Kansas City Chiefs, While Better, Show Room For Improvement Against Vikings
Leading up to Friday night's game against the Minnesota Vikings, everyone was talking about one thing: Brett Favre. The future Hall of Famer came out of retirement...again...to join the Vikings, and it just so happened that his first action as the new starting quarterback would come against the Chiefs.
Unfortunately for Favre, who had only three days to work with his new receivers, the Chiefs defense was up to the challenge.
Favre connected on only one of his four passes, a four-yard completion to rookie Percy Harvin, and left the night after a bone-crushing hit from linebacker Corey Mays.
Mays and the rest of the Chiefs starting defense did an excellent job against Favre and the NFL's leading rusher from a year ago, Adrian Peterson. The Chiefs held Peterson to 44 yards on ten carries, including a big fourth-and-one stop by Jarrad Page that killed Minnesota's opening drive.
On offense, the Chiefs were much better in the passing game than a week ago against the Texans, with quarterback Matt Cassel completing nine of 14 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe was also impressive, leading the team with three catches for 37 yards, including a Cassel four-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. The passing game’s production was in spite of an offensive line that struggled yet again to establish and control the line of scrimmage. The line had several breakdowns, allowing three sacks and forcing Cassel to have to scramble to evade pressure from a Vikings front four that was without starters Jared Allen and Pat Williams.
The Chiefs running game was also a victim of the offensive line’s poor play, getting only 29 yards on 12 carries from starter Larry Johnson and backup Jamaal Charles. Aside from a Johnson 18-yard burst at the beginning of the second quarter, the running game was virtually non-existent.
Here are the positives and negatives to take away from Friday’s loss…
The Chiefs' offensive line needs to get much better. If the offense is going to establish any consistency this season, it's vital that Todd Haley gets improvement out of this group.
It's starting to become apparent why the Chargers were willing to let Mike Goff go, and the Chiefs may need to start grooming Colin Brown to be the right tackle sooner rather than later.
Cassel has been exactly what the Chiefs expected him to be when they acquired him from New England...steady and solid. While he's no stranger to pressure after being sacked 47 times last year, he's going to need to continue to be quick with his passes if the Chiefs line can't get its act together.
While Johnson led the Chiefs with six tackles in their preseason opener against the Texans, you barely knew he was on the field against the Vikings. For this defense to develop some consistency, they're going to need consistent play out of Johnson.
Corey Mays and Jovan Belcher
Mays and Belcher have been the most productive players on the defense through two preseason games. Both play with passion and quickness and are sure tacklers, something this defense hasn't had in several seasons.
Mays should continue to see plenty of time with an aging Zach Thomas playing ahead of him, and Belcher is already this team's best special team's player.