Chiefs report card: Low marks all around for starters in preseason opener

Chiefs coach Andy Reid: “Too many mistakes for this game, but that’s what the preseason is for”

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid spoke about the first preseason game against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium
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Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid spoke about the first preseason game against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium

The key plays, stats and grades for the starters from the KC Chiefs’ preseason opener against the Houston Texans on Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium.

The recap

Player of the game: Travis Kelce had two catches for 22 yards, which accounted for 76 percent of the net yardage gained by the first-team offense with Patrick Mahomes at the helm.

Reason to hope: Those wearing rose-colored glasses can point to the fact that Mahomes completed 5 of 7 passes and didn’t throw an interception. Probably more importantly, he didn’t get hurt.

Reason to mope: The Chiefs’ starting offense gained a total of 29 yards and two first downs in its two possessions. Meanwhile, Houston backup quarterback Brandon Weeden led his unit on two scoring drives of 60-plus yards.

Looking ahead: The Chiefs will return to St. Joe on Saturday with four more days of practice, then break camp following Tuesday’s workouts. They’ll travel to Atlanta next week, where they’ll play their second preseason game on Aug. 17.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes on why the offense stalled in preseason loss

Report card

Rushing offense: F. The Chiefs put an emphasis on throwing the ball in Mahomes’ first preseason game as the starter. Kareem Hunt ran the ball just once in the first quarter, and he gained one yard. That was the extent of the running game with the first unit.

Passing offense: D. While almost all of the yardage came off the pass, the Chiefs hardly picked up big chunks. Their only completion of more than 10 yards came on the first play from scrimmage. The offensive line allowed pressure on Mahomes, including one sack, and Mahomes overthrow one pass intended for Kelce. Their newest weapon, receiver Sammy Watkins, didn’t have an impact and wasn’t targeted.

Rushing defense: D. Houston lined up with multiple tight ends early and ran the ball successfully, with Lamar Miller ripping off 7.3 yards per carry in the opening quarter against a defense that featured second-string inside linebackers Ukeme Eligwe and Terrance Smith.

Passing defense: D. The NFL’s points of emphasis about contact downfield reared their heads early for new Chiefs cornerback David Amerson. Amerson got called for two holding penalties, including one that gave Houston a first down on third-and-long on the Texans’ first touchdown drive. On the same drive, Houston completed passes of 6 yards on third-and-5, 4 yards on third-and-3 and a 6 yards for a touchdown on third-and-4.

Special teams: C. The league’s new special teams rules didn’t throw everything into chaos, but the Chiefs’ coverage and return groups were largely unremarkable. Damien Williams and Kerwynn Williams each had solid kick returns, while Tremon Smith’s lone punt return in the first half went for a loss of a yard.

Coaching: C. Preseason game number one doesn’t include much in the way of a game plan. The starters don’t play very much — some didn’t even dress — and several players who figure to at least be part of sub-packages did not dress. Coach Andy Reid and company can’t take too much blame, or credit, in this one.