Seahawks vs. Chiefs: 10 Things We Learned from Kansas City's 44-14 Loss
The Chiefs came into this preseason game preparing to play their starters into the third quarter without serious injury. They accomplished that, but not much else.
Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks ran roughshod over the Chiefs in what was likely the last time starters will see extensive action until the regular season begins.
The offense lacked continuity and the defense was awful, but fans might find solace in the fact that this game has little meaning.
Here are ten things that we learned from this embarrassing loss.
Matt Cassel Is Very Comfortable in His New Offense
Matt Cassel's career as a Chief can best be described as a mixed bag.
The former USC product led Kansas City to a division crown in 2010, and finished that season by tossing 27 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.
Outside of that year, Cassel has been mediocre at best. He was having an abysmal season in 2011 before he injured his hand in Week 9, but Cassel looks very confident in the new scheme of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.
Cassel suffered through a tough first quarter tonight, but it was obvious that he is much more comfortable in his new offense.
Kansas City's receivers weren't doing Cassel any favors during the first frame, considering they dropped four passes.
The offense came to life in the second quarter, and Cassel led the team on an impressive 17-play drive that ended with a nice touchdown throw to Dexter McCluster.
He is never going to be a guy who can lead a team to victory with his arm alone, but Cassel looks a lot more like 2010 version of himself than guy the who threw only 10 touchdowns last season.
Two third-quarter turnovers were not what fans were hoping for out of their starting quarterback, but Cassel has still made more impressive throws this preseason than all of last year combined.
Cassel finished 19-of-34 and he looked sure of his decisions during the first three quarters.
Dontari Poe Has Much Work to Do
The Chiefs filled a huge hole on their defense when they drafted nose tackle Dontari Poe with the 11th selection in this year's draft.
Poe looked decent on passing situations this evening, but when Seattle ran the ball, Poe often looked over-matched.
He struggled to hold his ground, and Romeo Crennel has admitted that Poe has a lot of work to do.
Starter Anthony Toribio has been impressive during camp and was playing extremely well in tonight's game, but was injured in the first quarter, which thrust Poe into the heat of game action.
Poe will have to learn quickly if he hopes to make an impact in 2012.
Dexter McCluster Is Going to Have a Breakout Season
It seems like he has been a man without a home during the past two seasons, but Dexter McCluster is finally locked in at receiver in Brian Daboll's new offense.
He caught 46 passes out of the backfield in 2011, but McCluster has yet to leave his offensive imprint at the NFL level.
This preseason, he has looked very sharp as a slot guy and has become an absolute favorite of quarterback Matt Cassel.
It continued in tonight's game when Cassel hit McCluster seven times for 61 yards and a touchdown.
McCluster is going to have to battle for looks in a loaded Kansas City receiving corps, but he is primed to become a valuable offensive weapon in 2012.
Fans have been anxiously waiting for McCluster to have an impact like Darren Sproles and Wes Welker, and maybe this is the year where that finally happens.
Tamba Hali Gets Held Every Single Play
Have you watched a Kansas City game lately? Then chances are you have seen linebacker Tamba Hali getting mugged by a variety of opposing left tackles on what seems like every play.
The funny part? The holding penalty is never called, and it was no different tonight against Seattle.
Russell Okung held Hali's jersey and wrapped his arms around his neck multiple times in the first quarter, and the only penalties assessed were two cheap roughing-the-passer calls that went against Hali.
He is facing a Week 1 suspension, but Hali is poised to have his best season yet.
The Chiefs Need Brandon Flowers Healthy
Cornerback Brandon Flowers remains one of the most criminally underrated defensive players in the league, and he has been sorely missed in all three preseason games.
Flowers has an injured foot, and his status for the season opener is uncertain.
Second-year pro Jalil Brown filled in for Flowers tonight against the Seahawks, and was atrocious.
Brown was beat often while being billed for two costly pass interference calls in the second quarter.
Opposing corner Stanford Routt was not too impressive either, and it is easy to see that the Chiefs desperately miss the departed Brandon Carr in their secondary.
Rookie Russell Wilson torched the Chiefs' defensive backs tonight. Sam Bradford did the same thing last week in St. Louis.
With a returning Eric Berry, the Chief's secondary was thought to be a real team strength, but Kansas City is in much need of a healthy Brandon Flowers.
Jamaal Charles Is Fully Healed...and He Is a Very Bad Man
The hopes of the Kansas City Chiefs were dashed last season when Jamaal Charles went down with a season-ending knee injury in Week 2.
Charles is one the league's brightest stars, and he looks fully ready to begin his assault on opposing defenses in 2012.
In tonight's game against Seattle, Charles carried the ball six times for 32 yards, and it seems like he hasn't lost a step.
His night included an awe-inspiring 12-yard pickup where Charles reversed field twice and showcased his trademark elusiveness and speed.
Charles and newcomer Peyton Hillis should form one of the best backfield tandems in the NFL.
Derrick Johnson's Star Is Burning Bright
He has been a bit of late bloomer, but Derrick Johnson is on the cusp of being one of the best inside linebackers in the league.
Last season was a breakout year for Johnson, and he has thrived in Romeo Crennel's 3-4 scheme.
Johnson excels at everything required of him.
The former Longhorn's skill was on display this evening, and Johnson made two fantastic plays behind the line of scrimmage during the first quarter against the Seahawks.
Patrick Willis and Ray Lewis are the gold standard when it comes to linebacker play, but Johnson is creeping very close to the best defensive players in the NFL.
If the Chiefs ever find a stud nose tackle to free him up somewhat, Derrick Johnson could easily become an NFL defensive MVP.
If Matt Cassel Gets Hurt, the Season Is Doomed
Fans may not be in love with Matt Cassel, but he is most likely the the second most important player on the team.
Brady Quinn and Ricky Stanzi are battling for the backup job, and neither has proved himself worthy of being an NFL starter.
Stanzi had two turnovers during a short frame last week against St. Louis, and Quinn's play has left much to be desired as well.
Quinn finished the game tonight with 44 yards, but failed to spark the offense again.
One thing is certain: The Chiefs need to keep Cassel healthy in 2012.
Russell Wilson Is the Real Deal
It would be a travesty to cover this game and not talk about the former Wisconsin standout quarterback.
Russell Wilson burned Kansas City for 185 passing yards and made a host of plays with his feet during three quarters of excellent play.
Wilson may be considered too short to be a NFL starter, but he looked the part tonight.
Matt Flynn was brought in by coach Pete Carrol to fight for the starting role, and it looks like Flynn may have a tough battle on his hands.
Its Never as Bad as It Seems, or as Good as It Seems
After the first preseason game, Kansas City fans were thrilled as the starters dominated the Arizona Cardinals.
The offensive tempo was evident, the running game flourished and Matt Cassel was remarkably efficient.
Defensively, Romeo Crennel's squad was stout and caused havoc behind the line of scrimmage.
The last two games have been anything but impressive for the Kansas City Chiefs, however.
St. Louis' first-string offense decimated the team's defensive starters and Sam Bradford had a field day, throwing two touchdowns on his first two drives with ease.
Tonight's game against Seattle was more of the same and if you are a Kansas City fan, you have to be disheartened.
It is only preseason though, and you have to be encouraged by the presence of the running game and the development of Matt Cassel.