The Chiefs defeated the Packers in the season’s third and final preseason game on Thursday night. The starters played sparingly, if at all, and the team came away with a 17-10 victory.
That’s officially a wrap on the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2022 preseason. The team defeated the Green Bay Packers by a score of 17-10 on Thursday night. It wasn’t a true showcase of the upcoming Chiefs season as most of the starters sat this one out. The backups and bubble players got their final chance to make the team’s roster in this one. Other players, such as Isiah Pacheco and Jody Fortson, looked to move their way up the depth chart with their roster spots fairly secure. Here’s a recap of the preseason finale:
The Chiefs Honor A Franchise Legend To Open Game Three
The starters didn’t take the field much in Thursday’s game for the Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes didn’t take a single snap on offense in this one, but that didn’t stop Mahomes from making his mark in his own way. He honored the late, great Len Dawson in plenty of ways against the Packers. The entire Chiefs roster was seen wearing number 16 decals on the back of their helmets in honor of Dawson. The Chiefs will likely make the decals a permanent piece of their 2022 campaign.
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs honor the late Len Dawson on their first play of the game 🙏 (via @NFL)pic.twitter.com/BC0LyUZJyv — B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) August 26, 2022
Beyond the decals, Patrick Mahomes was seen wearing a Len Dawson hoodie in pre-game warmups. He also had his trademark headband that showed Dawson’s number 16 in place of the usual number 15. In a touching moment, the Chiefs starting offense took the field with Mahomes and took to the huddle to honor Dawson. The offense huddled up in the famed “choir huddle” before being flagged for delay of game. The penalty was declined.
With Chiefs Starters On The Sideline, Buechele Shines
Chad Henne opened up the game for the Chiefs on offense. He led the team to three points in their second offensive drive after a punt in the opening offensive possession. After Henne left the game, along with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Mecole Hardman, the offense belonged to Shane Buechele. Not only did he own the offense — he ran away with it.
Buechele finished his day with a masterful 135.9 passer rating. He completed 11 of 17 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns with zero interceptions. He didn’t just dink and dunk and scramble with the football. Instead, he aired the ball out and showed an impressive progression over this preseason. The backup job certainly looks like Henne’s to lose but Buechele may have earned himself a roster spot somewhere, even if it isn’t in Kansas City.
If the Chiefs hope to pass their young quarterback onto the practice squad again after this year’s preseason, they may be sorely disappointed. He outplayed Packers’ backup Jordan Love in this game and will almost certainly be looked at by opposing NFL scouts as an upside backup quarterback option this season.
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Chiefs Defense Struggles Early But Puts Things Together Late
The second quarter started with the Chiefs up 3-0. Just before the end of the first, the Packers had been driving. Jordan Love hit running back Tyler Goodson on a short pass that went for 13 yards. That chunk play was followed up by a seven-yard pass and then another 13-yard pass, this time to Packers’ rookie Romeo Doubs. The Chiefs’ defense struggled with the starters off the field, especially over the middle and in the run game.
Tyler Goodson is having quite the preseason in Green Bay. pic.twitter.com/RbebSfCf4X — John Steppe (@JSteppe1) August 26, 2022
The Chiefs offense looked to answer the Packers’ scoring drive with a seven-play, 90-yard drive of their own. Ronald Jones was very active early, including two rushes and one reception on this drive alone. After some short yardage plays, the passing game opened up for Kansas City. Buechele found Daurice Fountain for seven yards and Jody Fortson for 14. Then, Buechele hit Matt Bushman for a deep touchdown for 54 yards to put the Chiefs in the endzone for the first time on the day. It would mark the first of two touchdown connections between the two on the day.
Matt Bushman is wide open for a 54-yard @Chiefs TD!@mbush89 | #ChiefsKingdom 📺: #GBvsKC on @NFLNetwork (check local listings) 📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/Pm9muq0s0j pic.twitter.com/Lk8RvO2AlN — NFL (@NFL) August 26, 2022
Following the 54-yard touchdown reception by Bushman, the Packers answered with another long drive. They ran 13 plays and gained 75 yards against Steve Spagnuolo’s patented “bend-don’t-break” defense. The chunk plays, however, were clear once again. Love completed multiple big gains including passes of 19, 15, 11, and 23 yards on the drive.
New Chiefs Jermaine Carter and Joshua Williams struggled on the defense and it showed. Carter seemed slow to the ball and struggled to make tackles. Williams, who enters the league still just 22 years old and raw but talented, seemed to lose leverage on the inside. He struggled in press coverage, allowed receivers to beat him to the inside of the field, and at one point committed a running into the kicker penalty on a Packers field goal attempt. Long-term concerns about Williams would be unwise but he certainly didn’t look great in this one.
Chiefs safety Bryan Cook is in position for the pick! @AyoCook_6 #ChiefsKingdom 📺: #GBvsKC on @NFLNetwork (check local listings) 📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/Pm9muq0s0j pic.twitter.com/dlTfU0YpRS — NFL (@NFL) August 26, 2022
Bryan Cook closed out the second half with a timely interception of Jordan Love. The Packers were driving into Kansas City territory with two timeouts and 40 seconds to play. Cook quickly put an end to the Green Bay hopes of scoring.
After Two Rough Preseason Games, Chiefs Running Game Arrives
Entering the second half, one thing became increasingly clear for the Kansas City Chiefs. The concerns around the team’s running game through the first two preseason games don’t need to carry into the regular season. Both Ronald Jones and Isiah Pacheco made their mark against the Packers. Jones, who seemed like a cut candidate after the team’s first two preseason games, finally arrived in this game.
He finished his day with eight carries for 43 yards. He also added one catch for four yards early in the game. Alongside Jones, the rookie phenomenon, Isiah Pacheco, had his greatest game of the preseason. He finished his day as the Chiefs’ leading rusher with 52 rushing yards on ten attempts. Both running backs finished their day with over five yards per attempt on the ground.
Great 13-yard run by #Chiefs rookie RB Isiah Pacheco. Shows patience and vision to find the right holes. #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/qtq98c3Of7 — Devon Clements (@DevclemNFL) August 26, 2022
In total, the offense ran the ball 27 times and passed it 25 times. The focus on the running game was clear for the Chiefs’ offense and it paid off with better results on the ground. Kansas City released Derrick Gore with an injury settlement earlier in the day on Thursday. That release could give Ronald Jones an outside chance at making the team’s initial 53-man roster.
Even with his solid performance against the Packers, it seems as if the final running back roster spots could be a toss-up. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has cemented himself as the team’s starting running back, at least for the start of the 2022 season. Behind him, Isiah Pacheco seems secure on the roster. What remains to be seen is his role moving forward. Have Jerick McKinnon or Ronald Jones done enough in the preseason to solidify themselves as the team’s second running back? Both could be second on the depth chart thanks to their experience. However, both could also be cut candidates ahead of the NFL’s August 30 deadline. The range of outcomes is very wide for these running backs.
More Chiefs Players On The Bubble That Impacted Game Three
On defense and in special teams, a few other players on the roster bubble made their mark for the Chiefs. Nazeeh Johnson and Chris Lammons look to be in a heated battle for the team’s final cornerback spot. Both played well enough in this one to not hurt their roster stock. Each came away with three tackles. Neither made a spectacular play to set themselves apart, however.
Corey Coleman, a former first-round pick, made his own impact in the return game. He was running with passion and determination all game long. He currently has an outside shot at making the team’s roster as their sixth wide receiver. Despite showing very little on offense, Coleman gained 45 yards on his lone kick return and an additional 47 yards on three punt returns. He looked electric and could be a welcome addition to special teams coach, Dave Toub’s unit.
Tershawn Wharton, Dicaprio Bootle, and Joshua Kaindoh each had one sack in game three. For Bootle, the sack came after rather mediocre plays in coverage. His roster position looks to be in extreme doubt heading into roster cuts. For Kaindoh, if the roster battle comes down to Malik Herring or Kaindoh, it seems as if the latter has secured his roster spot. He showed speed and control during his sack of Packers quarterback Danny Etling.
#Chiefs DE Joshua Kaindoh gets to #Packers QB Danny Etling for the sack on 2nd & 17. #ChiefsKingdom pic.twitter.com/LbpMp3JTf2 — Devon Clements (@DevclemNFL) August 26, 2022
Herring, on the other hand, finished his day with two tackles and failed to make his presence known along the defensive front. He looks to be a practice squad candidate for the Chiefs as the team looks ahead to roster cuts.
With the preseason now at an end, the Chiefs look ahead to the start of their 2022 regular season. They’ll kick things off in Week One against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, Arizona. The two teams will face off on September 11.