Key plays, stats and grades from the Chiefs’ 38-17 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals at Arrowhead Stadium Saturday night.
KC Star of the game: Patrick Mahomes played well in his one drive. So did the other quarterbacks. Each led at least one scoring drive. Let’s give it to rookie running back Darwin Thompson, who had several good moments, including taking a short pass from Chase Litton and turning it into a 29-yard touchdown reception.
Reason to hope: The first-team offense did what was expected, with Patrick Mahomes perfect on four throws on the way to a touchdown. “I thought it was a good drive to start everything off,” he said during a postgame TV interview.
Reason to mope: The first-team defense did what might have been expected given all the changes it has undergone. The Chiefs allowed a long touchdown drive on the Bengals’ first series.
Looking ahead: The Chiefs hit the road next Saturday for their second preseason game. The game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Central.
Rushing offense: B
Mahomes’ 10-yard gain in the red zone was breath-holding moment. But he got down, and two plays later the right side opened a hole for Carlos Hyde to plow through. Best run of the night belonged to rookie Thompson, who showed strength by running through a tackler. The biggest gain of the night was turned in by Josh Caldwell, who rolled to a 47-gain in the fourth quarter. Caldwell attended Lee’s Summit North High and Missouri Western and Northwest Missouri State. On the next play, Caldwell scored from the 4 to complete the game’s scoring.
Passing offense: A
The Chiefs came out firing with Mahomes hitting Travis Kelce for 36 on the team’s first snap. And because it was a shovel pass from Kyle Shurmer, it counts here. But the best part of the Mecole Hardman’s first NFL touch, a 17-yard touchdown, was his burst. The only big mistake came on a third-quarter interception by Chase Litton. He made up for it later with a nice touchdown pass to TE Deon Yelder.
Rushing defense: A
The Bengals weren’t about ground and pound, but when they ran, the Chiefs succeeded in defending it. Through three quarters, Cincinnati had 21 rushing yards.
Passing defense: B
A whistle changed the grade here. Had a Tyrann Mathieu fumble recovery on the game’s second play stood, the Chiefs would have come up huge early. Instead, incomplete pass was the call, and Andy Dalton completed seven of nine for 80 yards on the touchdown drive. Credit Tanoh Kpassangnon with the first sack of the preseason. One snap later, Breeland Speaks got the second. On the snap after that, the last of the first half, Herb Miller collected the Chiefs’ first interception and returned it 67 yards. Michael Hunter added a fourth-quarter pick.
Special teams: B
The good: Fumble recoveries by tight ends Yelder and Nick Keizer on a muffed punts, and Hardman’s 40-yard kickoff return in the third quarter. The bad: A holding call on Marcus Kemp on a punt return, a long Cincy kickoff return of 40 yards in the second quarter, and an illegal formation on a kickoff.
A great grade for getting Mahomes, Kelce and other first-team players out of the game after the first series. No reason to risk injury in August.