KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs overcame a sluggish start in stringing together two sustained touchdown drives to take a 17-7 halftime lead against the Green Bay Packers in the team’s final preseason game at Arrowhead Stadium.
Green Bay’s Ty Montgomery turned in the biggest play of the first half, blocking a Dustin Colquitt punt and setting the Packers up at the Chiefs’ 14-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Joe Callahan found tight end Jared Cook for a 5-yard touchdown reception.
The Chiefs muddled through the first quarter before finally finding a rhythm on the final drive spilling into the second quarter. Knile Davis capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.
On the Chiefs next possession, Darrin Reaves finished a 58-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to make it 14-7.
The first half also marked back-to-back strong outings by the team’s run defense. The Chiefs found itself torched on the the ground against Seattle and Los Angeles before cracking down against Chicago a week ago. The Chiefs held the Packers to just 25 yards rushing in the first half.
The Packers appeared on the verge of tying the game up when linebacker Dadi Nicolas and safety Brock Vereen combined to create a fumble and a turnover late in the second quarter.
Other first half observations:
STRUGGLING OFFENSES OR SMOTHER DEFENSES?
Probably a little of both. Neither offense excelled, although the Chiefs first touchdown drive stood out. The offensive struggles may point to depth issues on both sides of the ball. But both defenses displayed playmaking ability, especially in the front seven. The defensive side of the ball is the Chiefs’ strength, and their reserves reflect that depth.
Wilson starting this game pretty much seals the deal that Justin March has won the starting job at inside linebacker alongside Derrick Johnson. But Wilson clearly didn’t sulk, roaming the field on defense and special teams in making big tackles. His only blemish was failing to come up with an interception on a ball batted by cornerback Kenneth Acker, but otherwise Wilson shined. The competition among March and Wilson appears to have made both players better, and provides needed depth with Josh Mauga lost for the season on injured reserve.
WIDE RECEIVER BATTLE
The Chiefs ran in the first quarter with Tyreek Hill and Rod Streater taking most of the reps, along with De’Anthony Thomas. Hill and Streater seem likely to snag the fourth and fifth spots. If there’s a sixth receiver the battle seems to be between veteran De’Anthony Thomas and rookie Demarcus Robinson. Thomas had several big catches for first downs, including a tough grab in traffic for a 22-yard gain. Robinson continued to excel on special teams in the gunner role, and that could be the deciding factor. Frankie Hammond maybe on the outside looking out, although the veteran made several big plays as well.
RUNNING BACK SHOWCASE
Davis and Reaves both scored on short touchdown drives, finishing with nearly identical stat lines in the first half. Reaves picked up 24 yards on six carries while Davis tallied 21 yards on six carries. The chances of the Chiefs keeping both to open the season on the 53-man roster are almost zero, but it’s possible one could crack the squad. Davis did nothing to hurt his stock amid rumors he may be available in a trade.