Chiefs may have a new running back
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said the team is going to a running back-by-committee approach this season, one which may be influenced by the play of rookie running back Darwin Thompson. For those unfamiliar with Thompson, the 5-8, 185 pound running back was a sixth-round pick out of Utah State and showed the Chiefs the added dimension he brings to their offense.
Thompson had five carries for 22 yards and a 29-yard touchdown reception in which he showcased his speed to find the end zone. Thompson was the No. 3 running back Saturday night, entering the game earlier than expected since No. 1 running back Damien Williams sat out the opener with an injury.
In his first game in a NFL uniform, Caldwell estimated he had 20-25 family and friends to watch him play in his hometown.
“Oh, man. There’s nothing like running out there in Arrowhead Stadium with all those Chiefs fans out there,” said Caldwell, who ran for 2,885 yards during his career at Lee’s Summit North High School.
“It’s kinda crazy. Just to have those kids look up to you from Kansas City. Not a lot of people make it out there. Just to show them (that) it doesn’t matter what background you come from; you can make it out.”
Somewhat shockingly, Patrick Mahomes played in Week 1 of the preseason and in Mahomes fashion defied the Football Gods’ conventional wisdom, slinging it downfield and absolutely terrifying Chiefs and fantasy fans with a scramble to the 1-yard line. “Regular season I’d dive in there for the touchdown,” Mahomes said in a mid-game interview with Chiefs color analyst Trent Green. New addition Carlos Hyde ended the Chiefs’ opening drive with a 1-yard touchdown and everyone breathed a sigh of relief as Mahomes returned to the sideline, his trademark ear-to-ear grin displayed prominently. With that ability to exhale also came the this-just-in revelation that Mahomes is still as outstanding as we remember. On the drive’s first play from scrimmage, he found Travis Kelce (yes, he too was playing) deep down the sideline for a 36-yard gain. Mahomes was perfect on the night, going 4-for-4, slinging, smiling and emerging healthy above all else.
Early in the third quarter, he found the end zone. Thompson circled out of the backfield and took a short pass from LItton. Thompson was too quick for the covering linebacker and used his speed to finish the play.
“I didn’t know it was coming to me,” Thompson said. “As soon as I broke off the linebacker, there it was. It was like it was in slow motion ... I was like, ‘Get going fast, take off now.’ As soon as I got the ball, you lift you knees. Somebody’s on your tail.”
Starting quarterback Patrick Mahomes watched from the sideline and liked what he saw.
“The explosiveness you see when he gets the ball in his hands, it’s special, it’s why he got drafted,” Mahomes said. “For him to be able to shake that defender in man-to-man coverage and make the catch and then run.”
So this is why the Chiefs drafted Mecole Hardman
It’s going to be difficult for second-round rookie Mecole Hardman to become a major piece of the Chiefs’ offense given just how stacked the team is at the skill positions, but Hardman should contribute immediately with important chunk plays. Already on Saturday night, it was evident why the Chiefs drafted him. It was also evident why it’s going to be hard to keep him off the field.
Tight end Deon Yelder emerged as the iron man of the night, leading the team with both 41 offensive snaps and 15 special teams plays. Safety Armani Watts played the most of any defender with 50 snaps on defense and seven special teams reps.
The Chiefs first-team offense played just eight snaps before retiring for the night. Tight end Travis Kelce and receiver Tyreek Hill played a single snap, just the opening play of the drive. Kelce hauled in a 36-yard reception on the play.
Defensive starters began rotating out immediately, with four players exiting after two plays.
Nine Chiefs did not play against Cincinnati, including running back Damien Williams and defensive linemen Frank Clark, Alex Okafor, Emmanuel Ogbah and Xavier Williams
Passing yards: Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (4,702). Drew Brees is the only player in NFL history to throw for 5,000 yards in consecutive seasons, accomplishing that feat from 2011 through ‘13. Complementary football is influential in terms of forecasting quarterback play. For example, the 2012 Saints ranked last in defensive yards allowed per game (440.1) while also giving up the second-most points per game (28.4) -- and that season, Brees averaged 323.6 passing yards per game and threw for 43 touchdowns (ranking first in both categories). The decrease in Mahomes’ passing yardage in my projection (he threw for 5,097 in 2018) stems partially from the fact that the Chiefs’ defense is forecasted to significantly improve from last season, when Kansas City allowed 405.5 yards per game (second-worst in the NFL) and 49 offensive touchdowns (tied for 28th).
Kyle Shurmur, the son of New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, is vying for the Chiefs’ No. 3 quarterback spot behind Patrick Mahomes and Chad Henne. Shurmur entered in the second quarter and quarterbacked the team until Chase Litton relieved him two minutes into the second half of the Chiefs’ 38-17 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“When Chad was done, I was going in,” Shurmur said. “I just had to stay ready. It was cool.”
While taking 27 snaps or 38% of the plays, the 6-4, 225-pound undrafted rookie did not post good numbers. Shurmur went just 6-of-15 for 77 yards, but the 22 year old had some highlights, including a shovel pass to rookie Mecole Hardman on a jet sweep that went for a 17-yard touchdown.
With 53 seconds left in the first half and the Chiefs on the Cincinnati 17, quarterback Kyle Shurmur threw a third-down pass in the direction of receiver Byron Pringle on the right side of the end zone. Bengals cornerback Darius Phillips appeared to initiate contact with Pringle while the ball was in the air. But Pringle commited a much more obvious infraction, blatantly shoving Phillips in the head to gain separation.
Phillips recovered from the push, batting the ball away for an incompletion, forcing a fourth down and a looming 35-yard field-goal attempt for the Chiefs.
Replay official Darryl Lewis initiated a review of potential offensive pass interference. And the review took a long time, slamming the brakes on the game action while Riveron sorted everything out in New York.
Riveron ultimately decided to let the ruling on the field stand, with no call of offensive pass interference, defensive pass interference, or offseting fouls — and with no explanation provided by referee Craig Wrolstad regarding the basis for the decision.
Around the league
The Baltimore Ravens made the playoffs last year, and it is easy to see that as the beginning of something bigger.
Lamar Jackson stunned the NFL, stepping in for Joe Flacco at quarterback and running for 695 yards and five touchdowns and then tossing two scores and running for 54 yards in a playoff loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.
All the Ravens have done since is mold their offense around Jackson. Flacco is gone (traded to the Denver Broncos). Robert Griffin III is returning as the mentor. Running back Mark Ingram Jr. arrived in free agency as the sledgehammer for the backfield. First-round wide receiver Marquise Brown is a top target. And despite some defensive losses, Earl Thomas boosts the secondary.
Catanzaro surprisingly retired from the NFL following a forgettable preseason opener in which he missed two extra points in the Jets’ 31-22 loss to the New York Giants Thursday night. Catanzaro missed a kick to the right and one to the left on his first two attempts before finally converting one with 14 seconds left in the game. He finished 1 of 3 on extra points and made his only field goal attempt, a 34-yarder, in the second quarter.
NFL Network’s James Palmer and NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport confirmed Sunday that Riddick will miss the next 6-8 weeks after sustaining a slight fracture in his shoulder during Thursday’s preseason game against the Seahawks. Luckily, Riddick will not be required to undergo surgery, which would likely have caused him to miss even more time.
Broncos reporter Mike Klis of 9News first reported the news.
With no Riddick in the lineup, the Broncos will start the season trotting out the same group they had all of last season: lead back Phillip Lindsay, Devontae Booker and Royce Freeman.
In case you missed it at Arrowhead Pride
Many were hopeful that Charvarius Ward would be much improved from last year, but so far he’s off to a bad start. He gave a up a couple of huge plays, including a 26-yard pass that set the Bengals up for a touchdown on their opening drive. This is certainly bad news for a team that’s pretty desperate at corner.
The battle for the third quarterback spot is heating up — and Chase Litton might’ve hurt his case on Saturday. He completed 10 out of 14 passes and threw an interception in the third quarter. Otherwise he was quite productive. He threw two touchdowns that helped to make up for his mistake, but he’s going to have to limit the turnovers in order to stay on the roster for another year.
Follow Arrowhead Pride on Social Media
AP Facebook Page: Click here to like our page
AP Instagram: Follow @ArrowheadPride
AP Twitter: Follow @ArrowheadPride
AP Editor-in-Chief: Pete Sweeney: Follow @pgsween
610 Sports Twitter: Follow @610SportsKC