Jaguars coach Doug Pederson laments missed chances in narrow playoff loss to Chiefs

The Jacksonville Jaguars regretted their missed opportunities after narrowly losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in Saturday’s NFL divisional round.

The Jags have had a remarkable season, flipping their franchise under Doug Pederson after a terrible 3-14 record in 2021, and the future looks bright in Jacksonville with Trevor Lawrence at center.

Regardless, Saturday’s 27-20 loss is unlikely to be any easier to bear, and Lawrence was honest in his assessment of the loss as he spoke to reporters in the dressing room.

Doug Pederson was honest in his post-game assessment after the Jaguars' 27-20 loss

Doug Pederson was honest in his post-game assessment after the Jaguars’ 27-20 loss

Trevor Lawrence insisted this is just the beginning for Jacksonville after their Chiefs' loss

Trevor Lawrence insisted this is just the beginning for Jacksonville after their Chiefs’ loss

“You put so much into it. For six months, devote everything you have to receiving these opportunities. In short, it stings,’ he said.

‘We’ll be coming back. I am convinced of that. This is the beginning rather than the end of something. This is just the beginning for us.”

Still, Jacksonville finds it hard not to wonder what could have been.

Trouble began after Mahomes left early in the second quarter with an ankle injury. One of the best defenses in the league promptly allowed 37-year-old journeyman Chad Henne to lead the Chiefs on a 12-play, 98-yard touchdown drive that put the Jaguars in a 17-7 hole in the closing minutes of the first half .

“It was a turning point in the game,” said Jaguars coach Pederson. “We had them at the 2-yard line and let them off the hook. But these are occasions where we need to get better.”

Quarterback Lawrence was one of the standout players in the NFL during the 2022 season

Quarterback Lawrence was one of the standout players in the NFL during the 2022 season

Then, when Mahomes returned from the second-half locker room, their defense couldn’t put much pressure on the suddenly immobile quarterback.

And with time in the bag to look down, Mahomes shredded Jacksonville on a 75-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter that made it 27-17 with just over 7 minutes left in the game.

After their defense failed, the Jaguars turned to their offense to mount another comeback.

That also let her down.

Lawrence, who responded to four interceptions against the Chargers with four touchdown passes in their 31-30 comeback win, valiantly propelled Jacksonville into downfield in the fourth quarter. But after completing a pass to Jamal Agnew, which injured the Chiefs in special teams, the wide receiver released the ball for a turnover.

The Jaguars’ defense quickly forced a punt, but Lawrence was picked off almost immediately by rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson, whose jumping, one-handed interception came just outside the Jacksonville touchline.

Pederson and Lawrence led the Jags' turnaround after 3 to 14 years

Pederson and Lawrence led the Jags’ turnaround after 3 to 14 years

“We had some protection issues,” said Pederson, “and the guy made a damn good game.”

The Jaguars eventually got a field goal from Riley Patterson with 25 seconds remaining, giving them a chance to attempt an onside kick. But the Chiefs, whose special teams were a mess for most of the season, rushed to finish the game.

Travis Etienne rushed for 62 yards and one point, and the Jaguars averaged more than 7 1/2 yards per carry. But they were unable to keep the drives going, and Lawrence ended up with a touchdown and an interception after just 217 yards.

“I’m really at a loss for words right now. It’s equal parts dejected that we’re done playing and proud of what we’ve done. It’s hard to feel that part right now,” Lawrence said. “The Chiefs did more than we did today. We didn’t end up making quite the games that we’ve been able to make for the past month or two.

It was a disappointing end to what had become a dream run for the Jaguars, who set a Super Bowl-era record by winning eight games as an underdog and plotting the third-biggest playoff comeback in NFL history.

Lawrence speaks to winning quarterback Patrick Mahomes after the game at Arrowhead

Lawrence speaks to winning quarterback Patrick Mahomes after the game at Arrowhead

In doing so, they became the first team to win a playoff game after having the worst record last season.

All of this bodes well for the Jaguars under Pederson — longtime student of fellow Chiefs Andy Reid, who gave Philadelphia a Super Bowl championship but will have to wait to do the same for Jacksonville.

“I’m telling you, I think Doug did a phenomenal job,” Reid said. “Their team is better than when we played them (in November). The sky is the limit for them. you are young They believe in what they are taught and play hard.”

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/nfl/article-11662991/Jaguars-coach-Doug-Pederson-rues-missed-chances-narrow-playoff-defeat-Chiefs.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Jaguars coach Doug Pederson laments missed chances in narrow playoff loss to Chiefs

Maureen Mackey

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