Patrick Mahomes turns 28 today, and it will be the first time he's played a game on his birthday in seven years. If history is any guide, the Jacksonville Jaguars might be in trouble. On his 21st birthday Mahomes threw for a mere 470 yards and five touchdowns while at Texas Tech, according to James Palmer of NFL Media. Couple that with the fact that the Chiefs are coming into Duval bitter and 0-1 and the Jags could be in for a long day. Their only only hope for victory is for the defense to make it a birthday he will never forget.
The Jaguars defense played very well against the Colts and rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, giving up less than 300 yards of total offense and only 14 points in the effort. They were outstanding on third and fourth downs, allowing the Colts to convert on only three of 17 attempts.
The defense also forced three turnovers and sacked Richardson four times. All around it was a convincing performance, but it was also against a rookie Head Coach in Shane Steichen and the aforementioned Richardson. Reid and Mahomes they are not.
The Jaguars must address the elephant in the room to end a losing streak
The Jaguars have lost seven consecutive times to the Chiefs with four of those losses coming against Andy Reid and Mahomes. It seems like everyday is Mahomes' birthday when he plays the Jaguars. In his three regular season wins, Mahomes averaged 340 yds, 2.3 touchdowns, and a 109.9 passer rating. His stats were a little less impressive in the playoff game last year, but remember he was injured and sat out a series.
For the Jaguars to flip the script, their defense must blow out his candles early and often. Unlike the playoff game where the they failed to pressure Mahomes, even when hobbled by the injured ankle, the defense must bring it today. The Jaguars had zero sacks in that game. Nothing is more frustrating than watching Mahomes leisurely surveying the field with a nice clean pocket, and nary a pass rusher in sight.
While the Chiefs do have a top ten-rated offensive line and a mobile quarterback, they also have a banged-up Travis Kelce and a receiving corps that had more balls go through their hands last week than they would've liked. Perhaps unreliable receivers make for a hesitant quarterback. And a hesitant quarterback is a sacked quarterback.
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Leading the sack parade has got to be outside linebacker Josh Allen. He looked like a man possessed last Sunday versus the Colts. He was everywhere on the field and showed the athleticism and power Jaguar brass and fans have been waiting for. Five years is a long time to finally breakout, but Allen must pick up where he left off this week if the Jaguars hope to compete with the Chiefs.
Adam Gotsis is another player who needs to have a nice day. He'll be lining up against former Jaguar Jawaan Taylor, who was under much scrutiny during the week for his perceived false starts Sunday night that went unnoticed by the officiating crew. It will be curious to see if Gotsis can get in Taylor's head given the increased attention he might be getting from the referees.
The Jaguar defense has got to make the birthday boy uncomfortable all day. They can ill-afford to sit back and play that soft zone that let Kelce and company slice them up like a delicious butter cream birthday cake from Publix last year.
Instead they should shower him with gifts all afternoon. How many gifts will do the trick? How about a sack full!