Offensive struggles dog Chiefs in preseason

08/17/2014 11:38 PM

08/17/2014 11:38 PM

The Chiefs starting offense is still oh-fer for the preseason.

Playing without Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles, who did not make the trip because of a bruised foot, the Chiefs’ starters failed to score a touchdown in a 28-16 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday night at Bank of America Stadium.

That extended the streak to three quarters, covering eight possessions — three in the first quarter in last week’s win over Cincinnati and five on Sunday against Carolina, 1-1.

The Chiefs’ starters managed a pair of field goals — a 54-yarder by Ryan Succop and a 44-yarder by rookie Cairo Santos — for their only points of the first half.

The Chiefs, 1-1, didn’t turn the ball over in the first half, but they made just about every other kind of mistake.

They were called for seven penalties for 93 yards in the first half — four on offense, two on defense (an illegal-contact penalty was declined because the ball was caught) and one on special teams (two flags were thrown on the play) — and the Chiefs allowed two critical sacks.

Carolina led 14-6 at halftime on a pair of runs through the middle of the Chiefs defense by Jonathan Stewart, the first from 2 yards as he bounced off linebacker Derrick Johnson, and the second from 3 yards when no one laid a hand on him.

The Chiefs’ first-team defense held Carolina to three-and-outs in the Panthers’ first three possessions. In fact, the closest Carolina got to a first down in the three possessions was third and 4.

Linebacker Derrick Johnson nearly had an interception, but the pass thrown by Cam Newton bounced off his hands, and a diving Malcolm Bronson couldn’t come up with the ricochet.

Safety Husain Abduallah blitzed and sacked Newton, who was making his first preseason start, for a 13-yard loss back to the Carolina 9 late in the first quarter.

But the Chiefs fell apart in the second quarter. The key play on Carolina’s first touchdown drive was a pass-interference penalty for 32 yards against cornerback Ron Parker, who was defending wide receiver Jason Avant. The penalty moved the ball to the Chiefs’ 6, setting up Stewart’s first touchdown.

On the Chiefs’ ensuing possession, a false start by right tackle Donald Stephenson turned third and 3 at the Kansas City 14 to third and 8 from the 9. Quarterback Alex Smith picked up the first down with a 9-yard scramble, but a dropped pass by Dwayne Bowe on a play that would have produced a first down was followed by a 9-yard sack by Carolina middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, who blew through the middle of the line, forcing a punt.

A holding penalty against left tackle Eric Fisher, who was trying to block rookie Kony Ealy, a second-round draft pick from Missouri, followed by guard Jeff Allen allowing a sack by Star Lotulelei put the offense in a third-and-29 hole, and Reid didn’t have a good play for that down and distance.

The Chiefs’ backups rallied in the third quarter. Quarterback Chase Daniel hit a wide-open Frankie Hammond Jr. down the sideline for 33 yards, and with a penalty for roughing the passer, the Chiefs were at the 7.

The drive bogged down there, as Daniel one-hopped a pass near the goal line to running back Cyrus Gray on second and goal, and a pass to De’Anthony Thomas lost 4 yards. Coach Andy Reid opted for a 25-yard field goal by Succop that made it 14-9 rather than go for it on fourth down.

After an 8-yard Carolina punt set up the Chiefs at the Panthers 43, rookie quarterback Aaron Murray feathered his first NFL pass on first down to tight end Travis Kelce, who was behind three defenders and scored his second touchdown in two weeks for a 16-14 lead.

Carolina regained the lead with 3:58 left in the third quarter on backup quarterback Derek Anderson’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Brenton Bersin that made it 21-16.

Murray then threw his first NFL interception when his pass intended for tight end Demetrius Harris was picked off by linebacker A.J. Klein, who returned it 29 yards to the Chiefs 8. That set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Fozzy Whitaker for a 28-16 lead.

The Chiefs had taken a 3-0 lead on Succop’s 54-yard field goal on their first offensive drive of the game. Succop, from nearby Hickory, N.C., grew up a Carolina Panthers fan. He was kicking in front of friends and family for the first time in the stadium where he attended games as a youngster.

The field goal matched Succop’s career long against Minnesota in 2011 and couldn’t come at a better time for him. Succop, who missed much of practice last week because of a groin injury, and embroiled in a competition with rookie Santos for the kicking job.

Knile Davis started in place of Charles and opened the game with an 11-yard run, followed by quarterback Alex Smith’s hitting tight end Anthony Fasano for 16 yards off a play-fake and bootleg pass.

A screen to Davis was wiped out because of a holding penalty called against rookie guard Zach Fulton, and a pass by Smith intended for a wide-open Fasano was deflected by Carolina’s all-pro linebacker Kuechly.

Smith threw two more passes to Davis for 16 yards, setting up Succop’s field goal.

Santos got his first chance for a field goal on the first play of the second quarter. After standing out on the field waiting for play to resume, he nailed a 44-yarder for a 6-0 lead.

Kansas City

3

3

10

0

16

Carolina

0

14

14

0

28

First Quarter

KC—FG Succop 54, 9:20. Drive: 8 plays, 44 yards, 4:07. Key Plays: Davis 11 run; A.Smith 16 pass to Fasano; A.Smith 10 pass to Bowe; A.Smith 10 pass to Davis. Kansas City 3, Carolina 0.

Second Quarter

KC—FG Santos 44, 14:55. Drive: 7 plays, 26 yards, 3:14. Key Plays: A.Smith 21 pass to Bowe; A.Smith 15 pass to Avery. Kansas City 6, Carolina 0.

Car—Stewart 2 run (Gano kick), 12:37. Drive: 4 plays, 66 yards, 2:18. Key Plays: Stewart 17 run; Newton 11 pass to Dickson; Parker 32-yard defensive pass interference penalty. Carolina 7, Kansas City 6.

Car—Stewart 3 run (Gano kick), 6:23. Drive: 6 plays, 50 yards, 2:56. Key Plays: Newton 24 pass to Benjamin; Newton 25 pass to Avant on 3rd-and-16. Carolina 14, Kansas City 6.

Third Quarter

KC—FG Succop 25, 9:39. Drive: 11 plays, 73 yards, 5:21. Key Plays: Gray 12 run; Gray 1 run on 3rd-and-1; Daniel 33 pass to Hammond Jr.. Carolina 14, Kansas City 9.

KC—Kelce 43 pass from Murray (Santos kick), 8:24. Drive: 1 play, 43 yards, 0:09. Key Play: 65-yard kickoff oob-out of bounds at Carolina 43. Kansas City 16, Carolina 14.

Car—Bersin 16 pass from Anderson (Gano kick), 3:58. Drive: 7 plays, 70 yards, 4:26. Key Plays: Anderson 2 run on 3rd-and-1; Anderson 31 pass to B.Williams; Whittaker 15 run. Carolina 21, Kansas City 16.

Car—Whittaker 1 run (Gano kick), :18. Drive: 4 plays, 8 yards, 2:01. Key Plays: Klein 29 interception return to Kansas City 8; Gaines 3-yard defensive holding penalty on 3rd-and-5. Carolina 28, Kansas City 16.

A—70,035.

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Kansas City, Gray 10-44, Davis 9-30, Thomas 1-13, West 2-9, A.Smith 1-9. Carolina, Whittaker 13-71, Stewart 4-26, Barner 7-18, D.Williams 3-9, Tolbert 1-4, Anderson 1-2, McNutt 1-1, Blanchard 2-(minus 2).

PASSING—Kansas City, A.Smith 14-22-0-127, Murray 5-9-1-81, Daniel 3-4-0-35. Carolina, Anderson 5-8-0-91, Newton 4-9-0-65, Webb 2-3-0-27.

RECEIVING—Kansas City, Bowe 5-62, Kelce 4-63, Hammond Jr. 3-57, Davis 3-26, Fasano 2-29, Thomas 2-(minus 8), Avery 1-15, K.Williams 1-1, Gray 1-(minus 2). Carolina, Benjamin 2-41, Bersin 2-29, B.Williams 1-31, Avant 1-25, Whittaker 1-22, Barner 1-14, Dickson 1-11, Underwood 1-5, D.Williams 1-5.

PUNT RETURNS—Kansas City, Thomas 2-27. Carolina, Brown 1-1.

KICKOFF RETURNS—Kansas City, Hammond Jr. 2-56, Davis 1-22. Carolina, Brown 2-65, Barner 1-31.

TACKLES-ASSISTS-SACKS—Kansas City, N.Johnson 3-4-0, Abdullah 3-0-1, Mays 3-0-1, Ford 2-2-0.5, Houston 2-0-0, Zombo 2-0-0, V.Walker 1-4-0.5, J.Johnson 1-3-0, Love 1-3-0, Bailey 1-2-0, Amaya 1-1-0, Van Dyke 1-1-0, Owens 1-0-1, Ja.Campbell 1-0-0, Cooper 1-0-0, Gray 1-0-0, D.Johnson 1-0-0, Kearney 1-0-0, McMillian 1-0-0, S.Smith 1-0-0, Cudjo 0-2-0, Howard 0-2-0, Martin 0-2-0, Bronson 0-1-0, Gaines 0-1-0, Gordon 0-1-0, Hali 0-1-0, Poe 0-1-0, Sorensen 0-1-0. Carolina, Cason 6-0-0, White 4-2-0, Alexander 3-1-0, Kuechly 2-2-1, Russell 2-2-0, DeCoud 2-1-0, Godfrey 2-1-0, Klein 2-1-0, Glanton 2-0-1, Allen 2-0-0, C.Johnson 2-0-0, Nelson 2-0-0, Davis 1-2-0, Jacobs 1-2-0, Norman 1-1-0, Lotulelei 1-0-1, Bersin 1-0-0, Edwards 1-0-0, Lester 1-0-0, Regis 1-0-0, Walker 1-0-0, B.Williams 1-0-0, Addison 0-1-0, Cole 0-1-0, Smith 0-1-0, Tolbert 0-1-0, J.Williams 0-1-0.

INTERCEPTIONS—Carolina, Klein 1-29.

MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.

OFFICIALS—Referee Jerome Boger, Ump Tony Michalek, HL Harold Mitchell, LJ Ed Walker, FJ Terry Brown, SJ Allen Baynes, BJ Jonah Monroe, Replay Carl Madsen.

Time: 3:17.

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