Real football happened in Arrohwead for less 12 minutes Saturday night. Starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes didn’t last the entire first quarter, and backup Chad Henne’s stint was even shorter.
Here are a couple notable observations from the Chiefs’ preseason opener against the Bengals. The Chiefs built a 17-7 lead at halftime.
Mahomes, Henne done early
Andy Reid said Mahomes would play for the first quarter, but the Chiefs coach took the reigning NFL MVP out after one drive. Chad Henne was supposed to play the second quarter, but he was done after the first, too.
Mahomes went 4-for-4 for 66 yards, including a 36-yard completion to Travis Kelce to open the drive. Henne, who played five snaps in the final minutes of the first quarter, went 2-for-4 for 26 yards.
The highlight of Mahomes’ short stint came as he scrambled 20 yards, going down just short of the goal line. Mahomes danced up the right side of the field, appeared like he might run out of bounds, then reversed direction and ran toward the middle of the field. The Chiefs scored two plays later on a Carlos Hyde one-yard run.
Once the top two quarterbacks were done, rookie Kyle Shurmur started the second quarter and finished off Henne’s drive with a touchdown.
Hardman finds the end zone
In his first action at Arrowhead, top Chiefs draft pick Mecole Hardman scored a touchdown.
Shurmur found Hardman on a well-timed shovel-pass sweep and the rookie sprinted 17 yard to the end zone. The touchdown gave the Chiefs a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter.
Hardman also lined up as the Chiefs’ primary punt returner in the first half, although none of the punts were returnable.
Defense still a work in progress
The Chiefs’ defense almost started the preseason with a major statement.
At first glance, it appeared Kendall Fuller and Daniel Sorensen forced a fumble on the second play of the game, one that was recovered by Tyrann Mathieu. But upon further review, it was ruled that the pass was incomplete.
So instead of making a momentum-shifting play to open the game, the Chiefs had to stay out on defense and allowed Cincinnati to score on a methodical 14-play, 75-yard drive that lasted nearly eight minutes.
All of the Chiefs’ regular defensive starters — minus Frank Clark and Alex Okafor— were on the field for the first two plays of the opening drive, but defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo began rotating subs in throughout the rest of the drive.
With Clark and Okafor missing the game as they recover from a sore wrist and hip injury, respectively, Tanoh Kpassagnon and Breeland Speaks started in the defensive end positions. Derrick Nnadi started alongside Chris Jones on the interior.