Key play: Alex Smith’s 22-yard pass to Frankie Hammond Jr.
Key stat: The catch was the first of Hammond’s NFL career.
Key play: Jake Locker’s 17-yard pass to tight end Delanie Walker on second and 10 at Chiefs 33.
Key stat: Chiefs rookie Cairo Santos banged field-goal attempts off each upright, making one and missing one.
Key play: Locker opened second half by hitting Justin Hunter for 39 yards.
Key stat: The Chiefs’ time of possession was just 3 minutes, 53 seconds.
Key play: A taunting penalty on Titans’ Blidi Wreh-Wilson gave the Chiefs first down at Tennessee 5.
Key stat: Chiefs were zero for three on third downs in quarter, one for 12 in game.
Player of the game: Titans quarterback Jake Locker was efficient and mistake-free.
Reason to hope: It’s just one game and counts as only one loss.
Reason to mope: The Chiefs have lost seven of their last nine (including the playoff game) since their 9-0 start of a year ago.
Looking ahead: The Chiefs next week began the roughest stretch of the season: at Denver, at Miami, vs. New England and at San Francisco before their bye week, which resumes at San Diego.
| Randy Covitz, email@example.com
Jamaal Charles seemed almost an afterthought in the running game. What was Cyrus Gray doing carrying the ball in the first quarter? When Charles did get the ball, there weren’t many holes created by the makeshift offensive line.
Alex Smith actually had time to throw the football. Problem was, no one was open. Frankie Hammond Jr. did a poor impersonation of Dwayne Bowe. Even on his 22-yard reception, he barely hung on to the ball. Smith’s three interceptions were atypical of his game.
Despite losing linebacker Derrick Johnson and end Mike DeVito, the performance against the run was decent. The Chiefs surrendered a 16-yard run to Leon Washington on third and 20 in the second quarter but were pretty solid until wearing down in the fourth quarter.
Playing without starting cornerback Marcus Cooper, the Chiefs didn’t get burned for any big plays, other than Justin Hunter beating nickel back Chris Owens for a 39-yarder on the first play of the second half. But the secondary didn’t create any big plays, and the pass rush’s four sacks didn’t have a big impact
Normally, the Chiefs’ calling card, the kicking game was pedestrian at best. They didn’t mount any threatening returns, and Hammond’s decision to field a punt at his 2 could have been disastrous. Rookie kicker Cairo Santos came out on the short end of his duel with the man he beat out, Ryan Succop.
The absence of Bowe was evident on offense, but no one player, short of Smith, should be that indispensable, and coach Andy Reid won’t use that as an excuse. For whatever reason, what ailed the Chiefs in preseason, carried over to the regular-season opener, and there’s no reason for that.