The Chiefs may have played the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night, but their focus was clearly on Jacksonville.
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid held out all of his starters in the preseason finale, a 30-8 win at Arrowhead Stadium and kept them rested and healthy for the Sept. 8 regular-season opener at Jacksonville.
He used Thursday night’s game as a final chance for the backups to prove themselves before the roster has to be reduced from 75 players to 53 on Saturday.
“I was comfortable enough where we were (with the starters) that I wanted to make sure we looked at our depth,” Reid said. “In this league, you need depth. I wanted to make sure we were picking the right guys and give them an opportunity to show what they can do.”
The Packers were of a similar mind. Star quarterback Aaron Rodgers sat out the game, and the rest of the Green Bay offensive starters played one play.
The Chiefs, in Reid’s first season in Kansas City, finished the preseason 2-2, the first time they won two exhibition games in a season since 2008. The Packers, who open on Sept. 8 at San Francisco, finished the preseason 1-3.
Rookie quarterback Tyler Bray excited a crowd announced at 65,053 by throwing touchdown passes to Junior Hemingway, Josh Bellamy and Frankie Hammond Jr., and Ryan Succop made all three of his field goal attempts as the Chiefs rolled up their most points in a preseason game since scoring 31 against Seattle in 2003.
Chiefs backup Chase Daniel opened the game at quarterback with the second-teamers and had a night to forget. Daniel completed four of eight passes for 27 yards, including an interception on the first offensive play of the game. Daniel was sacked twice, once when he held onto the ball too long, and his passer rating was 18.2
"They made a good play," Daniel said of the interception by Tramon Williams. "I thought it was a different coverage than it was. You can’t make that throw.“
Bray took over early in the second quarter and completed 14 of 25 passes for 169 yards and one interception to go with the three touchdowns.
“The whole time coming in, the plan was to get the rook some reps,” Daniel said of Bray, an undrafted rookie from Tennessee. “I had quite a bunch last week, going the second half and playing overtime as well.
“I was proud of him. He got a chance to show what he’s got. We knew what he had physically, but mentally he was on point.”
Bray’s biggest play came in the third quarter when he threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Josh Bellamy, who was wide open down the sidelines after defender Brandon Smith slipped and fell. The play gave the Chiefs a 20-6 lead.
But it was his 8-yard flip to Hemingway with 5 seconds left in the first half at the end of the 2-minute drill that gave Bray the confidence he needed.
“I was more relaxed after that,” Bray said. “I was kind of anxious to throw one. We had been down in the red zone a couple of times and hadn’t scored a touchdown. So we got that first one and relaxed and let the game come to us.
“This was the last chance for me to get in a game and play, so I wanted to make the best of it,” Bray said.
Reid was happy with the play of both of his quarterbacks, who will back up Alex Smith.
“Tyler had more opportunities and took advantage of those,” Reid said. “I’m still really comfortable with Chase being no. 2. Tyler did a nice job for a young guy stepping in. For most of the series, he put us in some form of a scoring position, either a field goal or a touchdown. He was one of the guys I wanted to get in.”
Bray produced points on two of his three second-quarter possessions, including the touchdown in the 2-minute drill.
Bray completed passes on consecutive plays of 7 yards to Hemingway; 13 yards to tight end Kevin Brock and 8 yards to A.J. Jenkins before scrambling for 7 yards to the Packers 13. After stopping the clock by spiking the ball, Bray hit Hemingway in the right side of the end zone for the touchdown.
On the opening play of the night, Daniel overthrew A.J. Jenkins and was intercepted by Williams, who returned it 35 yards to the Chiefs’ 40.
The Packers first teamers played the ensuing series, minus Rodgers, who gave way to former Tennessee Titans and University of Texas star Vince Young. The Chiefs’ second-teamers kept the Packers from making a first down, and Green Bay settled for a 48-yard field goal by Mason Crosby for a 3-0 lead.
Daniel was unable to move the Chiefs in their next two possessions _ a three-and-out and one first down on an 11-yard pass to rookie tight end Travis Kelce _ before the Packers turned it over.
Chiefs linebacker Frank Zombo, who spent the last three seasons with the Packers before signing with Kansas City as a free agent in the offseason, made a leaping interception of a pass by B.J. Coleman and returned it 47 yards to the Green Bay 14.
Daniel hit running back Knile Davis on the wheel route for 8 yards to the 6, but then he was sacked on two consecutive plays. Daniel held onto the ball too long on the first sack, and he was blindsided on a corner blitz by the Packers Micah Hide, dropping the Chiefs back to the Green Bay 24.
Succop salvaged the possession with a 37-yard field goal, tying the game with 3:49 left in the first quarter.
Bray replaced Daniel with 11:37 to play in the first half, and aided by a 15-yard run by third-team running back Cyrus Gray and moved the Chiefs 25 yards in six plays, setting up a 48-yard field goal by Succop that gave the Chiefs a 6-3 lead.
But the Packers answered with a 45-yard field goal by Crosby, tying the game at 6-6 with 6:13 to play in the half.