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6 winners and 4 losers from the Chiefs’ win over the Browns in preseason finale

Let’s count up the Kansas City players who caught our attention on Saturday afternoon.

NFL: Preseason-Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The preseason is officially over, as the Kansas City Chiefs — well, mostly the team’s backups — played a back-and-forth game with the Cleveland Browns on Saturday afternoon, winning 33-32 after a blocked field goal on GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadiun.

The final score and the stats won’t matter — but some of the performances will. Chiefs general manager Brett Veach and his personnel team will have to trim this roster down to the initial 53-man roster by 3 p.m. Arrowhead Time on Tuesday.

Here are a few Chiefs who stood out during their final attempt to make an impression.


NFL: Preseason-Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette: Last Saturday, the third-year, fifth-round player caught all four targets for 92 yards — including a 44-yard catch. Against the Browns, he again went four for four — this time for 101 yards and a touchdown — and had a 43-yard catch. We’re still pretty sure there isn’t a spot for him on the initial 53-man roster, but it’s likely that few of the league’s players have done more to make their case this preseason.

Running back La’Mical Perine: Another continuing trend was the rise of Perine, who sparked Kansas City’s first scoring drive with a 30-yard run — and then scored the team’s second touchdown on a highlight-reel catch-and-run from 20 yards out. This season, the Chiefs will need big plays from their running game. It looks like Perine might be better suited than Deneric Prince (and maybe even Clyde Edwards-Helaire) to deliver them. On Tuesday, running back will definitely be a position to watch.

Wide receiver Justyn Ross: During the preseason, it’s not always about a player’s production. Sometimes it’s about a finding a specific role on a team. Ross has displayed a knack for going up and getting contested catches in the red zone. Now that tight end Jody Fortson is on season-ending injured reserve, the Chiefs don’t really have anyone else with that ability. So while Ross’ Saturday numbers weren’t impressive, he looks like a player who deserves a roster spot — one with a chance to make some plays this season.

Defensive lineman Charles Omenihu: It’s too bad the newcomer won’t be available for the first six games of the season, because Kansas City could really use him. On the day, Omenihu led Kansas City’s pass rush with three quarterback hits and a sack.

Cornerback Dicaprio Bootle: The home team’s sidelines erupted when the third-year defensive back intercepted a pass — but he also had a special-teams tackle that pinned Cleveland inside the 20-yard line. While Bootle has been volatile during the preseason, he made his presence felt on both phases against the Browns.

Defensive lineman Phil Hoskins: It’s been a quiet preseason for the former Carolina Panthers player — but blocking a game-winning field goal is something he’ll remember for a while. That play was just one of the times the players’ on-field reactions made it seem like Saturday’s game did count.


NFL: Preseason-Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Shane Buechele: The third-year player had a chance to pass up 12-year veteran Blaine Gabbert to become the main backup to Patrick Mahomes — and it seemed like the Chiefs would give him every opportunity to do so in the finale. Buechele ended two of his five drives with interceptions (on consecutive drives) and another with a three-and-out before finally leading a 90-yard drive that ended with a throw to Ross that was the team’s first touchdown. Gabbert also had a pick-six, but the longtime veteran’s other production more than made up for his mistake. The former Missouri quarterback from St. Louis likely did enough to claim the spot behind the MVP this season.

Wide receiver Rashee Rice: By most measures, the second-round rookie is ahead of schedule; he looks like a player who could have a featured role in Kansas City’s offense. But in this game, drops were an issue — especially on a wide-open pass from Gabbert that is getting lots of play on social media. He’ll have plenty of chances to improve and produce this season, but Saturday just wasn’t his day. He caught only three of six targets for 29 yards.

Wide receiver Cornell Powell: At least one of Buechele’s interceptions wasn’t really his fault: his pass into traffic bounced off Powell into the arms of a defender. The former Clemson wideout also had a holding penalty on a kick return. It seems likely that the third-year receiver will remain buried on the depth chart — and on the roster bubble.

Tight end Matt Bushman: Firmly on the roster bubble after Fortson’s absence, Bushman needed to show off the hands that his coaches raved about in training camp. Unfortunately, he caught only two of his five targets — and like Powell, had one of them bounce into the arms of a defender. He did respond with a nice 13-yard touchdown, but it still doesn’t seem like Bushman has done enough to make the roster.

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