Trouble signs evident for Blake Bortles and mistake-prone Jaguars

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It was an awful day for the Jacksonville Jaguars' offense and quarterback Blake Bortles in a 30-14 loss at Kansas City on Sunday.

A debacle. An embarrassment. A ridiculous humbling at the hands of what statistically was, coming into the game, the NFL’s worst defense.

Here’s what’s even worse: There might not be any immediate answers.

Leonard Fournette’s status is uncertain as he continues to deal with a hamstring injury. Backup running back Corey Grant left the game with a left foot injury, leaving the Jaguars with just two healthy running backs (T.J. Yeldon and Brandon Wilds, who has played in seven NFL games and has 14 career carries).

The Jaguars are on their third left tackle after Josh Wells left the game with a groin injury and did not return. He was replacing starter Cam Robinson, who is out for the year with a knee injury. Josh Walker, who first played tackle in a game in the preseason finale, is now the starter if Wells is out for any length of time.

So now the Jaguars (3-2) are faced with a road trip to Dallas, a home game against Houston and their annual game in London -- against defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia -- with a questionable offense led by a quarterback who hadn’t played this poorly in two years.

Sunday should have been a big day for the offense because the Chiefs' defense was among the worst in the NFL. Coming into the game, Kansas City ranked last in yards allowed per game, 31st in pass defense, 28th in rush defense, and 25th in scoring.

Bortles finished with a career-high 430 passing yards, a touchdown pass and a touchdown run, but the majority of that came after the Chiefs led 20-0. He committed five turnovers, including four interceptions. Two came in the end zone and the other just shy of the goal line, which wiped out potential scoring chances. Another was returned for a touchdown. That came on an attempted screen pass to Yeldon and he threw the ball right into defensive lineman Chris Jones’ hands.

Bortles' other turnover? A fumble one play after Jaguars safety Tashaun Gipson intercepted Patrick Mahomes. That was the first interception by the Jaguars' secondary this season.

Bortles had three interceptions coming into Sunday’s game and never had more than three turnovers in one game until Sunday.

He wasn’t helped by the offensive-line play, particularly right tackle Jermey Parnell, who really struggled against the speed of Chiefs end Dee Ford. Walker struggled after replacing Wells, too, but as the third-team left tackle, that’s expected.

“We had a little bit of bad fortune,” Bortles said. “We have a tipped pick in the end zone. We had a screen get picked. ... Then we had some strip sacks. It is stuff we have to try to eliminate. It is a group effort. We all have to lock in and be better."

Offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett didn’t have a great day, either. Trailing 10-0 midway through the second quarter, the Jaguars faced third-and-goal from the Kansas City 3-yard line. Hackett called a pass play with an empty backfield despite the fact that the Jaguars had gashed the Chiefs' defense on the ground for 51 yards on that drive, and Bortles threw a fade to Donte Moncrief that fell incomplete.

Coach Doug Marrone elected to go for it on fourth down instead of kicking a field goal, and Bortles threw incomplete.

The Jaguars' offense hadn’t looked that bad since 2016, which was the worst season of Bortles’ career.

The last time the Jaguars failed to score in the first half came in Week 8 of that year against Tennessee, a game they lost 36-22. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson was fired after that game.

Hackett took over, and the following week in Kansas City, the Jaguars ran for 205 yards but turned the ball over four times. One of those was a fumble at the goal line by running back Chris Ivory. That was the last time the Jaguars turned the ball over in the red zone -- until Sunday, a span of 28 games.

“It felt a lot like some games we have had in the past,” Bortles said. “Moved the ball. There were some good things done and then there were the turnovers. You can’t turn the ball over. I can’t throw four picks. It is hard to win when you turn the ball over.”

The offense was even worse on Sunday than it was in 2016, and there are few signs it’s going to be much better any time soon.

“Offensively, we did not execute,” Marrone said. “We had a poor showing in the red zone. We had turnovers and the game got out of hand. We have to play better. We have to coach better, play better, and we have to go back and get this team back on track starting with me.”