The Kansas City Chiefs’ preseason opener came with plenty of rough edges to smooth out. The first-team offense got stuffed on fourth down at midfield and the starting defense allowed two touchdowns in Sunday’s 26-24 loss to the New Orleans Saints at the Caesars Superdome.
Next: The Chiefs remain on the road for their second NFL preseason game. The Super Bowl champions head to Arizona to face the Cardinals on Saturday. Kickoff is 7 p.m. Central Time.
KC STAR OF THE GAME
Wide receiver Justyn Ross’ last reception in a game came in 2021 while he was playing for Clemson. In his first game since then, Ross caught a touchdown pass, a 15-yard dart over the middle from Shane Buechele in the third quarter.
A game ball for the patient Ross, who has worked his way back and stands a good chance of making the 53-man roster.
Passing offense: C Not much from Patrick Mahomes, whose only two passes went to running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Former Mizzou star Blaine Gabbert put a nice touch on a 1-yard touchdown pass to Richie James, one play after missing him open in the end zone. James hauled in a 43-yarder to set up the touchdown.
quarterback Buechele had the substantial number of Chiefs fans in attendance at the Superdome on their feet for the final play of the third quarter:
He eluded two sacks to complete an 8-yard touchdown strike to Kekoa Crawford. Call it a mixed bag for wide receiver Rashee Rice, the Chiefs’ second-round pick this year. He made a nice grab for a first down, but he also had a drop in the second quarter.
A shout-out to Nikko Remigio, the undrafted rookie slot from Fresno State, who finished with a team best four receptions for 71 yards.
D The Chiefs got creative on their opening possession but couldn’t pick up a yard. They lined up tackles Jawaan Taylor and Donovan Smith on the same side and sent a direct snap to Blake Bell.
The Saints sniffed it out and Bell couldn’t get the 1 yard needed for the first down. No big moments from undrafted rookie back Deneric Prince, who is having an excellent camp.
D The Chiefs’ biggest concern on the first couple of series was their lack of a pass-rush. Saints QB Derek Carr, who always got off passes quickly with the Raiders, brought that trait to New Orleans on the game’s opening drive. He completed six of eight pass attempts for 70 yards against the Chiefs’ starting defense and was hardly pressured.
Saints backup Jameis Winston had plenty of time on another TD pass, also against the Chiefs’ starters. Where are you, Chris Jones? Say this for the reserves: Just before halftime, after a Buechele interception set up the Saints at the Chiefs 38, the defense came up with a Drue Tranquill sack and pressure to force a punt. Also: Tackle Danny Shelton turned in a nice moment when he grabbed Winston’s leg and held on for a sack.
Rookie DB Chamarri Conner recorded a sack in the first half that forced the Saints to punt for the first time. And corner Kahlef Hailassie, who ran with the second and third teams, came up with the Chiefs’ first interception of the preseason, a leaping grab along the sideline.
D On the game’s second snap, Alvin Kamara rumbled for 12 yards as the Saints’ offense established itself early. Special teams: C Dave Toub said the Chiefs wouldn’t fair-catch anything in this game, and that was mostly the case. But little was gained in the return game. Kick coverage was solid. Kicker Harrison Butker got on the field in the fourth quarter to boot a 36-yard field goal.