The Kansas City Chiefs’ Week 1 preseason tilt with the Chicago Bears is officially in the books.
Things went about as well as you could possibly hope for if you’re the Chiefs, outside of winning the exhibition match. The game started off hot with the starting defense forcing a quick three-and-out of Justin Fields and the Bears’ offense. The starting offense matched that energy, with Patrick Mahomes and company moving down the field with ease on an 11-play scoring drive. The rookies on both offense and defense seem to be getting settled in, with the game featuring some big performances from a handful of young players. The team also managed to escape the game with just a few injuries, with Blake Bell and Derrick Gore exiting the game early.
So what else did we learn about the Chiefs in their first action of the preseason?
Final Score: Bears 19, Chiefs 14
Michael Reaves/Getty Images
The Chiefs didn’t escape with a victory, but they should be very pleased with the outcome of preseason Week 1. Their starters on both sides of the ball looked exceptional and things only started to go downhill for the team once the players who were longshots to make the 53-man roster took over. As competitive as things have been at certain spots through training camp, this game made some decisions a lot easier for the front office and coaching staff in Kansas City.
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
Chiefs Wire Game Ball: QB Patrick Mahomes
Harrison Butker Rookie of the Game: DE George Karlaftis
Casey Wiegmann Veteran of the Game: DT Chris Jones
Jamaal Charles Offensive Player of the Game: WR Justin Watson
Bobby Bell Defensive Player of the Game: LB Willie Gay Jr.
Morten Andersen Special Teams Player of the Game: S Justin Reid
Otis Taylor Play of the Game: S Justin Reid’s extra point.
Wesley Roesch Stat of the Game: Chiefs’ starting offense converted four first downs.
Quick-hitting observations and analysis
Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
The first-team defense started by forcing a great three-and-out. Included some highlight plays from Justin Reid, Willie Gay and Chris Jones.
The first-team offense looked really sharp, spread the ball around and moved down the field pretty seamlessly.
Three running backs — Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon got to work with the first team offense. I was impressed by what I saw from Pacheco, specifically his red zone catch which went for five yards after breaking a tackle.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman and Marquez Valdes-Scantling were the receivers to get run with the first team offense.
The most impressive rookie of the day was easily George Karlaftis. He was a handful for the Bears’ offensive line, notching a sack and multiple pressures.
A close second was rookie WR Skyy Moore, who had a really nice toe-tapping grab on a 13-yard reception.
The interior defensive line looks really deep for Kansas City. Tershawn Wharton, Khalen Saunders and Taylor Stallworth all had plays where they flashed.
I was impressed by what I saw from Leo Chenal with the second-team and third-team defense, where he looked quite out of place. His run fits were really nice and he gets downhill in a hurry. He did a good job getting guys lined up when he was wearing the green dot too.
There was a nice grab from Josh Gordon with the second-team offense and Shane Buechele. He also nearly made a nice toe-tapping grab on the sideline working with Dustin Crum and the third-team offense. I would love to see him get some work with Henne next week.
The second-team offensive line really struggled to create lanes in the run game and their pass protection worsened as the game went on. They were really overmatched by the Bears’ defensive line at times.
I liked what I saw from rookie S Bryan Cook at times. He had two tackles and a tackle on special teams. He needs to play a bit more under control at times, but the instincts flashed.
The edge rushers outside Frank Clark, Mike Danna and George Karlaftis were not great (Carlos Dunlap didn’t seem to play on Saturday). Joshua Kaindoh and Malik Herring, for instance, didn’t look great. Azur Kamara almost had a sack, but got stiff-armed into the turf by Nathan Peterman.
Justin Watson was a clear star with the second-team offense. He had a team-high five receptions on six targets for 45 yards and a score. He looks the part on offense and if he can contribute in any way on special teams, he’ll be a shoo-in for Kansas City’s 53-man roster.
Jack Cochrane, Jaylen Watson, Deon Bush and Elijah Lee had some good flashes in the third quarter. Good positioning, tackling and they all flowd to the ball really well.
Ronald Jones, Derrick Gore, Roderick Johnson and Dicaprio Bootle were easily the players who struggled the most. Jones struggled running the ball and in pass protection. Gore struggled running, catching and had a fumble. Johnson struggled in pass protection and run-blocking. Bootle gave up a long reception out of the slot.
Nick Allegretti had an interesting day. He might be the only player who got snaps with the starters (extra blocker eligible receiver), the second-team (guard) and the third-team offense (center).
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel
The Chiefs will head home for a brief stop in Kansas City before heading out to St. Joseph, Missouri on Monday to wrap up training camp. They’ll have their preseason home opener against the Washington Commanders at Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 20 at 3:00 p.m. CT.