Jaguars fail in playoffs against Chiefs but look to the

Jaguars fail in playoffs against Chiefs but look to the future with optimism

Jaguars fail in playoffs against Chiefs but look to theplay

WATCH: Jaguars TE Evan Engram emotional after playoff loss to Chiefs: ‘I love working here’

Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram opens up about the emotional end to Jacksonville’s first season following the playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Florida Times Union

KANSAS CITY, MO – A magical run that was only briefly cut.

The Jacksonville Jaguars (10-9) suffered heartbreak as they ended their season after losing 27-20 to the Kansas City Chiefs (15-3) in Saturday’s AFC divisional round of the playoffs.

Far too many mistakes were made in the contest, and Jacksonville turned the ball around in the fourth quarter with two straight possessions with the game still within reach at 27-17.

After six straight wins to advance to the second round of the playoffs, Jacksonville appeared to be in fine form but narrowly fell short.

More Jaguar Coverage:

NFL Draft:The Jaguars will pick 24th overall in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft

Snack:Jaguars make costly mistakes in divisional round loss to Chiefs 27-20 Here are our takeaways.

Rocking Chair to End Zone:“Playoff Chad” Henne scores for Patrick Mahomes with a 98-yard drive

In a dismal locker room, the Jaguars were disappointed with the result, especially after a tough battle for the position they had put themselves in.

“We’re all hurting because of the loss, but we’re all hurting because it’s the last game of the year. That’s the hard part,” Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said after Saturday’s game.

Jacksonville never had a lead throughout the contest, giving up an early touchdown before catching up the rest of the game.

Still, Jacksonville almost made another comeback after coming within three points in a four-year touchdown run with running back Travis Etienne early in the fourth quarter.

In the end, it was impossible to get past Mahomes, who completed 22 of 30 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Handing 14 receptions, 98 yards and two touchdowns to tight end Travis Kelce throughout the game made the task even more daunting.

Jaguar linebacker Foye Oluokun said after the game the team must be “matchier” with Kelce or attack him as soon as he catches the football.

“We can’t catch him and let him run. Maybe we’ve learned a little bit about how to face them in big games and what their game plan will be like. Maybe they bring a little bit more man towards them, stay with them or in zones, maybe they really fit together there if they hit the sticks,” he explained.

Jacksonville’s offense accumulated four scoring drives, including two touchdowns and two field goals.

Lawrence completed 24 of 39 passes for 217 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The team rushed for 144 yards on 19 carries, including 10 rushes for 62 yards and a touchdown for running back Travis Etienne.

“Some of the same ugly mistakes that showed up in that game were the things that showed up early in the season,” Pederson said of the team’s one-point loss.

“Those are the things we need to eliminate. Those are the things we need to get away from to win against big football teams like the Chiefs.”

Late in the fourth quarter, as Jacksonville attempted to land another miraculous comeback, Lawrence was picked off by Chiefs cornerback Jaylen Watson.

Still, Lawrence and the Jaguars put themselves within field goal range to cut the Chiefs’ 27-20 lead to seven. Eventually, however, they ran out of time.

“He’s learning how to get past those plays,” Pederson said of Lawrence. “Again we had some protection issues and tried to get a quick ball to Zay (Jones) and the guy made a damn good play. We had him but the guy intercepted great there. However, he was able to shake it off and come back from it.”

“We’ll be back”: Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars confident in the team’s progress this season

Though the Jaguars couldn’t advance past the divisional round, the team understands their progress this season hasn’t been in vain.

“Nobody expected us, the Jaguars, to be in this football game. From the start of the season to today,” said Pederson.

The Jaguars rose 3-14 last year from the league’s worst team to the AFC South champions, who advanced to the second round of the playoffs as one of four teams remaining in the AFC for a shot at the Super Bowl advanced.

The team rebounded from a 27-0 deficit against the Los Angeles Chargers in last week’s wild card round and eventually pulled off the third-best comeback in NFL playoff history.

Although the team performed below expectations, the team’s vital signs remain.

“I told them that we will learn from it and grow from it. Our expectation is to be in these games every year. This is our expectation. It’s been a good first year for all of us,” Pederson shared.

Ultimately, the Jaguars expect to be back. What they have achieved was no accident for the team and they will try to build on that momentum to move forward.

For Lawrence, while it’s hard to talk about it right after a game, he said it was “special” what the team was able to achieve that year.

“Nobody thought we should be here and we just believed in it. It was really cool to be a part of, it was special,” Lawrence said.

“That’s just the beginning. This year, of course, has been tremendous for this organization, for our city, and for the advancement of our franchise. It sets the bar for who we will be and what we will do.”

The Jaguars will look to return to the playoffs next year with added firepower via the NFL draft, free agency and the return of WR Calvin Ridley, who the Jaguars traded to earlier this season but was suspended for the year for gambling .

They’ll be tasked with taking on the quarterback juggernaut within the AFC, including a likely rematch with Mahomes and Herbert or contests against the Bengals and Joe Burrow and the Buffalo Bills and Josh Allen — both of whom also made it to the second round the playoffs.

Lawrence is certain that the team will be successful again: “It won’t be the last time you hear from us, we’ll be back.”

Demetrius Harvey is the Jacksonville Jaguars reporter for the Florida Times-Union. You can follow him on Twitter at @Demetrius82.