It really is a new era in Kansas City.
The Chiefs wrapped up their first preseason game and live action of 2013 last night in New Orleans as they fell to the Saints by a score of 17-13. But the score meant nothing to what the Chiefs accomplished. The first team offense, defense, and special teams all showed great promise while in the game. Let's start with the offense.
Alex Smith, making his debut as Chiefs quarterback, was efficient and effective. Completing seven of eight passes for 68 yards, converting third downs, and finishing off the first drive with a touchdown, you could not have asked for a better start from Smith. The offense did not show much as expected as most of the plays consisted of short plays and getting the ball into the hands of the playmakers. Jamaal Charles ran the ball a handful of times and caught the ball three times, something he will do a lot this season. #25 capped off the drive with a one-yard score and started the drive with a screen-pass, something the Chiefs shied away from doing last season. TE Anthony Fasano had a couple of catches including a third down reception. Tight ends are going to be vital in Andy Reid's offense.
On the defensive side, it was a pleasing opening drive for that group that had some luck as well. CB Brandon Flowers allowed a rookie WR to get behind him after Drew Brees laid a dime pass that fell through the hands of Kenny Stills. Last year's first round pick Dontari Poe showed why cutting back on the barbeque was a good idea, getting pressure on Brees up the middle and allowing Tamba Hali to prevent a pass to be thrown.
Special teams wise, Dexter McCluster got a shot to return a punt after the defense hauled the Saints first drive. A 55-yard return with a penalty that added on more yardage gave the Chiefs second team offense possession in the opponent's territory. So, Dex showed why he is heavily being considered to be the PR this season. The Chiefs wanted to get a look at rookie RB Knile Davis as a kick returner and he returned one 79 yards in the second half. K Ryan Succop converted on a 42-yard field goal and later on a 32-yard FG. Dustin Colquitt continued to show why he was a Pro Bowler last year, pinning the Saints inside their own 5-yard line.
So all in all, it was a successful first game for the Chiefs first teams in all three phases. The backups and reserves definitely need to continue to work and improve to make this roster complete before the first regular season game. But it was only the first exhibition game of 2013. Plenty of practices and three more preseason games to come before the real thing starts.
But it was exciting to see effective play from the new faces on this team.
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