Going into the third preseason game, the Kansas City Chiefs had some holes to address. Head coach Andy Reid knew he had to make some adjustments before the regular season kicks off in September.
Following Saturday night’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Chiefs answered some questions and improved in some areas. Reid and his coaching staff have to be happy with what they saw for the most part as they get close to the first round of cuts.
In this slideshow, I will go over what we learned in Kansas City’s overtime win against Pittsburgh.
For the first two weeks of the preseason, Dwayne Bowe did not record a catch. While Bowe knows he has the No. 1 wide receiver spot locked up, it would be beneficial for him to establish some familiarity with his new quarterback in preseason games.
He did exactly that on Saturday night.
Bowe and Alex Smith connected consistently throughout the first half—six times, to be exact.
Donnie Avery also stepped up in the passing game, bringing in six catches as well.
Bowe and Avery’s impact in the passing game on Saturday night was crucial after the Chiefs traded away Jon Baldwin, who was projected by many to be the No. 2 wide receiver. Now, it appears the Chiefs could be fine if Avery replaces Baldwin as the new wide receiver opposite Bowe.
One of Smith’s highlights that stood out the most against the Steelers was when he scrambled 38 yards near the left side to Pittsburgh’s seven-yard line, which eventually led to a field goal.
To most, it was a known fact that Smith likes to run with the ball, and Chiefs fans got to see the quarterback show off his scrambling abilities. He saw a big hole and took advantage. He also got help from Anthony Fasano's downfield blocking, which allowed Smith to reach the seven-yard line.
Don’t be surprised to see Smith run the ball more, especially if he is given the path to run.
With Jamaal Charles also on the team, Kansas City could finish in the top five in rushing for the third time in four years.
Tysyn Hartman has had a good preseason so far. In Week 1 against the New Orleans Saints, he came up big with an interception. Against the Steelers, he got off to a bad start in the second quarter on defense.
But the former Kansas State Wildcat quickly redeemed himself.
First, he blocked Shaun Suisham’s field-goal attempt from 52 yards away. The block allowed the offense to move inside Pittsburgh’s 10-yard line and get its first score of the game.
Shortly after the block, Hartman and Eric Berry invaded the pocket and sacked Ben Roethlisberger, forcing a 3rd-and-13 situation for the Steelers.
Hartman finished the game with seven tackles, co-leading the team for most tackles with Derrick Johnson on Saturday night.
With Hartman making plays on defense and special teams, the coaching staff will strongly consider him to be part of the 53-man roster and will have him see some time on defense throughout the year.
Chiefs fans were excited last week when Quintin Demps took a kickoff return 104 yards for a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers.
This week, the Chiefs got another touchdown on special teams but from another player.
Knile Davis, who fumbled on offense before making up for his mistake, took a kick return back for a touchdown against the Steelers to tie the game. He dodged one defender and used his breakaway speed to reach the end zone in the third quarter.
Even more impressive is the fact that he went 109 yards on the return, which would be considered the longest kick return in NFL history had it been a regular-season game.
Special teams coordinator Dave Toub has to be happy with the production he is getting from his returners this preseason. Going into the season, Toub has multiple options he can use on special teams.
While facing quarterbacks Drew Brees and Colin Kaepernick in the first two weeks of the preseason, Kansas City's starting defense accepted the challenge of trying to prevent the opposing offenses from scoring a touchdown.
The starting defense survived the first two games without allowing a touchdown.
Against the Steelers, the defense stepped up again and tried to limit the Steelers to field goals rather than touchdowns. Kansas City's defense allowed a touchdown in the first quarter after Andy Reid's gamble on 4th-and-1 at Kansas City's own 21-yard line failed, which allowed Pittsburgh to form a quick and easy touchdown drive.
Outside of that, the defense made all the plays necessary to help put the offense in position to take the lead and build momentum.
If this carries over to the regular season, the offense will be given many opportunities to take the lead, putting the Chiefs in position to come away with a lot of wins.
Quarterback Chase Daniel stepped up to the occasion late in the game when the Chiefs needed it the most.
He led the Chiefs on an 11-play drive late in the fourth quarter, which was capped off by a field goal from Ryan Succop to tie the game at 20.
In overtime, Daniel impressed a lot of people to lift the Chiefs over the Steelers. He converted on third down three times, including a 3rd-and-16 play where he ran 18 yards for a first down. But the biggest third-down play came later when he threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Rico Richardson.
Daniel had a fairy quiet preseason the first two weeks and needed to player better against the Steelers to prove he can be a viable option behind Smith this year.
Kansas City won Saturday's preseason contest, 26-20. But someone inside the production truck of the Chiefs broadcast team accidentally credited the game-winning touchdown to the Steelers.
Preseason games are usually produced by a local crew, and the quality of the production may not look the same as a televised regular-season game. However, graphic errors, like this one, must be avoided.