JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Patrick Mahomes threw two touchdown passes, including one to returning star Travis Kelce, and the Kansas City Chiefs overcame three early turnovers to beat Jacksonville 17-9 on Sunday for their third win against the Jaguars in 10 months.
The Chiefs (1-1) won their eighth straight series and fell short of becoming the first Super Bowl champions since Denver in 1999, which started 0-2.
The Jaguars (1-1), who insisted all week that they owed the Chiefs because of a loss in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs in January, were virtually absent from their home opener.
Coach Doug Pederson’s team got off to another slow start, failing to capitalize on two of three turnovers and struggling to protect quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Lawrence threw an incomplete four-and-12 play with 4:16 left in an eight-point game, and Kansas City didn’t let the Jaguars get the ball back.
Chiefs All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones, making his season debut after ending his time out and signing a one-year contract, dominated his one-on-one duels. Jones Mistreated rookie right tackle Anton Harrison and was equally effective against the rest of the Jacksonville line. He finished the game with two sacks on five QB pressures.
With more time to prepare following their loss to Detroit in the NFL opener ten days earlier, the Chiefs had hoped to become much more of their usually dynamic selves on offense. But Richie James botched a punt, Justin Watson fumbled and Mahomes threw an interception. Kadarius Toney, who dropped three passes in the opening play, fumbled late in the third period but managed to catch the loose ball and avoid another turnover.
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 added a song reference to reports linking Kelce to pop superstar Taylor Swift, saying, “Kelce finds a blank space for the score.” One of Swift’s many hits is “Blank Space”.
Kelce, who missed the opener with a hyperextended knee injury, shot the ball into the end zone to celebrate. He finished the game with four catches on nine targets for 26 yards.
The Chiefs converted twice on fourth down and outgained Jacksonville 399 to 271 yards. The Jaguars had several chances but settled for field goals on two trips to the red zone, averaging a paltry 4.2 yards per play.
TAYLOR ON THE BENCH
Chiefs right tackle Jawaan Taylor, who spent the first four years of his NFL career with Jacksonville, had a difficult homecoming. Taylor was penalized five times and eventually benched for a series. He was cited twice for false starts, once for an illegal formation and twice for holding.
MENTOR VS MENTEE
Pederson lost 4-0 to his close friend and mentor, Chiefs coach Andy Reid. This was Pederson’s first home loss; The previous three were played at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
The Chiefs defeated Pederson and Philadelphia 27-20 in Week 2 of the 2017 season; The Eagles recovered and eventually won the Super Bowl. The Chiefs defeated the Jaguars last season, winning 27-17 in Week 10 27-20 in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs.
Chiefs: LBs Nick Bolton and Willie Gay were attended to on the field, but both were able to return to the game.
Jaguars: LB Josh Allen left the game in the second half with a shoulder injury. WR Zay Jones (knee) returned after spending some time in the locker room. WR Calvin Ridley hit the padding around the goal post and was shaken. RB Travis Etienne struggled with cramps late.
Chiefs: Host Chicago next Sunday.
Jaguars: Host Houston next Sunday.
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