Red Zone

Halftime observations: Chiefs 13, Seahawks 3

Chiefs running back Spencer Ware tried to spin away from Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kelcie McCray in the first quarter of Saturday’s preseason football opener at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.
Chiefs running back Spencer Ware tried to spin away from Seattle Seahawks strong safety Kelcie McCray in the first quarter of Saturday’s preseason football opener at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. jsleezer@kcstar.com

It’s halftime at Arrowhead Stadium, and the Chiefs lead the Seahawks 13-3. Here are some quick thoughts.

1. It's hard to imagine the Chiefs' first-string offense getting off to a better start than their eight-play, 49-yard scoring march to open the game. The ground game, led by Spencer Ware, was churning. Quarterback Alex Smith delivered a few strikes to tight ends Demetrius Harris and Ross Travis. And Smith showed a dash of playmaking on third-and-9 where he sensed the rush, scrambled to his left and lofted a short touch pass to Jeremy Maclin, who went out of bounds at the 1-yard line after a 20-yard gain. The Chiefs soon scored, courtesy of a Ware touchdown, and Smith — who finished 3-of-4 for 36 yards — was done for the day.

2. The first-string defense surrendered some ground in the first quarter, as the Seahawks rolled up 91 total yards in 18 plays. The Seahawks made hay by testing the young corners and running to Dee Ford's side. Star cornerback Marcus Peters saved the Seahawks’ first drive with an interception, and the starters left the game in the middle of the second drive due to the start of the second quarter. This unit definitely missed Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and Eric Berry. Josh Mauga and Phillip Gaines also sat.

3. A couple first-string concerns: Outside linebacker Dee Ford gave up the edge on at least two running plays. That's not ideal. The first-string defense also seemed a tad vulnerable on up-the-middle running plays and on pass plays targeting people not named Marcus Peters. Granted, those concerns were gleaned from all of 18 plays, but still.

4. Some thoughts on Nick Foles and Tyler Bray, who split most of the quarterback reps after the first series: Foles guided a scoring drive (which ended in a field goal) and completed 4-of-8 passes for 37 yards during his appearance. He had a few errant throws but generally seemed to fare okay. Bray wasn’t overly impressive, completing 3-of-9 passes for 48 yards. He seemed to struggle some with accuracy but showed off good arm strength and a better touch than he has in the past year. His back-shoulder throw to receiver Rod Streater in the second quarter was outstanding — he just needs to flash that kind of touch more often.

5. Players who caught my eye include: receiver Tyreek Hill, whose blazing speed was apparent on a 30-yard return; Streater, who made a big-boy contested catch along the sideline from Bray (but dropped a catchable deep pass later in the half); defensive tackle Chris Jones and inside linebacker Justin March, who each showed power and quickness while teaming up for a fourth-and-1 stop on a running play in Chiefs territory; left tackle Jarrod Pughsley, who stood up for Bray after a late hit by Frank Clark late in the half; and outside linebacker Dezman Moses, who made a big third-down stop on third-and-1 by crashing down from the edge and tackling running back Alex Collins for a 4-yard loss. Moses also had a pass deflection.

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