​ Andy Reid dwells on penalties, defensive lapses in breaking down loss to Bears

Aug 25, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (18) runs in front of Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Anthony Hitchens (53) in the first quarter at Soldier Field.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With nearly 24 hours reflection on Saturdays' 27-20 loss to the Chicago Bears, head coach Andy Reid felt the game would have played out very differently if not for key penalties and poor tackling on the defensive side of the ball.

“It was sloppy and we've got to make sure that we take care of that and clean that up,” Reid said during his Sunday conference call with reporters.

The miscues started with the game's opening kickoff, which Harrison Butker squibbed out of bounds setting up the Bears with a short field at the 40-yard line. A 15-yard facemask penalty on linebacker Anthony Hitchens helped Chicago along the way to a quick touchdown drive, capped off by running back Benny Cunningham breaking a tackle at the line of scrimmage on his way to a 13-yard score.

Hitchens along with inside linebacker running mate Reggie Ragland made their preseason debuts for the Chiefs on Saturday.

“We didn't tackle well enough on the defensive side but the positive was we got some guys back in there to play,” Reid said. “We got to play better but they got a chance to play and particularly our inside linebackers, so that was good.”

The troubles continued later in the half. The defense forced a punt from the Bears on their second offensive drive. But an illegal formation penalty against Spencer Ware for lining up over the long snapper extended the drive, which ended with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Chase Daniel to Kevin White.

Patrick Mahomes and the first-team offense finished its day with scoring opportunity opening the second half. Mahomes scrambled for a first down at the Bears' 1-yard line. But a holding penalty on Eric Fisher turned first-and-goal into third-and-12, and the Chiefs failed to convert on a fourth down try.

“You're down in the red zone and you have a penalty,” Reid said. “Special teams penalties shot us in the foot. We were three-and-out on defense, great stand and come back with a penalty on special teams becomes an issue. Kick the ball out of bounds on special teams, that's an issue on the opening kickoff.”

Veterans taking a week off

The Chiefs face a short week with the Green Bay Packers coming to Arrowhead Stadium Thursday night. But don't expect to see too many veterans in the preseason finale. The veterans will spend much of the week preparing for the Los Angeles Chargers, the opponent in Week 1 of the regular season.

“We'll split practice up where you'll work part Chargers, part Packers,” Reid said. “We want to make sure we give the guys that are playing in this game to do okay. And you only have two days really. This is a cram session here now, so we're trying to get a lot done in a short period of time.”

Reid did not commit to whether safety Eric Berry might play in the preseason finale. He has yet to appear in a preseason game while nursing a sore heel. But one veteran who might see action is tight end Demetrius Harris. He played just four offensive snaps against the Bears and must sit out Week 1 against the Chargers due to a suspension.

“I'm not going to tell you yea or nay but those are types of situations I have put guys in on,” Reid said. “There's always a special thing in there that you might have to play somebody.”

The main goal of Thursday's game is evaluating the bottom of the roster one last time in game situations.

“But really we want to get a good look at those young guys and just make sure that we analyze them,” Reid said. “They didn't play a bunch, the thirds, they didn't get a ton of work (against Chicago). You want to make sure you come out of this and don't miss somebody and then give it to another team.”

Generating a pass rush

The Chiefs' secondary struggled against the Bears, but some of that lack of success comes from an inconsistent pass rush. The team's only sack against the Bears was wiped out by a penalty, and the team recorded just a single quarterback hit in the second half.

Starting edge rushers Justin Houston and Dee Ford have played sparingly in the preseason. They played just 11 snaps against the Bears. Ford has played 33 snaps through three games with Houston playing 23. The bulk of the work has gone to rookie Breeland Speaks and second-year rusher Tanoh Kpassagnon.

“Inevitably you'd like to have four guys there that you can rotate,” Reid said. “That's what you'd like so you keep guys fresh and fast. I just think it's important, especially when one of them's a rookie, I think it's important that they get play time.”

Reid says he knows what to expect from Houston and Ford. Keeping them fresh for the beginning of season outweighs any benefits of additional preseason snaps.

“They're coming out of this thing healthy, which is important,” Reid said. “Which has been an issue for both of them. They're in a good position right now. Then the young guys got some reps that I think are so valuable right now.”

Chiefs okay with Scandrick so far

The Chiefs signed free agent Orlando Scandrick a week ago and he immediately saw playing time against the Bears, picking up a tackle in 25 defensive snaps. He was also beaten on a double move by White on the 29-yard touchdown pass in the first half.

“Orlando actually did a pretty good job,” Reid said. “He had the one play were he got double moved in the game. But I thought he practiced well and then I thought he played well other than that play.”

Reid said he likes the aggressiveness Scandrick brings to the secondary.

“He made some other plays, cut the quarterback drawing off of it just by being aggressive on him. He made a nice tackle down field, opposite field, which was good. He's getting used to this defense and all the calls on everything. He'll be fine I think.”