The Kansas City Chiefs couldn’t do anything right through much of the first half of Saturday afternoon’s final preseason game against the Cleveland Browns on GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Quarterbacks Shane Buechele and Blaine Gabbert combined for three interceptions — two of them returned for touchdowns — as Cleveland built a 29-16 halftime lead. But in the second half, Kansas City held on defense as the team scored on back-to-back third-quarter touchdown drives to take a 30-29 lead. Harrison Butker’s 44-yard field goal with 1:52 left in the game gave the team a 33-32 victory.
The Chiefs started the game kicking off to Cleveland after winning the coin toss and deferring their decision to the second half. The Browns returned it to the 18-yard line, with a tackle by rookie Cam Jones to start it off.
Cleveland’s starters got things going quickly, with a big completion over the middle to get them near midfield. A few snaps later, a botched handoff ended up on the ground — and linebacker Leo Chenal dove on it to give the Chiefs possession.
The Chiefs’ offense came out with the starting offensive line, but many of the other veterans resting. Third-year quarterback Shane Buechele took the snaps, finding running back Jerick McKinnon on a screen pass to convert third down and advance into Browns’ territory.
From there, Kansas City eventually settled for the 32-yard field goal. The successful kick gave the Chiefs a 3-0 lead.
The Chiefs’ second-team defense took over on the next drive, starting with two wins to set up a third-and-7. On the conversion attempt, the pass was too low for a completion — but undrafted rookie cornerback Reese Taylor made sure of that by being right there. It was a quick three-and-out.
Buechele looked to get things going on his second drive of the game, but threw into too tight of a window on a rollout on third-and-1. Former Chiefs’ safety Juan Thornhill picked it off for Cleveland, taking it back 34 yards for a touchdown. The Browns went for two after a penalty, punching it in to take an 8-3 lead.
Buechele’s attempt at bouncing back didn’t go so well. After drifting a throw to an open Justyn Ross on the sideline, his tight-window throw downfield to wide receiver Cornell Powell bounced into the Browns’ hands for an interception.
With the starters still on the field, the Browns took over in the red zone. They quickly got into third-and-4,, but Watson found tight end David Njoku in the corner of the end zone for a score. Safety Mike Edwards was trailing as the ball was caught. A good kick made the score 15-3 Cleveland.
Buechele’s first attempt of the next drive was batted down, a sign of another drive that didn’t result in points. Two plays later, a quick roll out was designed for rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice, but the ball went through his hands for an incompletion. The Chiefs punted away.
Cleveland’s first play was blown up by Kansas City’s pass rush, with defensive linemen Charles Omenihu, Malik Herring, and Danny Shelton all swarming on Watson for a sack. However, a questionable call holding call on safety Chamarri Conner gave the Browns a fresh set of downs. A few snaps later, wide receiver Amari Cooper found space downfield, gaining 53 yards to near the red zone.
The Browns’ rushing attack advanced them to third-and-goal near the 2-yard line — and got them in the end zone from there. Cleveland owned a 22-3 lead after the successful point-after kick.
The Chiefs’ offense finally showed some life on the following drive, with fourth-year running back La’Mical Perine bouncing a handoff to the outside and gaining 30 yards on a race down the sideline. After that, tight end Matt Bushman made a nice completion over the middle, giving Kansas City a promising drive as the first period ended.
A completion to Justyn Ross got the second quarter going, earning a first down with a quick pass. However, a drop back on third-and-8 a few snaps later went badly, with a hard sack by multiple Browns’ defenders. It was, however, negated by a defensive penalty.
Running back La’Mical Perine made another nice play, catching a quick pass and getting close to the pylon. A few snaps later, Buechele gave wide receiver Justyn Ross an opportunity to show off his contested-catch skills. Ross went to the sky for the pass in the corner of the end zone, securing it to tighten the Browns’ lead to 22-10.
Cleveland’s backup quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson took over on the next drive, but quickly faced a third down after defensive lineman Daniel Wise earned a tackle for loss. The pressure got to the quarterback and forced a throw away, giving the Chiefs the ball back via punt.
Veteran quarterback Blaine Gabbert took over for Buechele on the next Chiefs’ possession, getting the opportunity for a bomb throw that looked like a potential touchdown. However, wide-open receiver Rashee Rice dropped his third pass of the game. Kansas City had to punt it back.
The Chiefs’ pass rush heated up the Browns’ offense on the next drive, with defensive lineman Charles Omenihu forcing a hurried throw on third down and getting the ball back into Kansas City’s hands.
The Chiefs quickly went to third-and-long, aided by a drop from tight end Kendall Blanton. But then, Gabbert stepped up in the pocket to found wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette deep down the field for a 30-yard gain. Two plays later, Gabbert went to him again for 28 yards, which took them to the two-minute warning.
From the 15-yard line, the Chiefs got themselves into third-and-15 — but Perine made another big play to overcome it. A quick pass turned into two broken tackles and a touchdown — but the two-point conversion was no good after tight coverage on a pass to Rice. The Browns still held a 22-16 lead.
Kansas City’s pass rush continued to heat up, with pressure on first down and then another Omenihu sack on second down. On third down, Omenihu caved the pocket once again — but a pass was completed downfield just before he could get home. The drive advanced past midfield, but a third-and-4 blitz forced an incompletion with 45 seconds to go in the half.
The Chiefs got the ball back, a quick pass from Gabbert to Bushman in the flat went horribly wrong. It bounced off his pads and into a defender’s hands for a pick-6. The Browns pushed their lead to 29-16 — and the teams went into into halftime.
The Chiefs took possession in the second half with Gabbert still taking snaps, getting the ball to Rice immediately for a chance to redeem himself. He made a nice move on the quick completion, but the drive ended soon after with two short runs. They punted to the Browns.
The reserve defense for Kansas City got a quick stop on their next drive, with the help from both Kansas State rookies: defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah got a tackle for loss on second down, then cornerback Ekow Boye-Doe helped on the third-down stop.
Another nice catch and run from Rice got the drive going, but it was closed down soon after with good pass defense by the Browns to force fourth down. However, Gabbert stayed on the field, looked for Smith-Marsette in tight coverage, and got a flag to keep the drive alive.
On the next play, the same duo hooked up for a big touchdown. The 43-yard play put the score at 29-23 midway through the third quarter.
In the Browns’ attempt to bounce back, cornerback DiCaprio Bootle picked off a third-down pass, setting up the Chiefs’ offense.
Rookie running back Deneric Prince took a handoff from fourth-string quarterback Chris Oladokun on the next play, gaining 15 yards and entering the red zone. From there, Oladokun found Bushman in the end zone for a touchdown. Kansas City had the lead at 30-29.
The Chiefs’ defense forced a punt quickly after, highlighted by edge rusher Joshua Kaindoh tripping up the quarterback for his first sack of the preseason.
The next drive for Kansas City became an exciting one when Oladokun scrambled around and eventually completed a downfield throw to wide receiver Ty Fryfogle. That was the only positive part of the possession, which eventually ended with a punt.
Cleveland went on a 12-play drive following that punt, and they eventually kicked a field goal. The drive was highlighted by plays from two signings midway through preseason: Olakunle Fatukasi and Duron Lowe. The former shot through the line for a tackle for loss, while the other ended the drive by breaking up a pass attempt in the end zone. The Browns did take the lead back, 32-30.
With under four minutes to go in the game, Oladokun started the late-game drive well with a big completion to Fryfogle. In Cleveland territory, Oladokun went backwards on a sack, which led to the two-minute warning.
A few plays later, kicker Harrison Butker gave Kansas City the lead back with a successful field goal. The Chiefs held a 33-32 lead.
Looking to close out the game, the Chiefs’ reserve defense gave way to a few plays. Eventually, safety Anthony Cook broke up a pass — and then the Browns missed the ensuing field goal. The Chiefs held on to win the game, 33-32.
On the opening kickoff, Browns’ kick returner Jakeem Grant — a college teammate of Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes — was tackled, but stayed down in noticeable pain afterwards. He was eventually taken off the field on a cart.
After recovering a fumble in the first quarter, linebacker Leo Chenal was announced as questionable to return to action with a hip injury. In the third quarter, the team determined he would not return to the game.
Linebacker Cole Christiansen went down on the sideline after a hard hit in the second quarter.
Linebacker Cam Jones stayed down on the field after a play in the fourth quarter.
Linebacker Olakunle Fatukasi came up limping after a play in the fourth quarter.
Kicker Harrison Butker made his first field goal of the game, a 32-yard attempt to cap the Chiefs’ opening drive. He made the point-after attempt that followed the second-quarter score.
Safety Justin Reid got a chance to make an extra point, kicking it through in the third quarter.
Punter Tommy Townsend had four punts, one going into the end zone for a touchback, and another landing inside the 20-yard line. His longest went 62 yards.
Wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette returned the team’s first punt-return attempt of the game, but lost six yards. He gained 10 yards on his next try. He had four returns in total.
Cornerback Jaylen Watson was flagged for running into the kicker on a point-after attempt in the first quarter.
Rookie running back Deneric Prince returned the Chiefs’ first opportunity at a kickoff return in the first quarter. He has three total through the second quarter, with the longest being 22 yards.
|Yards per play||4.8||6.1|
|Yards per rush||1.90||4.20|
|Passing Gross Yards||210||293|
|Passing Net Yards||189||288|
|Yards per pass||6.30||7.00|
|Rushing first downs||2||5|
|Passing first downs||8||14|
|Penalty first downs||1||2|
|Third down (Made/Att/Pct)||4/11/36%||4/11/36%|
|Fourth down (Made/Att/Pct)||0/0/0%||0/0/0%|
|Goal to go (Made/Att/Pct)||1/1/100%||1/1/100%|
|Red Zone (Made/Att/Pct)||2/2/100%||3/4/75%|
|Extra Points (Made/Att)||4/4||3/4|
|Field Goals (Made/Att)||0/0||1/1|
|Two-Point Conv (Made/Att)||1/1||0/1|
|Gross Punting Avg Yds||53.2||55.7|
|Net Punting Avg Yds||44.7||48.0|
|Total Rtn Yds (No KOs)||78||27|
|Punt Returns (Num/Yds)||2/3||4/11|
|Kickoff Returns (Num/Yds)||3/59||3/55|
|Int Returns (Num/Yds)||3/75||1/16|
|Time of Possession||21:40||25:33|
|John Kelly Jr.||6||20||3.3||1||9|
|Demetric Felton Jr.||5||1||0.2||0||5|
|John Kelly Jr.||3||33||11.0||0||17||4||31|
|Austin Watkins Jr.||1||12||12.0||0||12||2||0|
|Mike Harley Jr.||1||5||5.0||0||5||2||0|
|CHIEFS FUMBLES||FUM||LOST||FF||REC |
|BROWNS FUMBLES||FUM||LOST||FF||REC |
|Tony Fields II||11||5||6||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|A.J. Green III||7||7||0||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Maurice Hurst II||1||0||1||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Greg Newsome II||1||0||1||0.0||0.0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Martin Emerson Jr.||0||0||0||0.0||0.0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|CHIEFS KICK RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|
|BROWNS KICK RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|
|Jakeem Grant Sr.||1||23||23.0||23||0|
|Demetric Felton Jr.||2||36||18.0||19||0|
|CHIEFS PUNT RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|
|BROWNS PUNT RET||NO||YDS||AVG||LG||TD|
|Demetric Felton Jr.||1||1||1.0||1||0|