end zone to celebrate. He finished with four catches on nine targets for 26 yards.
The Chiefs converted twice on fourth down and outscored Jacksonville 399-271 overall.
“It’s Week 2. I mean, my God,” said Pederson, who fell to 0-4 against his mentor, Reid. “These guys are pissed in there. They are crazy. But we’re so early in the season that one game won’t define who we are, nor will it define our season.
Chiefs right tackle Jawaan Taylor, who spent the first four years of his NFL career in Jacksonville, had a rough return home. Taylor was penalized five times and was eventually benched for a series. He was flagged twice for false starts, once for illegal training and twice for restraint.
Chiefs: LBs Nick Bolton and Willie Gay were treated on the field, but both were able to return to the game.
Jaguars: LB Josh Allen (shoulder) returned late. WR Zay Jones (knee) returned after spending time in the locker room. WR Calvin Ridley hit the padding surrounding the goal post and was shaken. RB Travis Etienne and S Andre Cisco faced cramping issues.
Chiefs: Host Chicago next Sunday.
Jaguars: Host Houston next Sunday.
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