It’s halftime of the Chiefs’ third preseason game, and they trail the Seattle Seahawks 16-10 at CenturyLink Field. Here are my quick thoughts.
1. The Spencer Ware injury was injury-sapping
The third preseason game means Chiefs coach Andy Reid is going to game-plan some, and on the first drive, he had his pre-snap shifts working. The Chiefs were moving the ball well, deep into Seahawks territory, when Alex Smith threw a short pass to starting running back Spencer Ware, who bulled his way for a few yards but injured his knee in the process and had to be carted off the field.
The Chiefs have provided no update on the situation, other than to declare Ware out for the game. But he was on the ground long enough that multiple Chiefs and Seahawks went to a knee, and he received polite applause from the Seattle crowd when he left via a cart.
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And while the extent of the injury remains to be see, this much is clear: The Chiefs’ rhythm seemed to be broken by the moment, as the Seahawks’ starters eventually jumped out to a 13-3 second-quarter lead. And that’s understandable, in a way. Established players hate preseason games, and nothing can make a player with a secure roster spot lose intensity quicker than seeing a key teammate get hurt in a meaningless exhibition. That said ...
2. The backup running backs are capable
The Chiefs didn’t get their running game rolling in the first half, but don’t let that fool you: The running back position might be one of the deepest on the team. The thought here is that Kareem Hunt, who was the next man up in the wake of Ware’s injury and the only other back to tote the rock in the first half, has a chance to be a star, either this year or next, while Charcandrick West (who appeared third) and C.J. Spiller (who didn’t receive a first-half touch) are solid options in Reid’s scheme. If Ware’s injury indeed turns out to be long-term, I believe the Chiefs will still get plenty of production out of the position.
3. De’Anthony Thomas might have a big season
With the Chiefs trailing by 10 in the second quarter and reeling, Thomas gave the team a shot in the arm with an explosive 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Tyreek Hill may be a special returner, but Thomas is pretty darned good, too. And since the 5-foot-8, 176-pounder is entering a contract year, I really wouldn’t be surprised to see him have a nice season.
4. The Chiefs played undisciplined football
The Chiefs have committed six penalties for 51 yards in the first half. On the Seahawks’ third scoring drive alone, the defense committed four penalties, which culminated in a touchdown throw from Russell Wilson to Tre Madden that gave the Seahawks a 13-3 lead. Not good enough — not by a longshot. That said ...
5. Don’t freak out
It’s a preseason game. Chill. Keep an eye on the potential trouble spots — the defense’s unusual lack of juice, Smith’s lack of cohesion with his receivers tonight (Smith finished the half 7-of-17 for 44 yards) and the abundance of penalties, etc. — but judge this team on Sept. 7, when the Chiefs open the season in New England.