On Saturday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs delivered a decisive 23-7 victory over the Chicago Bears. The Chiefs dominated the Bears on both sides of the ball in earning their first exhibition win of the summer. Head Coach, Andy Reid, likely won’t call the game a thing of beauty, but KC’s offense in particular, was efficient and put points on the board.
Quarterback, Alex Smith, had a solid day completing 20 of 30 passes. That figure should have been higher, had Tyreek Hill and Aaron Wilson dropped a few easy passes. Still Smith did throw for 180 yards and led the team in rushing with 25 yards.
It was clear against the Bears that Reid wanted to push his agenda in the passing game. However, in two of three key situations near the goal line, he put the ball in the hands of his running backs, and they rewarded him with a pair of short touchdown runs. The one time he chose the passing route, KC’s drive stalled at the 2-yard line.
On defense, Kansas City learned it has some young defenders who might be ready for significant playing time this season. Defensive Tackle, Chris Jones and Linebacker Dadi Nicolas, continue to shine defensively. When they were on the field together, both displayed a maturity and awareness on the field, that former first round pick, Dee Ford and other defenders with more experience than KC’s young 2016 draft picks, have failed to deliver since camp opened in July.
The play of Nicolas is a surprise, and granted he’s not playing against elite NFL tackles, he has skills that are worth noting as Kansas City decides what to do with Ford. However, there is no surprise with Jones. The man who fell into the Chiefs lap in the second round, was a man among boys against the Bears. He split double teams, put pressure on the quarterback, and brings an energy on the field that’s contagious.
Overall, the Kansas City Chiefs coaching staff has to be pleased with the win. The third pre-season game has always been the foundation for the first game of the regular season. Still Reid, has some work to do, especially with his offensive line.
The first unit was adequate at best. Granted Center, Mitch Morse, was out with an illness, but this team has zero depth at the offensive line position. Zach Fulton, didn’t play well filling in for Morse, and in the second half, the roster bubble might have broken for a few offensive lineman hoping to latch onto a roster spot with the Chiefs.
Overall, one can’t deny this was a big win for the Chiefs, and with roster cuts looming Tuesday, they certainly learned some things about their football team against the Bears.
So who else stood out for Kansas City on Saturday?
WR Tyreek Hill – The speedster had a rough start dropping a pass in the first half. However, in the second half he played like a warrior. After a penalty negated, a solid 17-yard catch and run from back-up Quarterback, Nick Foles, he came back on the next play to grab a 58-yard bomb from his quarterback. The small, but mighty receiver, came back for the ball, screened the defender and adjusted his body to make the catch.
WR Frankie Hammond – I’m not sure what the Chiefs will do with Hammond. He’s their best gunner on special teams but he’s also a solid pass catcher. He snagged three passes for 50 yards against the Bears and has certainly made things interesting for the coaching staff. Still, I’m curious as to why Hammond, and not veteran Rod Streater, has received more reps the last two weeks.
QB Aaron Murray – This was the best pre-season game since last year. Granted he overthrew rookie wide receiver, Marcus Robinson, that fell into the hands of Bears defender, Murray still played a solid game for the Chiefs. I know how Reid feels about rookie Kevin Hogan, the same goes for Murray, so has a decision to keep four quarterbacks or three, remains a big question mark when final cuts are due one week from today.
DT Dontari Poe – With the emergence of Chris Jones, it’s imperative Poe steps up his game. He looked much better on Saturday against the Bears earning a sack. However, he was not as dominating as Jones and that should be of concern to Defensive Coordinator, Bob Sutton. Poe is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and the money train he hopes to earn on his second contract, might boil down to playing as well or better than Jones in 2016.
LB Derrick Johnson – The old man of KC’s defense whiffed on his first chance to thwart the Bears offense. However, he came to life after that making a trio of tackles and recording a sack against Bears Quarterback, Jay Cutler. DJ is still the heart and soul of the Chiefs defense. He’s certainly long in the tooth but he’s also dedicated to his craft. But is it that enough to record 100 tackles this season? That remains to be seen.
K Cairo Santos – KC’s place kicker has been nothing short of brilliant in the pre-season. Against the Bears he scored another FG Hat Trick that should make him the Chiefs offensive MVP of the pre-season. Santos came out of nowhere a couple of years ago but General Manager, John Dorsey, saw something special in this young kicker, and he’s paid huge dividends. So much so, Santos could be in line for a Pro Bowl spot at seasons end.