(AP) Chiefs score early, dominate Jaguars in 28-2 win
By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer
The Andy Reid era opened with a resounding victory. Gus Bradley’s tenure started with a lopsided loss.
It was about what everyone expected from two teams that finished 2-14 last season.
Alex Smith threw two early touchdown passes, Kansas City’s defense dominated all day and the Chiefs handled the Jacksonville Jaguars 28-2 on Sunday.
Jamaal Charles ran for 77 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game with a quadriceps injury, but that was about the only negative for the Chiefs.
Jacksonville advanced past its own 36-yard line just once, a stunning display of offensive futility for the rebuilding franchise. The Jaguars finished with 178 yards, but for most of the game, challenged the team low of 117 yards set last year against Houston.
It wasn’t even close to the start Bradley wanted, but it was a clear indication of how far the team has to go.
The most telling sign for Jacksonville: Bryan Anger set a franchise record with 11 punts.
Gabbert completed 16 of 35 passes for 121 yards and two interceptions, including one that Tamba Hali returned for a touchdown and a 28-2 lead in the fourth quarter. Gabbert ran off the field in the closing minutes of the game, and team trainers looked at his injured thumb.
Chad Henne replaced him and led the Jaguars to the 3-yard line, but they failed to score.
Maurice Jones-Drew, playing his first real game since injuring his left foot last October, ran 15 times for 45 yards.
The Chiefs sacked Gabbert six times. Kansas City ranked near the bottom of the league with 27 sacks last season, but controlled both lines of scrimmage from the start.
Many outsiders had the Chiefs pegged as a team that could make a significant turnaround under Reid. Not only did they return four Pro Bowlers on defense, but the offense was supposed to be improved with Reid calling plays and Smith executing them.
Against Jacksonville, things were mostly smooth.
The big question now focuses on Charles’ health.
Charles injured his quad in the third quarter when he got sandwiched on a tackle between Jaguars linebackers Geno Hayes and Paul Posluszny. Team trainers looked at Charles on the sideline, and then the running back got on a stationary bike for a few minutes before jogging into the locker room for further observation.
He returned for two carries and then left the game for good in the fourth.
His 2-yard TD run in the second put the Chiefs ahead 21-2.
That was plenty of cushion against the futile Jaguars.
Smith’s two TD passes came on short fields. He had a 5-yarder to Donnie Avery, a play that followed a 36-yard punt return by Dexter McCluster. Smith added a 3-yarder to Junior Hemingway, which came two plays after Brandon Flowers intercepted Gabbert’s badly underthrown deep pass. Flowers returned it 32 yards to give the Chiefs great field position.