Chiefs vs. Jaguars: Game Balls

JustinHoustonChiefs

That was fun.

For the first time in years, the Kansas City Chiefs executed a rock solid game plan and took apart their opponent piece by piece. The result was a 28-2 road win over the hapless Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday afternoon.

Things started off shaky for Andy Reid’s squad with a three-and-out on the first offensive series capped off by a blocked punt for a safety. However, after Jacksonville was handed that 2-0 lead, it was all Chiefs.

The Kansas City defense quickly forced a Jaguars punt on the first series after the safety with Dexter McCluster handing Alex Smith and the offense great field position with a nifty 36-yard punt return.

It didn’t take the offense long to get on the board with Smith completing three straight passes, the third a five-yard scoring strike to another newcomer, WR Donnie Avery.

With the Chiefs defense stifling Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert all day long, the Kansas City offense had the benefit of working on a short field. The Chiefs three scoring drives were 24, 21 and 57 yards, respectively.

A year after Kansas City was Turnover Town, USA, it was the Chiefs winning the turnover battle 2-0. Those two turnovers — both interceptions — were turned into 14 points, a number Reid and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton will gladly sign for every week.

The excitement of the day was almost completely wiped away when RB Jamaal Charles was forced to leave the game in the third quarter after a tough hit and ugly landing. He returned for two carries later in the game, but didn’t look the same and left the game after that for good.

Early word is a quad injury for Charles, something Reid didn’t seem concerned about after the game. The true test will be how much the electric running back can practice this week and then how fresh he looks against the Dallas Cowboys.

Before we start looking towards the showdown with Tony Romo and the Cowboys, here is a look at the best performers on offense, defense and special teams.

Offense: Alex Smith

The numbers aren’t going to all of a sudden make Smith fantasy worthy, but it’s exactly what the Chiefs needed today. Between not turning the ball over and only taking one sack, Smith immediately was everything Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn weren’t last season.

Showing the beauty of an Andy Reid offense, Smith spread the ball around, completing passes to nine different receivers. He also showed off his underrated running skills, picking up 25 yards on just four carries.

The Chiefs defense isn’t going to be able to dominate every week like they did against Jacksonville, meaning Smith will need to show he can put up big numbers to get a win. But in his Chiefs debut, he was just what the doctor ordered.

Defense: Dontari Poe

There was so much to like about the Chiefs defense. Gabbert was never comfortable in the pocket and was pulling himself off the ground all day long.

Brandon Flowers and Tamba Hali had turnovers and Justin Houston was an animal with three sacks, but the big man was most impressive to me.

The second year nose tackle was getting a huge push all day and was a big reason the Jaguars had just 71 yards on the ground. There was just nowhere for Maurice Jones-Drew to go with the ball.

Poe also was part of the pass rush that eventually knocked Gabbert out of the game. He finished with six tackles, 1.5 sacks, a tackle for a loss and a pass defensed. As teams see that performance on tape, they’ll have to find ways to slow him down without letting a guy like Houston put up even bigger numbers.

Special Teams: Dustin Colquitt

It’s hard to get off to a worse start than the Chiefs punter did on Sunday. A breakdown up front on the first punt of the day left Colquitt as a sitting duck and the Jaguars delivered a block that turned into two points.

Instead of getting rattled, Colquitt responded with five punts inside the 20 and it very easily could have been six if not for a whiff by the coverage unit. Having an offense that doesn’t turn the ball over and a punter pinning teams deep is a perfect recipe.

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