Chiefs coach Andy Reid said his team treated the week leading up to today’s preseason game in Chicago as a dress rehearsal for the regular season. If that’s the case, the first half proved this show is ready for Broadway.
The Chiefs dominated the first 30 minutes in all aspects. The only criticism is that the offense bogged down in the red zone a couple of times, otherwise the 13- 0 halftime lead could have been much bigger.
Quick observations from the first half:
SMITH IS READY
There is no real reason Alex Smith needs to take another snap in the preseason. Smith looks in mid-season form, finishing the first half 20-30 for 181 yards passing.
That makes Smith 32-46 for 354 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
RUN DEFENSE TIGHTENING UP
After getting gashed early against both Seattle and Los Angeles, the Chiefs starting defense held the Bears to just 35 yards rushing and 2 – that’s right, 2 – passing yards.
Derrick Johnson made several big plays early to get the defense rolling, and other stepped up as well including Chris Jones with an impressive batted pass and Dontari Poe with a sack and strip on the half’s final play.
SPREADING THE BALL
The Chiefs played mostly their starting lineup and top reserves, and Smith found a way to work nearly everyone into the action. Eight different receivers caught passes for the Chiefs, led by Jeremy Maclin with five receptions.
Smith also threaded the ball through very tight windows. Travis Kelce made two big catches for first downs on throws that depend on chemistry, rhythm and trust between quarterback and receiver. In addition to Maclin and Kelce, Smith is also developing strong connections with Chris Conley and Demetrius Harris as well.
SANTOS AS A WEAPON
Much discussion in the preseason has focused on the unintended consequence of the rule change on kickoffs. With touchbacks coming out the the 25-yard line, Teams are asking their kickers to put the ball outside the goal line to force returns and trust their coverage teams to stop run backs inside the 25.
So far Santos has delivered. The squib kick at the end of the first half was less than picture perfect, but the Chiefs have so far won the field position battle in the preseason by forcing kick returns and relying on special teams to make stops.