The Kansas City Chiefs kicked off the preseason on Saturday afternoon against the Chicago Bears, and while the Chiefs ultimately fell to Chicago – 19-14 – there were plenty of positives to take away from the game.
“It was good to get a game under our belt,” said Head Coach Andy Reid. “I think the [first team] did well on both sides of the ball, the [second team] did a good job and it was great experience for [the third and fourth team] to get in there.”
Indeed, the first team found immediate success on both sides of the ball. The Chiefs’ defense began the game by forcing a three-and-out, as defensive tackle Chris Jones sacked Bears’ quarterback Justin Fields for an eight-yard loss on third down. The first-team offense then followed that up with an 11-play, 72-yard drive that ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Patrick Mahomes to tight end Blake Bell.
Mahomes – who only led the opening series before relinquishing his duties to quarterback Chad Henne – completed 6-of-7 passes for 60 yards and the score.
“We did what we were supposed to do,” Mahomes said. “We spread the football around, got a bunch of different guys involved and found a way to get in the end zone…It was a good day and something that we can build on.”
Mahomes found a different receiver on each of his six completions, connecting with fullback Michael Burton, wide receiver Mecole Hardman, tight end Travis Kelce, wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Blake Bell on the series.
“It’s going to be a lot like that this year. It’s going to come from everywhere,” Mahomes said. “It’s going to be hard for teams to game plan against [us]. Obviously, Travis is going to have a lot of catches – that’s just who he is – but other than that, it’s going to come from the whole group. I think the guys have kind of embraced that, and whenever their number gets called, they’re going to make a play.”
Another receiver, veteran Justin Watson, made sure to get involved a bit later. In fact, Watson, who signed with the Chiefs during this past offseason, went on to lead all pass-catchers with five receptions for 45 yards and a touchdown. His score – a 22-yard pass from quarterback Shane Buechele – provided Kansas City with a two-touchdown lead during the final moments of the first half.
“Big time props to Shane. We had two five-yard routes on the outside, but Shane saw that [the defense] was in a two-high, split safety [look] and saw that void in the middle there, so he yelled out to me to run that post route,” Watson said. “It took some moxie, but he delivered a strike. It was a great play and great adjustment.”
The excitement around Watson’s score continued during the extra point, too, as safety Justin Reid – who has been vocal about his desire to attempt a kick in a game – took the field for the extra point and successfully booted the football through the uprights. It was a terrific moment that ignited euphoric celebration on the sideline.
“I can finally check that one [off the bucket list]. It was a great feeling,” Reid said. “The coaches let me know that if it looked good in pre-game and if the opportunity presented itself, they would give me a shot. Pre-game went well, I got the opportunity and it went down the middle. It was awesome.”