The Kansas City Chiefs were sharper in Saturday night's 30-12 preseason win over the Cincinnati Bengals than they were in their previous outing, and few of their players were better than rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. He led the Chiefs to touchdowns on each of his drives after entering the game in the second quarter in relief of starterAlex Smith.
QB depth chart: There won't be any movement this week, but each of the top three quarterbacks played well. Smith was again sharp, completing all but one of his nine passes and leading two scoring drives. Mahomes was 10-of-14 for 88 yards and two touchdowns, and third QB Tyler Bray threw a TD pass of 18 yards to Seantavius Jones on his first play after entering the game in the third quarter.
When it was starters vs. starters, the Chiefs looked ...: ready for the regular season. The offense scored on each of its three possessions in the first half, including one with Mahomes at quarterback but surrounded by the regulars. The Chiefs weren't as sharp on defense, but, like last season, held once the opponent got into field goal range. The Bengals managed a pair of field goals in three drives against the Kansas City starters.
One reason to be concerned: The short-yardage running game continues to be a problem. With their starting offensive line in the game, the Chiefs ran five times needing two yards or less for a first down or a touchdown; they converted only once. Spencer Ware, the Chiefs' biggest and most physical runner, didn't get the ball in any of those situations, but this was a shortcoming for the Chiefs last season even when he was the ball carrier.
That guy could start: Tight end Demetrius Harris won't be the regular tight end. That's Travis Kelce's job. But Harris solidified his roster spot by catching two touchdown passes. The Chiefs like their multiple-tight-end personnel groupings, so Harris will get a lot of playing time regardless of whether he's in the game on the opening snap.
Rookie watch: After getting the ball just twice in the first preseason game, running back Kareem Hunt was featured plenty with the starters before leaving the game because of an apparent injury. Hunt rushed eight times for 40 yards and caught three passes for 23 yards before hobbling off the field in the second quarter. He did not return to the game.
Mahomes makes like Smith: His running game wasn't as impressive as his passing, but Mahomes did a decent impression of Smith by scrambling for 29 yards on three carries. Mahomes is always looking to throw before he takes off, and had this to say about that quality after practice one day during the week: "Throughout my whole football career, I have always known I wasn't the fastest guy. I'm a little quick. I can run a little bit, but I know I can't make a lot happen. So my thinking always was, 'Why don't you put it in the fast guys' hands and let them make plays?' So when I scramble and do those things, I try to look downfield, look for the playmakers, put it in their hands and let them make all the big plays happen."
Kelce gets involved early: Kelce didn't play in the preseason-opening loss to the 49ers because of a sore knee but made up for lost time on the Chiefs' first drive. Kelce got downfield to catch a 36-yard pass Smith placed perfectly between two defenders.