The 2017 Kansas City Chiefs season kicked off Friday night at Arrowhead to mixed reviews. The first team offense started off with a bang as Alex Smith hit Tyreek Hill for 32 yards on the opening play from scrimmage. With the ball just across midfield at that point, the Chiefs moved the ball with ease before facing a 3rd and 6 from the 49er 11. Alex Smith would then swing a short pass out to Spencer Ware who put an absolutely ankle-breaking juke on the 49er defender to set up 1st and goal from the 2. The very next play Ware would take it into the endzone and put the Chiefs on top 7-0 and end the night for the first team offense. That was an exciting and pleasant start to the game, but the final score would end up being 27-17 San Francisco, which isn’t pleasant to say the least. Now, the wins and losses don’t mean anything in the preseason, but when you get out to a good start, and lead 17-9 entering the 4th quarter, seeing that final score is still concerning and disheartening. As usual, I have my takeaways from the game, both positive and negative. We’ll start with the positive however:
- Patrick Mahomes had a very good debut for the Chiefs. The rookie 1st round pick came in at the end of the 2nd Quarter and played the entirety of the 3rd. Finished with a line of 7/9 49 yards and a TD. He also had a 50+ yard completion called back due to a holding penalty. Mahomes showed poise, and a propensity to make things happen. His touchdown pass was a perfect example. Roll out of the pocket, fire back across your body and find a receiver for a score. Sure, he’s a work in progress and won’t win the starting job this year, but it is exciting to see the flashes of brilliance that lead to the Chiefs trading so much to go up and get him this year.
- Rakeem Nunez-Roches had a great game as well. He added 25 lbs in the offseason, but it seems to have all been good weight as he looked much more stout at the point of attack and still seemed to have the same quickness he’s always had. He was a 6th round pick for the Chiefs back in 2015 and has really come a long way in his development. Very exciting player.
- Marcus Kemp also had a good game. He’s an undrafted rookie out of Hawaii who’s had a pretty impressive camp, and has developed a good rapport with Mahomes. He was the recipient of Mahomes’ touchdown throw in the 3rd quarter, and also had a couple other good grabs. He also had a fumble in the game, but overall he was very solid.
On the negative side of things
- Defense still has too much bend to it. The Chiefs defense was very “bend don’t break” last season, and it ultimately ended up being a downfall of theirs. The Chiefs became the first team in NFL History to lose a playoff game in which they scored multiple TDs and gave up none to their opponents. This was because they gave up way too many field goals. Friday night, the Chiefs let the 49ers move the ball with relative ease between the 20s, and then stuffed them when they got to the red zone. It’s good that they’re holding their opponents to 3 instead of 7, however, the 3 needs to be 0 sometimes and the Defense needs to step its game up this season to make the Chiefs ultimately successful.
- The offensive line play was very suspect. The first team did ok, they protected Alex well for the most part and didn’t give up anything too egregious. The problems came with the 2nd and 3rd units, especially Jah Reid. Reid has had a terrible camp already, and he gave up 2 sacks in the game to the 49ers. One of the sacks could have knocked Mahomes out of the game as it was a true wiff and the defender blindsided Mahomes with a hard hit. The line did a great job of protecting Smith last year with the starting 5, but they were weak in run blocking and were very thin depth wise. That doesn’t appear to have changed yet this year, and I’m going to want to see more from them going forward.
At the end of the day, it’s only one preseason game. Nothing to get overly hyped up or down about yet. As the preseason moves along however, and in these last few days of Training Camp, I’m going to be looking for more from the defense as well as the Offensive Line. The next Chiefs game will be Saturday evening in the Queen City of Cincinnati, OH as the Chiefs travel to take on the Bengals. Pregame 5:00 PM, Kickoff at 6, right here on Topeka’s Rock Leader V100!
As always, GO CHIEFS!!!