In the team’s first preseason game on Saturday, the Kansas City Chiefs fell to the Chicago Bears by a score of 19 to 14. We’re recapping the highlights of the loss.
The season’s first preseason game is now in the rear-view for the Kansas City Chiefs. Although it’s preseason and the starters played just a couple of drives, there are still plenty of takeaways to be had. In total, the starters on offense played just one full drive together in the first quarter.
Behind the first team players, plenty of players on the roster bubble got their chance to shine. Some of them certainly did. Here’s a recap of the Chiefs’ first game to kick off the preseason slate.
Chiefs Starters Showed Promise In Limited Action On Saturday
in the limited action they received in Saturday’s matchup against the Bears, the Chiefs’ starters showed a sign of good things to come in the upcoming NFL season. The Bears started the game with a three-and-out drive that started from their own 34-yard line. Justin Reid and Willie Gay both got in on the action quickly with quick tackles for short gains of two yards on first and second down.
Chris Jones made his presence felt early with a quarterback sack of Justin Fields on a third and six from the Chicago 38-yard line. That sack effectively put the lid on a less-than-stellar Bears drive. Trent McDuffie was the deep man to return the game’s first punt, ultimately taking it 11 yards to the Chiefs’ 28.
On offense, the Chiefs starters looked as good as ever. Patrick Mahomes finished his first drive (and day) six for seven with 60 yards and a touchdown pass. All six completions went to six different receivers including Michael Burton and Blake Bell. Mahomes connected with Travis Kelce on a big-time 19-yard completion that took Kansas City deep into Chicago territory before Bell capped off the drive with a five-yard touchdown reception on a tight end screen play.
Ring the 🔔 Mahomes finds Blake Bell for the TD! 📺: #KCvsCHI on NFL Network 📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/Qlxwk7TAvdpic.twitter.com/fbf9xoaDb4 — NFL Network (@nflnetwork) August 13, 2022
Unfortunately, on a future drive, Bell suffered a hip injury on what looked to be a non-contact injury. Bell left the game with a questionable designation and his status is in doubt moving forward this season.
On the Bears’ second offensive drive of the game, the Chiefs’ starters once again made their presence felt. Frank Clark, Juan Thornhill, Tershawn Wharton, and Mike Danna all came up with big tackles for short gains on the drive that eventually finished in a second punt in as many drives for the Chicago offense. Justin Fields did complete one deep pass for 26 yards that Darnell Mooney reeled in over L’Jarius Sneed in a great play by the Bears’ wideout.
With Chiefs’ Starters On The Sideline, Backup Players Flashed
With the first team out on offense as the team started their second offensive drive, Isiah Pacheco, Skyy Moore, and Justin Watson got a chance to make their mark on the game. The offense wasn’t the same, of course, with Mahomes and Co. on the sidelines. In 11 drives without the starters, the Chiefs scored just seven more points. However, plenty of wide receivers shined in their first preseason game of the season.
Justin Watson, Skyy Moore, and Daurice Fountain all had an impact with Shane Buechele behind center. Buechele got the bulk of the quarterback snaps behind Mahomes and Henne, finishing the game with 19 attempts versus 11 for Dustin Crum. Those two quarterbacks, one of which at least is certain to land on the team’s practice squad following roster cuts, are essentially auditioning to become the team’s backup next season once Chad Henne reaches free agency (or retirement).
Watson finished his day with a team-leading five receptions, 45 yards, and a touchdown reception from Buechele.
Justin Watson, WR5 🔒 pic.twitter.com/yguEAiu2RW — Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) August 13, 2022
The pass looked fantastic from Buechele, placed in a perfect location where only Watson could go up and get it, but furthermore, Watson did an outstanding job to go up and get the ball and pull it in for the touchdown. With the big day on offense, it seems as if Watson has firmly entrenched himself within the team’s fifth wide receiver spot to start the season. It’s certainly his spot to lose at this point.
Daurice Fountain, another roster bubble wideout behind Juju Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Skyy Moore, also made his name known. He finished the game second on the team with three receptions and 24 yards receiving. The rookie, Moore, finished his day with three receptions for 23 yards.
Despite entering the preseason on a runaway hype train, Isiah Pacheco was mostly quiet in his debut for the Chiefs despite seeing the field a sizeable amount. He was extremely active with the first team offense along with Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Based on when the snaps happened, it seems as if Pacheco is firmly ahead of both Ronald Jones and Jerick McKinnon on the team’s depth chart.
Pacheco finished his day with two rushes for six yards and one reception for five yards. Jones paced the team’s running backs with four carries but managed just one yard on those carries on a rough day. Edwards-Helaire matched Pacheco with six rushing yards on two carries.
Defensive Rookies For The Chiefs Instill Confidence For 2022
Aside from the dominant first drive by the Chiefs’ first-team offense, the most encouraging aspect of the team’s preseason loss seemed to be the defensive side of the ball. More specifically, those rookies on the defense flashed in a good game overall.
As touched on previously, the first-team defense was stellar against the Bears’ offense. Chicago managed just 76 total yards from their first three drives combined, including negative four total yards from their first offensive series.
The Bears failed to score in the entire first half and entered halftime down 14 to zero. Leading the way on the defense was the rookie, Leo Chenal. Chenal finished his day with seven total tackles and two tackles for loss. He was active all day along the Kansas City defense.
The Chiefs’ defense tallied five sacks on the day, with one each coming from Juan Thornhill, George Karlaftis, Nasir Greer, and Chris Jones. Malik Herring and Taylor Stallworth combined for a half-sack each as well. It’s certainly encouraging to see a highly productive debut on the season from a defensive unit that surely stands as one of the team’s biggest question marks entering 2022.
A very good start to the career of George Karlaftis. pic.twitter.com/rgc29VE1t9 — Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) August 13, 2022
Despite the loss, there are some very major positives to take away for the Chiefs as we move forward deeper into the preseason and begin to look ahead to Week One against the Cardinals. The team’s next preseason game will take place next Saturday, August 20 against the Washington Commanders.