Chris Jones returns with a fury as Chiefs stifle Jaguars in 17-9 win

Travis Kelce catches 4 passes for 26 yards and TD in return from bone bruise

The Kansas City Chiefs didn't have their best stuff on offense Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

It didn't matter. Thanks to a stout defense bolstered by the return of Chris Jones, the Chiefs held on for a 17-9 win to avoid starting the season in an 0-2 hole.

The Chiefs maintained pressure on Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence throughout the game and kept Jacksonville out of the end zone.

The Jaguars had a chance to tie the game on a late drive in the fourth quarter while trailing 17-9. But a sack by Jones and Felix Anudike-Uzomah forced a Lawrence fumble that went out of bounds, setting up a failed fourth-and-12 that resulted in a turnover on downs. Lawrence looked to Calvin Ridley in the back of the end zone on a pass that was ruled incomplete when he landed out of bounds.

The pressure from Jones was the story of the day in his return to the lineup following a holdout through the preseason that extended to Week 1. Jones and the Chiefs agreed to new terms on a one-year deal last week. The four-time All-Pro showed no signs of rust in his return.

Chris Jones and the Chiefs defense stifled the Jaguars on Sunday. (Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
Chris Jones (95) and the Chiefs defense stifled the Jaguars on Sunday. (Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Jones tallied 1.5 sacks, two quarterback hits, a pass deflection and a tackle for loss to lead the Kansas City defensive effort. As a team, the Chiefs sacked Lawrence four times and limited Jacksonville to 271 yards of offense on 4.2 yards per play.

Jones' plays were timely. His first sack arrived on a fourth-and-5 in the second quarter that forced a turnover on downs at midfield.

On a third-and-14 late in the third quarter, Jones got pressure on Lawrence and tipped the ball for an incompletion behind the line of scrimmage, forcing one of five Jaguars punts on the day.

The Chiefs offense, meanwhile, did just enough to hold the lead, then put on the brakes late to run out the clock. Jacksonville had one last chance to get back in the game on defense but a 54-yard connection from Patrick Mahomes to Skyy Moore on a broken third-down play iced the game.

The Kansas City offense was likewise lifted by a high-profile return as All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce made his 2023 debut after missing Week 1 with a bone bruise. Kansas City's second touchdown of the day arrived on a nine-yard pass from Mahomes to Kelce in the second quarter that gave the Chiefs a 14-6 lead.

Kelce finished with four catches for 26 yards and the score. Mahomes completed 29-of-41 passes for 305 yards with two touchdowns and an interception as Kansas City tallied 399 yards of offense. For Jacksonville, Lawrence completed 22-of-41 passes for 216 yards without a score or an interception. Both teams leave the game at 1-1 on the season.

It wasn't all good for the Chiefs. Right tackle Jawaan Taylor, who joined KC in the offseason on a four-year, $80 million contract, was briefly benched in the second half after a slew of penalties. He was tagged for two false starts, an illegal formation and back-to-back holding penalties in the second half that led to head coach Andy Reid pulling him from the game. Taylor returned on the next Kansas City possession, but the struggles so early in his Chiefs tenure are cause for concern.