Chiefs Show Improvement against Seahawks

In their third preseason game Saturday night, the Chiefs offense looked like, well, the Chiefs offense. On their first drive of the game, the Chiefs sliced and diced the Seahawks, giving Jets Defensive Coordinator Donnie Henderson something to think about as opening day approaches.

The Chiefs' first drive showcased some familiar faces. The scoring march led off with Trent Green hitting Eddie Kennison for 12 yards. After a three-yard run up the middle by Priest Holmes, Green hit Kennison again, this time for 22 yards. Using the old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," Green and Kennison hooked up again for a 23-yard gain. After a short run by fullback Tony Richardson, Green hit backup tight end Kris Wilson for 15 yards, setting up a first and goal. For one of the few times ever, Priest Holmes actually lost yards on a carry inside the five-yard-line, but the Chiefs made up for it on the next play when Green connected with Tony Gonzalez for a four-yard touchdown pass. The entire drive covered 80 yards in eight plays and only took 3:46. It truly was a thing of beauty.

Green stated after the game that Kennison catching three passes for 57 yards on the opening drive wasn't a fluke. "I wanted to get Eddie involved," Green said. "That was a plan of mine coming in because last week we had such an emphasis on Samie. It was great to see him come alive and come up with some great catches. We couldn't have orchestrated that first drive any better. Getting that first unit back together and getting the timing down was the way it was supposed to be." Kennison ended the game with four receptions for 66 yards, so Green and the Chiefs accomplished what they set out to do by getting Eddie involved in the offense.

Green went 5-5 on the opening drive for 76 yards and the touchdown pass to Gonzalez, but he would only stay in for one more drive. The Chiefs took Green out as a precautionary measure – he had some numbness in his calf – but also to get a good look at newly acquired Jonathan Quinn. Green explained after the game, "With the quarterback situation like it is right now, we don't know what it's going to be from a backup standpoint, so we need to give Jonathan as much work as we can. That involves getting work with the ones. Initially the game plan was for me to play two-and-a-half quarters, and then as we saw how things were unfolding during the week we backed off to one-and-a-half quarters. Then we scored on the first drive and were moving the ball and the one bad play. So, we said, ‘you know what? Everything's moving pretty good. Why take any chances?" Quinn finished the game 11-23 for 126 yards, and he was sacked twice. Not exactly a performance that will make Vermeil sleep better at night.

While the first drive was a thing of beauty, Larry Johnson had some more excitement prepared for Chiefs' fans. Johnson, obviously annoyed that it took the Chiefs so long to score on their opening drive, took matters into his own hands by rambling 97 yards in 12 seconds for the Chiefs' second touchdown of the game. "It was basically really great blocking," Johnson said. "If you go through and nobody even touches you that's called great blocking. Then I had to give myself enough energy to get from point A to point B. It felt good to go out there like that and get a long run and not even get touched. But if the offensive line doesn't get the initial guys, you aren't going to make it." Johnson had a big game against the Seahawks, running over their defense for 147 yards on only nine carries. Johnson is looking more and more like one of the best backs in the NFL, and he is the backup in Kansas City. That is a nice problem the Chiefs have on their hands.

The Chiefs defense played very well against the run. The KC stop-unit held Shaun Alexander to only seven yards on nine carries. As a team, the Seahawks ran for a paltry 69 yards the entire game. The defensive front was active and met Seahawk ball carriers behind the line of scrimmage numerous times during the game.

The pass defense did not fair as well. Matt Hasselbeck scorched the Chiefs' secondary, connecting on 22 of 33 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns. Darrell Jackson gave All-Pro corner Patrick Surtain fits all night long. Jackson finished the game with seven receptions for 99 yards, including a 36-yard score against Surtain. After the game, the corner commented on his play by telling the media, "It was just one of those nights. We have a lot of things to improve on, but we did a lot of things pretty good tonight."

Surtain's comments sum up the Chiefs' third preseason game. Despite losing to the Seahawks 23-17 and dropping their preseason record to 0-3, the Chiefs did a lot of good things Saturday night that should help propel the team into the regular season. Coach Vermeil was happy with how his first-team units performed Saturday night. "I'm more impressed with our run defense," Vermeil said. "Our run defense has played very well. And, I am pleased with our running attack, too, and, of course, the 97-yard run was blocked cleanly. Once he got out in the open field, they couldn't catch him."

The Chiefs wrap up their preseason schedule this Saturday night against the St. Louis Rams.

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