Kansas City’s first road preseason game of the year ends with a frustrating 28-16 loss to the Carolina Panthers. The loss sends the Chiefs to 1-1 on the preseason.
The game was mired by penalties, missed chances, and a continuation of problems on the offensive line and the secondary. Kansas City was flagged 13 times for 131 yards in the game, and struggled on both offense and defense in the red zone. Those two things more than anything else cost the Chiefs the chance to walk out of Carolina with the win.
The first quarter was pretty promising for the Chiefs. The defense forced three straight three-and-outs and held the Panthers offense to only one total yard in the first quarter. Cam Newton had a hard time getting comfortable in the pocket and was missing his receiver targets in those three drives, ending the quarter 1-of-5 with only five yards passing.
In response to the defense the Chiefs offense moved the ball very effectively even without Jamaal Charles in the lineup. They racked up 99 yards of total offense and moved the ball down the field fairly efficiently. Knile Davis and Dwayne Bowe were each solid contributors and Alex Smith was able to manufacture some plays with his feet. There was a lot to be optimistic about.
But things started piling on. Holding penalties, illegal contact penalties, and pass interference penalties either killed drives for the Chiefs or sustained them for the Panthers. Ron Parker struggled again to cover the deep ball and the pass rush disappeared in the second quarter (though the play calling may have had something to do with that). It became very clear that if the Chiefs cannot get a pass rush with their front seven the defensive secondary is going to struggle.
On offense the line play left a lot to be desired. Rookie Zach Fulton had a lot of difficulties in the screen game, Jeff Allen was run over at least once by a defensive lineman, Donald Stephenson struggled with a few blitzes and had a false start penalty, and Eric Fisher struggled to contain his man on passing downs. It should be noted the Chiefs allowed eight sacks in a second preseason game against the 49ers last season so we probably shouldn’t read into today’s performance too much, but it was not fun watching the offensive line struggle the way they did throughout most of the game.
Some good news does exist for the Chiefs. Travis Kelce caught another long touchdown pass, this one a 43-yarder from Aaron Murray. Certainly Kelce will be seeing more first team snaps as we get closer to the season but for now we’re just going to have to wait and watch him tear up the second string.
Frankie Hammond also had a good night in the second half, catching a 51-yard pass that was nullified by a penalty mostly with his athletic ability and finishing the night with three grabs for 57 yards. One would have to think he is the guy who earns the Dwayne Bowe week one spot at this stage of the preseason.
We have to continue to remember the Chiefs have only played eight of 16 preseason quarters, all of which do not matter in the grand scheme of things. They have yet to gameplan, play a snap with Eric Berry on the field, or let Jamaal Charles do Jamaal Charles things. It would be wise not to get too panicky about things this early in August.
But I do know many of you have some big concerns about the team so have at it. What are some of the things that worry you the most after the Chiefs loss?
Tags: Kansas City Chiefs