Instant analysis of Chiefs’ preseason Week 2 win vs. Cardinals

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The Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals met for the first time since the 2018 regular season on Friday, with an exciting preseason Week 2 matchup resulting in a 2-0 preseason start for the Chiefs.

This game gave both teams an extended look at their starters, while also providing depth players with another opportunity to impress. We’re inching closer to the regular season and meaningful football, but these snaps still serve as a good way to measure what to expect for the upcoming season.

So what did we learn about the Chiefs in their second game of the preseason?

Final score: Chiefs 17, Cardinals 10

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The starting offense was only able to put up three points for Kansas City after a long first drive and some miscues on the ensuing drives. The starting defense did a very good job to keep Kyler Murray and the Cardinals offense out of the endzone. As soon as Chad Henne came in the game in the second quarter the Cardinals started subbing out some guys on defense. That's when the offense really started clicking for the Chiefs and they didn't take their foot off the gas for the remainder of the game.

Weekly awards

AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

  • Chiefs Wire Game Ball: Juan Thornhill

  • Harrison Butker Rookie of the Game: Creed Humphrey

  • Casey Wiegmann Veteran of the Game: Chad Henne

  • Jamaal Charles Offensive Player of the Game: Byron Pringle

  • Bobby Bell Defensive Player of the Game: Chris Jones

  • Morten Andersen Special Teams Player of the Game: Darwin Thompson

  • Otis Taylor Play of the Game: Mecole Hardman 17-yard touchdown reception.

  • Wesley Roesch Stat of the Game: Cardinals first three offensive drives resulted in -1 yards.

Quick-hitting observations and analysis

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  • The offensive line picked up right where they left off in preseason Week 1. They looked physical in the run game, athletic in the screen game and did a great job protecting the quarterback. They also played mistake-free football which is huge.

  • The running game looks to be a much bigger factor for the offense this season, compared to last year when it was almost an afterthought. Patrick Mahomes looks like he's going to be able to play off the run game a bit more in the passing game.

  • Two players who didn't get first-team work in preseason Week 1 did get first-team work during preseason Week 2. On offense, Marcus Kemp got a few first-team snaps while Mahomes was still in the game. On defense, Juan Thornhill drew the start after being relegated to second-team duties early on.

  • Tyreek Hill suited up but didn't play tonight. It's unclear why he didn't play. It could just be a night off for the veteran.

  • Demarcus Robinson got an early look as the top punt returner. He has a habit of dancing around too much when he really needs to get north-south. He also held the ball very loosely on his second return, which made me very uneasy.

  • Mecole Hardman and Patrick Mahomes weren't on the same page tonight. We covered it extensively in our halftime takeaways. They still have some kinks to get worked out.

  • Daurice Fountain and Marcus Kemp both had some explosive plays tonight, with 46 and 36-yard receptions respectively. They're going to make things really tough on the Chiefs' decision-makers when it comes to handing out roster spots.

  • Michael Burton continues to get involved on offense, suggesting the Chiefs do plan to roster a fullback in 2021.

  • I know it's only the preseason, but the starting defense for Kansas City looks to be on a whole different level in 2021. The front seven are stopping the run and getting pressure on the quarterback. The secondary has been sticky in coverage and tackle. It just looks like an entirely different unit out there.

  • Noah Gray had a much better game this time around, catching 3-of-3 targets for 22 yards. In the first game of the preseason, he was targeted twice and didn't catch a single ball.

  • Chris Jones continues to look absolutely sensational playing defensive end. He's going to make a lot of guys look silly while working off the edge.

  • Juan Thornhill's interception had to be huge for his confidence. He's still been working his way back mentally following a season-ending knee injury in 2019.

  • Omari Cobb continued to flash with the second-team defense. He looks to be one of the most improved practice-squad players from 2020.

  • Jody Fortson was really impressive as a blocker in the fourth quarter this evening. He's probably a better blocker than people currently give him credit for.

  • Dicaprio Bootle made his presence known with a sack in the fourth quarter. He's been getting work in the slot and looks like someone the Chiefs intend to develop there.

  • Derrick Gore looked serviceable in his fourth-quarter action with the Chiefs. I'd expect that he'd be someone the team would be interested in keeping on the practice squad.

  • Anthony Gordon got his chance to close out a game just as Shane Buechele did last week. He did a really good job managing the game. He didn't get risky with the ball, completed 100% of his passes and put the game on ice.

Up next

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The Chiefs return home to play a game at Arrowhead Stadium for the first time since hosting the Buffalo Bills in the AFC title game. They'll face the Minnesota Vikings on Friday, August 27th at 7:30 p.m. CT. The game will be nationally televised on NFL Network. Late NFL beat writer Terez Paylor will be honored during the game.

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