Reid and his coaching staff should be more worried about their squad getting flagged for 13 penalties for 131 yards, many of which either killed drives for the Chiefs or practically handed Carolina scores. Worst of all, the Chiefs first-string players were flagged just as often as the fifth-string cornerback that will be out of football in two weeks.
Even for a preseason game, that’s far too many penalties to accept for a team expected to compete for the playoffs in 2014.
The Chiefs offense looked smooth at times despite the absence of Jamaal Charles, who stayed behind in Kansas City nursing a bruised heel. However, despite moving the football fluidly between the 20-yard lines, for the second straight week, the #1 offense failed to score a touchdown and could only manage to put six points up on the scoreboard before halftime.
How bad was it? Let’s just say that the Kansas City Royals offense outscored the Chiefs starting offense 12-6 on Sunday.
As far as individual stats go, there were some good performances, some so-so performances, and some that were so frustratingly bad that they might have caused Chiefs fans to throw something heavy against a wall. Like their heads.
On the plus side, all three of the Chiefs quarterbacks that played had their moments, particularly Alex Smith, who played well despite going against the Panthers starting defense, the NFL’s best at pressuring the quarterback. Smith was smart enough to look Dwayne Bowe’s way early and often for some of the night’s best plays.
Bowe caught five passes for 62 yards in two quarters of work. There were times in 2013 that would have been two or three games worth of production for the big receiver who will miss the season opening game against Tennessee due to a league suspension.
Tight end Travis Kelce scored another long touchdown – his second in consecutive weeks – when he corralled rookie Aaron Murray’s first NFL pass in for a 43-yard touchdown. Last week against Cincinnati, Kelce ran the same route and scored a 69-yard touchdown pass from Chase Daniel.
Defensively, the Chiefs starting unit began the game like a house afire, holding Carolina and quarterback Cam Newton to one total yard of offense and no first downs in their first three offensive series.
Unfortunately in the second quarter, Newton shook off the rust of having not participated in any football all spring and summer while he recuperated from ankle surgery. Newton learned what every quarterback the Chiefs play all year will see on film: when cornerback Ron Parker is on the field, throw it to whomever he is covering and all will be well. Even a cheerleader can probably get by him at this point.
Parker was flagged for a 32-yard pass interference penalty that gave Carolina the ball on the Chiefs 6-yard line and two plays later, Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart ran up the middle for a 2-yard touchdown, his first of two touchdowns scored in the second quarter.
The subs for both teams all came in for the second half of play and other than Murray’s touchdown pass to Kelce, nothing happened for the Chiefs that would make a fan say, “Wow!” and watch re-runs of the play online.
Luckily, the Chiefs have a week to get the penalty situation worked out (roster cuts will help some) and they can get ready for next Saturday’s game at Arrowhead against the Minnesota Vikings and their quarterback … some dude named Matt Cassel.
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