Please forgive Kansas City Chiefs fans Friday if they are unsure of how they’re supposed to act after watching their team’s back-up players dismantle the Green Bay Packers back-ups 30-8 Thursday night at Arrowhead in both team’s final preseason game.
After years of watching their home-town team suffer preseason defeats exactly like they inflicted on Green Bay Thursday night, Chiefs fans have to like the attitude and effort shown by their team this preseason under new head coach Andy Reid and general manager John Dorsey.
In a game where neither team played any starters on either side of the ball, it was the Chiefs third-string quarterback, Tyler Bray that took advantage of the opportunity. Bray showed everyone why Reid and Dorsey overlooked Bray’s off-field issues in college that caused him to go undrafted in last April’s NFL Draft.
Bray played in relief of Chase Daniel beginning in the second quarter and threw for 169 yards and three touchdowns.
“Tyler did a nice job for a young guy stepping in,” Chiefs coach Reid said. “Most series he put us in some form of a scoring position, whether it was a field goal or a touchdown.”
Bray hit Junior Hemingway for his first touchdown pass late in the first half, and connected with Josh Bellamy and Frankie Hammond Jr. for TDs in the second half, outplaying Daniel and Packers backups Vince Young and B.J. Coleman.
“I’m so proud of him, man. He finally got a chance to play and show what he’s got,” Daniel said. “We all knew what he could do physically, but mentally he was on point. He played a heck of a game and I’m so proud of him.”
In the race to be the No. 3 running back in Kansas City, second-year pro Cyrus Gray appeared to move ahead of veteran Shaun Draughn with a solid performance. Gray gouged the Packers several times in the first half and finished with 73 yards on 13 carries.
Hemingway likely locked up his spot on the Chiefs’ roster after the former seventh-round pick out of Michigan caught his second touchdown pass of the preseason. And if it wasn’t his work that solidified his job, it may have been an injury to fellow wide receiver Devon Wylie. The Chiefs’ fourth-round pick two years ago, Wylie left in the first half with a hamstring injury and never returned. He missed most of last season with a similar injury.
Tight end Travis Kelce, who has missed time in practice with a left knee, hobbled off in the first half with another knee injury. The Chiefs were already thin at the position after Tony Moeaki fractured his shoulder in last week’s game against Pittsburgh. Reid said that Kelce will have an MRI exam Friday but “he should be OK.”
Defensively, the Chiefs continually pressured the Packers quarterbacks all game long and held them to an un-Packer-like 2-for-15 on third down efficiency. They caused four fumbles and recovered one, while former Packer linebacker, Frank Zombo picked off a Coleman pass in the first quarter and returned it 27 yards to the Packers 14-yard line.
When the game ended, the Chiefs preseason record stood at 2-2, which considering how few preseason games they’ve won in the last decade seems like a bounty of wins. And, since Reid rested his starters, the Chiefs will begin the season in Jacksonville with no critical injuries to overcome.
The final roster cut-down to 53 players is due Saturday afternoon and luckily it appears Reid and Dorsey will have some very difficult decisions to make.
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