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Chiefs leave Jaguars' 'D' searching for answers

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Recent posts by Arthur Arkush

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Posted Oct. 25, 2010 @ 11:41 p.m. ET
By Arthur Arkush

Todd Bouman, making his first NFL start since 2005, kept the Jaguars close for 2½ quarters against the Chiefs on Sunday. But trailing 21-20, with Jacksonville deep in its own territory with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter, Bouman tried to connect on a short pass to TE Zach Potter. He never saw Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson, however, who stepped in front of Potter and returned the interception 15 yards for a score. The Jaguars went three-and-out on the next series and never recovered, eventually falling to the Chiefs 42-20.

The PFW spin

Give Bouman credit. The 38-year-old, with no running game to speak of — the Jaguars mustered only 84 yards on 23 carries — was fantastic in the first half. Bouman calmly completed 11-of-19 for 152 yards, including a perfectly thrown 18-yard TD to Maurice Jones-Drew. But Kansas City waited patiently for the career backup QB to start pressing, and sure enough, his costly third-quarter pick — one of three Jaguars turnovers on the afternoon — was the turning point in the game.

And the Jaguars' punchless defense never gave Bouman a chance. Kansas City's No. 1-ranked rushing attack was as good as advertised, racking up 236 yards on 42 carries against the overmatched Jaguars. Thomas Jones did most of the damage in the first half, with 107 yards and a TD on only 11 carries, including a 70-yard scamper through a mammoth-sized hole to the Jaguars' four-yard line. Jamaal Charles took over in the second half, carrying 10 times for 62 yards. Jacksonville had no answers for the two-headed attack, losing the battle at the line of scrimmage and displaying horrible tackling technique on the second and third levels. Outside of Aaron Kampman, who made five tackles, a sack and three QB hits and continues to look like a great investment by GM Gene Smith, no Jaguars defender made plays. The linebackers were a step behind most of the afternoon, and Terrance Knighton and Tyson Alualu, usually very stout at the point of attack, did not hold up well.

Jacksonville's 27th-ranked passing defense marched out its fifth different combination of starters in the secondary, but it amounted to more of the same — opposing receivers toying with the Jags. Dwayne Bowe caught a pair of TDs, beating Rashean Mathis and Don Carey for a 53-yarder on the second play of the third quarter, and beating Derek Cox badly on a six-yard TD catch late in the fourth. Carey, who was making his first career start at free safety after the club released veteran Gerald Alexander last week, would just as soon forget the performance. His coverage breakdowns and lack of run support were costly. Cox was expected to replace Mathis as the team's top corner this season, but his confidence continues to be an issue. He also lacked discipline, costing his team an extra 15 yards for committing a dumb personal foul in the fourth quarter.

The Jaguars have spent the past two seasons rebuilding both lines, but Sunday proved that they are nowhere near where they need to be, as Kansas City beat up on the Jaguars on both sides of the ball. Without starter David Garrard, the offense wanted to establish a steady diet of Jones-Drew early. The problem was the Chiefs were simply more physical than the Jags. The interior of Jacksonville's offensive line was consistently being pushed back, bottling up M.J.D. and rookie Deji Karim. Second-year bookends Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton continue to be very inconsistent. And making matters worse, starting ORT Eben Britton left the game early with a shoulder injury, and according to multiple reports, could be done for the season.

Next on the docket for the reeling Jaguars is a visit to Jerry World, where the desperate Cowboys will be licking their chops to attack the vulnerable Jaguars defense.

Talk of Jack Del Rio on the hot seat cooled a bit after big wins over the Colts and Bills in Weeks Four and Five, but back-to-back losses since then has the conversation heating up again. The Jaguars' average margin of defeat this season is an abysmal 25 points, and if Del Rio's troops suffer another embarrassing loss in Dallas, owner Wayne Weaver could use the team's Week Eight bye to say farewell to the embattled Del Rio.

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