You are probably aware the Kansas City Chiefs lost last night. However, contrary to popular belief, the sky is not falling, the team is not about to go 5-11, and Derrick Johnson is not a bum who has lost the ability to tackle.
Some stuff went wrong on Sunday including Eric Fisher, penalties out the wazoo and, well Eric Fisher. Still, a litany of things went right despite Eric Berry and Jamaal Charles sitting out of the contest. So let's take a look at some of the topics which give us good pause.
1. Dwayne Bowe
Bowe had a really nice night against the Panthers, racking up five catches for 62 yards. There has been plenty of talk about Bowe being in great shape, and I thought it was showcased in his run-after-catch ability. Normally, Bowe has to break tackles to gain yardage, but this time was breaking away from corners and into the open field. It was a very good sign for a team desperate at the receiver position.
2. Front seven
The Chiefs had tackling issues, but they also created ample pressure on Cam Newton. Newton was sacked twice by Kansas City and forced to throw the ball away a few other occasions. It was impressive to see the front dominate like that without exotic packages. The broken tackles are not something I'd worry about going forward. It isn't like Johnson and Husain Abdullah forgot how to tackle. Sometimes, you have a bad night.
3. Chris Owens
Owens played really well as both a corner and blitzer. Owens was all kinds of inside Kelvin Benjamin's head, getting him to take a personal foul penalty and on the next play, almost drawing another (had it been witnessed, it surely would have). Owens had 2.5 sacks last year and showed why, constantly getting around the edge to create havoc in the pocket. This could be a really nice weapon for the Chiefs.
4. Alex Smith
Smith wasn't flashy, but he made some really nice throws under duress. Had penalties not killed a few drives, Smith had Kansas City moving very well considering it was against the second-ranked defense in football without Charles. Smith was 14-of-22 for 127 yards, but started much better than that. Before the line went to complete crap, Smith was nearly flawless.
5. Aaron Murray
Murray looked legit sans one bad, typical rookie throw. Murray had a couple of excellent throws, including an absolute bullet to Frankie Hammond Jr. that went for 51 yards before Rishaw Johnson got it called back. Murray had good pocket presence and showed really nice touch. While it wasn't a difficult throw, Murray hit Travis Kelce in stride for a touchdown. Speaking of which...
6. Travis Kelce
Kelce led the team in receiving for the second consecutive game with 63 yards and a touchdown on four receptions. Of course, the key play was the 43-yard touchdown in which he ran a seam route, caught the pass and then dragged some hapless defender 30 feet into the end zone. I can't emphasize this enough, he dragged the guy 30 feet without slowing down at all. It's like the Chiefs acquired Gronk, gave him the same number and told him to use the alias Travis Kelce. (Good place to remind you this is just preseason)
There were plenty of really big positives to take away from this game, especially without Berry and Charles. The Chiefs had two major problems; the secondary and the left side of the offensive line. It's easy to breakdown though.
Jeff Allen needs to play better but won't kill the team. He proved that last year, playing mediocre football at times and yet the team went to the playoffs. Fisher could be another story considering he's protecting the quarterback's blind side against the opponent's best pass rushers.
The secondary should not be as bad as it looked. Sean Smith was brutal against the Panthers, but he showed last season that he can play. I'm not as worried about him. The two guys who are going to see starting minutes, Marcus Cooper and Owens, played well. The secondary won't be incredible, but it won't be this bad either. I expect average, which could be good enough.