© Douglas DeFelice | 2019 Sep 8
The Kansas City Chiefs knocked Super Bowl LII MVP and Jaguars new $50 million man Nick Foles out of his debut in the first quarter with a broken left clavicle that will require surgery and embarrassed Jacksonville’s vaunted ‘D’ Sunday en route to a 40-26 season-opening road win.
Foles was hurt uncorking a rainbow 35-yard score to second-year WR DJ Chark early in the first half when he was slammed to the ground by former teammate Chris Jones after Jones met new teammate Frank Clark at the quarterback. Sixth-round rookie Gardner Minshew impressed in relief of Foles — who’ll undergo surgery Monday and be out indefinitely — but could hardly keep pace with reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and WR Sammy Watkins.
The Chiefs did lose All-Pro Tyreek Hill, who went to the hospital with a scary shoulder injury, three days after signing a three-year, $54 million extension following his disturbing offseason in which he was suspended by the team while under investigation for alleged child abuse.
Mahomes, who briefly spent time in the medical tent himself before halftime with what appeared to be a left foot/ankle injury, picked up right where he left off in one of the great quarterbacking seasons ever in 2018. He found Watkins on all three of his touchdowns — beginning with a 68-yard catch-and-run on his first third-down pass attempt, before a 49-yard bomb and a short slant in the fourth quarter — completing more than 75 percent of his 33 throws for 378 yards and a 143.2 rating —as Kansas City eclipsed its league leading scoring and yardage averages from a year ago.
Perhaps the only good news for the home team in Jacksonville Sunday was that the injury occurred to Foles’ non-throwing shoulder, and though it’s obviously a massive drop-off in experience from the Jaguars’ prize free-agent acquisition to Minshew, the Washington State product acquitted himself well after beating out fellow green signal callers Tanner Lee and Alex McCough with a strong preseason to earn the backup job.
Minshew completed 22-of-25 passes for 275 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. He showed command and composure, something Jacksonville paid dearly for in Foles to officially end the Blake Bortles experiment. It’s only one game, but it appeared to show Jacksonville may suddenly have two competent quarterbacks, if not one QB controversy somewhere down the road.
But the Jaguars also saw one of the leaders of their talented ‘D,’ Myles Jack, ejected early after throwing a punch at Chiefs WR Demarcus Robinson. One of the reasons the Jaguars nosedived from AFC title game participants two seasons ago to the AFC South basement last season was a lack of discipline and maturity from their star players. So Jack’s ejection, on the heels of his own massive extension signed last week, and amid his unit’s poor performance, was certainly a bad look and disappointing early development for a team seeking a fresh start.
Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy, in his Chiefs debut, split the carries in the backfield, with McCoy eclipsing 60 rushing yards for the first time in more than a calendar year, while Williams managed only 10-14 rushing but scored his first touchdown.