Shane Buechele sparks offensive energy for Chiefs in loss to Saints

It was a surprising quarterback who provided the biggest offensive lift on Sunday for KC.

Kansas City Chiefs v New Orleans Saints
Kansas City Chiefs v New Orleans Saints / Chris Graythen/GettyImages

For most of the first half of the preseason-opening loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Kansas City Chiefs looked pathetic offensively. While no one was going to be concerned to any real degree following an abysmal performance overall given the meaninglessness of an exhibition, it was nice to see the Chiefs show some real fire in the game's second half.

Much of the energy showcased after halftime for the Chiefs can be attributed to the series with quarterback Shane Buechele at the helm. Following a first half in which the Chiefs punted twice, turned the ball over on downs, and threw an interception on four of their five drives, Buechele led all Chiefs quarterbacks with 155 yards passing and 2 touchdowns—providing production even as he also made some mistakes.

To hear Buechele talk after the game with reporters, the halftime emphasis was clear. "Coming out of that second half, the message was energy. We needed to have better energy on the sideline and on the field. We were able to put together a couple of drives where we were able to score and it was kinda cool. It's always fun having those guys pumped on the sideline."

It was a surprising quarterback who provided the biggest offensive lift on Sunday for KC.

Buechele's two touchdown passes were fun to watch, and the first provided a meaningful moment for second-year wide receiver Justyn Ross, who has been sidelined with injuries for much of the last several years spanning both his college and pro career. The former Clemson star is now healthy and making waves in training camp and came up with his first touchdown in nearly two years on Sunday.

"Seeing the smile on [Ross's] face after he caught that ball was the best part," said Buechele after the game. "He did a great job of running the route and just executing the play. I was happy for him."

On his second touchdown pass of the day, Buechele put together a tremendous drive and even had Patrick Mahomes jumping up and down on the sideline after pulling off the sort of heroics under center typically reserved for the team's starter (and reigning league MVP).

When talking with reporters after the game, Buechele made it sound far less dramatic than it was. "Just a little scramble drill and the guys did a good job of working for me. Just playing football, man, and I have a good example in front of me where I get to watch him make plays. Kekoa Crawford made a great play on that catch and just playing football."

Buechele will get two more chances to show that he's worthy of consideration for the QB2 role behind Mahomes over Blaine Gabbert before the regular season begins.