Chiefs Start Strong End Flat Lose 24-17

At least the fans that were in attendance on Saturday Night were fortunate to see a glimpse of the future. With the offense scoring a touchdown on their first drive of the game and the defense shutting out the Cardinals in the first half, the final score was meaningless.

It was clear from the opening kick-off that the starters for the Kansas City Chiefs were fired up for the home opener. They ran out of the tunnel charged up the field at Arrowhead stadium, invigorated by the cheers of the nearly capacity crowd. It has been a long off-season and training camp, and the players were reminded of how much they love the support they get from the fans.

After the defense shut down the Arizona Cardinals for a three and out on their first possession, the offense quickly reverted to their old form of a year ago. Trent Green took the team on a seven play, 74 yard touchdown drive, capped off by an 8-yard touchdown pass to Samie Parker. The drive was kept alive by a 16 yard grab by Dante Hall and a pass interference penalty by cornerback Dave Macklin.

Up 7-0, the Chiefs defense again responded, allowing just one first down before linebacker Scott Fujita stripped the ball away from Cardinals running back J.R. Redmond. Safety Sammy Knight recovered the fumble and the Chiefs had good field position on the Cardinals 42 yard line. However, the offense could not take advantage however and were forced to punt the ball.

But despite the offense struggling the defense once again rose to the occasion stopping the Cardinals after yielding only one first down. This time the offense moved the ball but had to settle for a Lawrence Tynes 31-yard field goal. On the drive Macklin was once again called for another pass interference penalty trying to cover Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Parker.

Late in the quarter the Cardinals did get deep into Chiefs territory but Arizona kicker Neil Rackers missed a 37-yard field goal as Kansas City headed into the locker room with a ten point shutout.

Despite the score, the defense did have some problems in the first half. Most notably defensive tackle Ryan Sims who was called for a roughing the passer penalty and Safety Greg Wesley who was called for a personal foul well after the play ended. The bright spots were rookie linebacker Kris Griffin who flew all over the field and middle linebacker Kawika Mitchell. But Griffin was equally impressive in both stopping the run and strong in pass coverage as he was smothering Cardinal receivers all night long. With injuries to Kendrell Bell and Keyaron Fox, Griffin has made his case to make this team.

But for all the good the team did in the first half, the second half was anything but impressive on both sides of the ball.

The Cardinals completely dominated the Chiefs in the second half. They scored 17 points in the third quarter as Arizona's reserves outplayed the Chiefs for nearly all 30 minutes of the half. With the score 10-3, Kansas City quarterback Damon Huard served up a gopher ball to cornerback Eric Green who intercepted the errant pass and ran into the end zone untouched from 27 yards out. That tied the score at 10-10.

After Huard threw his second interception of the game, Cardinals back-up quarterback Josh McCown hit wide receiver Charles Lee on a 19-yard touchdown pass. That scoring strike gave the Cardinals a 17-10 lead.

In the fourth quarter, McCown threw his second touchdown pass of the game this time hitting wide receiver Reggie Newhouse on a five yard pass. That put the Cardinals up 24-10.

Kansas City tried to turn their fortunes around by inserting rookie quarterback James Killian. After stalling on a pair of drives and Killian facing a fourth down at midfield, the young Tulsa quarterback hit John Booth on a 58-yard bomb that set up first and goal from the seven yard line. Three plays later Killian hit Booth again this time for a five-yard scoring strike that made the score 24-17.

After the defense held the Cardinals three and out, the offense took the ball back with three minutes left to play. But after moving into the Cardinals territory, Killian threw his first interception of the preseason right into the waiting arms of free safety Ernest Shazor. That sealed the win for the Cardinals as the Chiefs fall to 0-2 in the preseason.

Next up for the Chiefs is a showdown with former AFC West counterpart Seattle Seahawks next Saturday in Kansas City.

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