Chiefs vs. Jaguars: 12 Observations

Here are 12 things that stood out during the victory on Sunday

The Kansas City Chiefs (6-2) picked up their fourth straight victory on Sunday, defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-6) by a score of 19-14 at Arrowhead Stadium.

Coming into the game, the Chiefs hadn't lost a game at Arrowhead Stadium in 393 days—spanning 10 regular-season games—and that streak continues.

Here are 12 things that stood out during Sunday's game:

  1. Turnovers mean everything

This game is the poster child for why turnovers are the single most important statistic in a football game.

The Chiefs offense finished the game with 231 total yards, converted 1 of 14 third downs and had 62 yards rushing. It's also worth noting that a third of the yards rushing for the Chiefs came from a receiver (Tyreek Hill, 2 attempts for 21 yards).

More importantly than all of that, the Chiefs didn't turn it over.

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Since head coach Andy Reid arrived before the 2013 season, the Chiefs are 26-5 in games they win the turnover battle.

Take all of the other variables out of the equation—that's the one that matters.  

On the other hand, the Jaguars had 449 yards of total offense, converted 5 of 13 third downs and ran the ball for 205 yards.

But they had four turnovers.

The Chiefs turned those four turnovers into 13 points and won the game by five.

There are things the Chiefs can improve upon after Sunday's game, but in the single most important category, the Chiefs excelled for the fourth straight game.

The Chiefs haven't turned the ball over one time during this current four-game winning streak, and the defense has taken it away 10 times.

Everything else aside, that's a recipe for success.

  1. It's become a trend for Dee Ford
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Last week in the win over the Indianapolis Colts, Dee Ford, the former first-round pick and third-year outside linebacker, had the game of his career—finishing with 3.5 sacks on the day, giving him seven for the season.

Before this season, the best year of Ford's career was in 2015, when he finished with four total sacks.

Over the past two weeks alone, Ford has 5.5 sacks, finishing Sunday's game with two while narrowly missing out on a few more.

Ford is affecting the quarterback consistently, and for a player who was oft-criticized by those outside of the locker room over the past couple of years, he's showing everybody what development looks like and rewarding the Chiefs for their belief in his work ethic and ability.

  1. Nick Foles puts together solid performance, leaves room for improvement
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In his first start since December of last year, quarterback Nick Foles finished Sunday's game for the Chiefs by completing 20 of 33 for 187 yards and a touchdown.

"I thought for just stepping into it, I thought there were some good things there and some things he would like to have back," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said of Foles' performance after the game. "Couple of those sacks he would surely like to have back. But again, those are bang, bang decisions. They were coming after us a little bit, but he'll be fine."

  1. Already missing Alex Smith, Parker Ehinger and Spencer Ware, Chiefs offense loses two more

The depth was already a storyline coming into this game, as Foles was named the starting quarterback early in the week in place of Alex Smith. Smith was in the NFL's "return-to-play" protocol following a couple of hits last Sunday against the Colts.

Spencer Ware was ruled out with a concussion that was suffered in the game against the Colts as well, and starting left guard Parker Ehinger was placed on Injured Reserve on Saturday with a knee injury suffered last Sunday.

Then, early in the game, receiver Jeremy Maclin, who had been battling a groin injury during the week that caused him to miss some practice time, left and didn't return.

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Early in the fourth quarter, tight end Travis Kelce was ejected from the game after picking up two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties within seconds after arguing with the referees.

Kelce was stating his frustration with the official who didn't throw a flag on a pass intended for him in the end zone in which there appeared to be some contact.

But with less than two minutes left on the clock and needing to pick up a first down, the Chiefs offense—without its starting quarterback, running back, left guard, No. 1 receiver and tight end—picked up that first down on a Charcandrick West 14-yard run on second-and-9.

Before that run, West's longest run of the day was for just 6 yards.

When it mattered, the depth of the Chiefs roster rose up and made the play to seal the victory.

  1. First turnover forced by the Chiefs comes on special teams

When it comes to punt return average against, there's not a better unit in the NFL than the group led by special teams coordinator Dave Toub. Toub's unit was allowing an NFL-leading 4.6 yards per return coming into Sunday's game.

But it wasn't a short return that thrust this group into the forefront of top plays on Sunday; it was an 8-yard return by Jaguars returner Bryan Walters late in the first quarter.

After a 53-yard punt by Dustin Colquitt in a scoreless game with under two minutes remaining in the first quarter, Walters fielded the punt from the 15-yard line and was soon hit by the combination of D.J. Alexander and Daniel Sorensen, who knocked the ball loose from Walters as TE James O' Shaughnessy hopped on the ball for the takeaway.

It was the break the Chiefs offense was looking for.

  1. Foles threw a beautiful pass to Albert Wilson

Just two plays after O'Shaughnessy recovered that fumble, Foles hit receiver Albert Wilson in stride and over his shoulder for a 23-yard touchdown strike.

It was the momentum-changing sequence that got the Chiefs on the board and the crowd back into the game.

On the play, Foles went play-action to newly signed running back Knile Davis, and Wilson, who had been lined up in the slot to the right of the formation, ran a seam route and the linebacker in coverage just couldn't keep up with him as Foles read the coverage perfectly.

Foles did a nice job moving the Jaguars safety away from Wilson, as he initially looked to his right after the play-action to Davis, and Wilson had nobody over the top and the ball was placed perfectly down the field.

  1. Jaguars roll the dice on the next offensive series after key challenge from Andy Reid

On the Jaguars' ensuing offensive drive after the Wilson touchdown reception, Reid challenged a ruling on the field that Jaguars RB T.J. Yeldon's knee touched the ground on a key 11-yard reception, which had the Jaguars in field goal range at the 32-yard line.

The play was reversed and the ball brought back to the 39-yard line.

On first down, Bortles threw an incomplete pass in the direction of Yeldon once again, and then RB Chris Ivory was tackled by linebacker Ramik Wilson for a loss of 3 yards on a running play to the outside.

Bortles then scrambled for 12 yards on third-and-13, with head coach Gus Bradley subsequently challenging the ruling that nobody had touched Bortles, but upon review, the play stood as called.

Rather than attempt the 47-yard field goal early in the second quarter, Bradley rolled the dice and Bortles' fourth-down pass in the direction of Allen Hurns fell incomplete. Hurns would later leave with a concussion.

It was an underrated key sequence of events that had far-reaching implications as the game continued.

  1. Ramik Wilson's interception came at the perfect time
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For the first time in his career, second-year inside linebacker Ramik Wilson intercepted a pass, and it came at a glorious time for the Chiefs defense.

Following an offensive drive for the Chiefs that netted just 2 yards after the failed fourth down by the Jaguars, the Chiefs defense was back out there and attempting to maintain their momentum and 7-0 lead.

On second-and-10 from the 19-yard line, Bortles didn't see Wilson sitting in the middle of the field and tossed one in his direction.

To Wilson's credit, if you haven't intercepted a pass in your career, you do everything you can to try and score, which he did.

In what ultimately mounted to a 6-yard gain, Wilson probably ran 50-plus yards back and forth, weaving in and around Jaguars offensive players attempting to make a tackle while Wilson was seemingly going nowhere.

The Chiefs offense took over at the Jaguars 13-yard line after the interception and managed a field goal to take a 10-0 lead.

  1. Phillip Gaines forces fumble, Steve Nelson recovers

With the Chiefs holding a 10-7 lead early in the third quarter, the Jaguars faced a third-and-17 after one of Ford's two sacks on the day, and they decided to try and pick up a chunk of the yardage back by running the ball with Yeldon.

Yeldon managed to pick up 16 yards before cornerback Phillip Gaines came flying in from the side and knocked the ball out—giving Nelson a chance to recover.

Gaines had a key takeaway last week against the Colts when he intercepted Andrew Luck late in the first half, and this takeaway was another key play in a Chiefs victory.

It set up Cairo Santos' 51-yard field goal, which gave the Chiefs a 13-7 lead.

  1. Santos steps up and finishes a perfect 4 for 4 on the day

After missing a 28-yard field goal last week against the Colts, third-year kicker Cairo Santos finished Sunday's game perfect, going 4 for 4 in a game that called for him to be on point.

Santos hit from 26, 51, 24 and 36 yards.  

Photos from the Chiefs Week 9 matchup against the Jaguars

  1. Jaye Howard, Ramik Wilson force Chris Ivory to fumble into end zone

If you're looking for perhaps the single most important play in a game that has a few in the running for that title, the goal line run from Jaguars RB Chris Ivory midway through the fourth quarter is atop that list—without a doubt.

With the Chiefs holding a 19-7 lead following Santos' 36-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars picked up 73 yards on the first three plays of the next drive and were knocking on the door.

But as we've seen so far this season, the Chiefs defense has a knack of bucking up when needed.

On first-and-goal from the 3-yard line, Eric Berry and company stopped Ivory's first-down run after a gain of two yards, which set up a second-and-goal from the 1.

On the second-down run, defensive lineman Jaye Howard fought through attempted blocks and got his arms around Ivory, and with the help of Wilson coming downhill, was able to get the ball out of Ivory's hands before he crossed the goal line.

CB Marcus Peters was still able to get his hands on the ball to recover the fumble for a takeaway that proved to be the biggest play of the game.

  1. Dontari Poe's tackle for loss sealed the win

The Jaguars had a chance to win on a final drive with three minutes remaining in the game and trailing 19-14.

The drive began on their own 35-yard line, and after a 26-yard scramble from Bortles and then a 9-yard completion to TE Julius Thomas, the Jaguars were within striking distance.

With 2:10 left in the game and facing a third-and-1 from the Chiefs 30-yard line, the Jaguars attempted to power it up the middle with Yeldon, who was stuffed for a loss of two yards by Dontari Poe.

It was the game-sealing play and exclamation point by the Chiefs defense.

Despite the fact that the Jaguars ran the ball for more than 200 yards in the game—when they needed a yard with the game on the line—Poe showed everyone why he's one of the best interior defensive linemen in the league. It set up the fourth-and-3 pass that Bortles threw across the middle in the direction of Bryan Walters, but CB Steve Nelson was there to break it up.

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