KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Even as they were piling up points at an NFL-leading rate, it was natural to wonder whether the Kansas City Chiefs were legitimate Super Bowl contenders because of a defense that allowed points almost as fast.
The Chiefs might have answered the question on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Arrowhead Stadium. If the 5-0 Chiefs continue to play on defense the way they did against the Jaguars, anything seems possible.
“The sky’s the limit if we play all phases of the game like that," tight end Travis Kelce said after the Chiefs beat Jacksonville 30-14 more because of what they did without the ball than any muscle they showed with it. “It’s a special thing when you get a whole group of guys that come together for one goal. It’s special and sure as [heck] fun."
The Chiefs forced Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles into five turnovers, four interceptions and a fumble. They also sacked him five times.
The Jaguars finished with 502 yards, but 212 came in the fourth quarter, when a victory was out of their reach. They didn’t score until late in the third quarter and their final touchdown came when the Chiefs held a safe advantage.
“The effort was great," said lineman Chris Jones, who scored a 20-yard touchdown after intercepting a screen pass and making some nifty moves on his way to the end zone.
He was also one of two defensive players who were ejected from the game. He took a swing at a Jacksonville player after a point-after touchdown try. Linebacker Dee Ford was tossed for accumulating two penalties, one for unsportsmanlike conduct and the other for taunting.
“The intensity was great. We got a little chirpy. We’ve got to hold our aggression in. But the intensity and the effort and the toughness that the defense played with, I’m just proud of my guys," Jones added. "It‘s all about getting better every week. We can’t [live[ off this game. We can enjoy it, but we’ve got to get better."
The Chiefs weren’t as dominant offensively as they had been in the season’s first four games. Patrick Mahomes failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time this season. He also threw his first two interceptions of the season.
But it didn’t matter. The Chiefs didn’t have to score on almost every possession to either stay in the lead, as in the season’s first three games, or come from behind, as they had to do in last week’s victory over the Denver Broncos.
“They really stepped up," Mahomes said of the defense. “They played really well. It was a lot of confidence-building that the defense can step up like that and win games. It shows that we can win with every phase.
“It shows what kind of team we are. We can win games with everybody on this team. It’s not just the offense, not just the defense, not just the special teams. We believe that."