Well then…that was impressive. Very impressive. I don’t even think it’s possible to..."/> Well then…that was impressive. Very impressive. I don’t even think it’s possible to..."/>

Chiefs’ Starters Dominate Cards, Win Preseason Opener 27-17


Well then…that was impressive.

Very impressive.

I don’t even think it’s possible to start off the season any better than that.

In the first preseason game of the 2012 season, the Kansas City Chiefs put on a clinic Friday night with a 27-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. The Chiefs’ starters dominated the Cardinals’ first teamers and that’s all that really matters.

The Chiefs got the ball first and went to work. 7 yard out to Dexter McCluster. 9 yard out to McCluster. Jamaal Charles for 5 yards. Peyton Hillis for 5. Charles for 5 again. Hillis for 7. Charles for 2. Cassel to Hillis for an 11 yard…


12 plays, 72 yards in 6:51.

It was exactly what Chiefs fans wanted to see out of the first team offense.

But the starting offense wasn’t done. After a 4 and out forced by the defense, the starting O wanted more. Screen to Charles for 11 yards. Hillis rumbling for 28 yards. Cassel deep left to McCluster for 29 yards. Shaun Draughn for a 4 yard…


4 plays, 72 yards in 1:45.

So we saw two different kinds of touchdown drives from the Chiefs tonight. One was a ball controlling, double digit play drive and the other was a quick strike, big play drive. Two drives, two touchdowns. Couldn’t have asked for anything more from the starting offense.

Matt Cassel was sharp, going 5/6 for 67 yards and a nice blitz read touchdown facing pressure to Hillis. Peyton Hillis looked like the 2010 Hillis running for 41 yards on 4 carries to go along with the 11 yard touchdown reception. And oh how great it was to see Jamaal Charles on the field again. And he looked fine. He looked like the same Jamaal Charles to me. 3 carries for 12 yards and a screen for 11.

And how bout Dexter McCluster? 3 catches for 45 yards out of the slot. The offensive line was very impressive in both the run game and pass protection. They owned the line of scrimmage. As expected, this offensive line is going to be pretty damn good. What’s scary about the offense is that Dwayne Bowe of course didn’t play and Jon BaldwinSteve Breaston, Tony Moeaki or Kevin Boss didn’t have a catch on either drive…

The depth at running back is vastly improved from a year ago. Rookie Cyrus Gray and Shaun Draughn both impressed tonight. Gray had 15 carries for 65 yards (4.3 avg) and a touchdown and Draughn had 12 carries for 26 yards and a touchdown. The Chiefs ran for 166 yards on the night. I didn’t see Moeaki out there at all tonight, but I think they are bringing him along more slowly than Charles and Berry. I don’t think it’s anything to be concerned about as he hasn’t been hurt at all in camp and hasn’t been held out of anything. And I think we found our 3rd string tight end. Former offensive tackle from just a year ago, Steve Maneri. Maneri hauled in 3 catches for 69 yards and looks to finally bump out Jake O’Connell as the 3rd tight end.

Okay so the offense was impressive…what about the defense? Expectations are very high for this defense and the first team D didn’t disappoint to begin the season. After a 4 and out which included a vintage Derrick Johnson 3rd down run stop for -2 yards, the Chiefs forced a 3 and out with a 3rd down sack of John Skelton by second year pass rusher Justin Houston. The Cardinals’ starters began to move the ball a little on their third drive, but the drive ended on a Skelton interception by backup safety Abram Elam. The second team defense continued to play well the remainder of the first half, only allowing a field goal with 32 seconds to go in the half.

It was great to see Eric Berry roaming around again and he too looked just fine. Jalil Brown did a good job in place of Brandon Flowers and Stanford Routt looked solid despite a pass interference call against Larry Fitzgerald on a pass he caught anyway. The run defense looked great and Anthony Toribio at nose tackle looked fantastic. I can see why he’s impressed Crennel and the coaching staff. If he can play like that this season, it will take a lot of pressure off of rookie Dontari Poe who struggled tonight in his first game as a pro. It’s going to take some time for Poe, as it usually does for defensive linemen. 2nd year nose tackle Jerrell Powe had a nice game as well, registering an impressive sack where he split a double team up the middle.

The Chiefs’ 3rd team defense allowed a couple of touchdowns in the second half, but who cares really? The most impressive thing about the Chiefs’ defense all night was the pressure they were getting. The Chiefs had SEVEN sacks on the night. They completely owned the line of scrimmage for the majority of the game. It was impressive.

Overall, it was a great and refreshing performance by the Chiefs tonight. Probably the most impressive preseason performance by the Chiefs since the Vermeil days. Does it mean much? I don’t know. It was against the Cardinals who will probably finish last in the NFC West and will be drafting in the Top 5 in the 2013 NFL Draft. But the Chiefs haven’t looked good in the preseason for so long, so this was nice to see. And honestly, this performance isn’t a surprise. Everyone knows how talented this Chiefs team is. Everyone knows the one glaring weakness on this team is the most important position in sports.

The million dollar question is how far can this team go with Matt Cassel? Is all the talent around him enough to mask his deficiencies? Can the defense and running game be enough when Cassel struggles against great defenses?

Who knows. That’s why they play the games. But what I do know is that the Chiefs started off the season in a positive way for once and escaped without any major injuries.

The Chiefs resume training camp Monday in St.Joseph with the final practice of camp on Thursday before heading to St.Louis for the second preseason game against the Rams Saturday night.