The third preseason game typically is the most important when it comes to playing time for the starters.
On offense, the Chiefs’ starters played the same two series they did a week ago at Pittsburgh but with better results. They scored 10 on Saturday against the San Francisco 49ers after getting blanked last week.
KC Star of the game: Running back Damien Williams turned on the jets to complete a 62-yard touchdown reception to end the Chiefs’ first possession. Williams had three catches for 74 yards and although the running back depth chart may be in a state of flux, that’s not the case at the top. Williams is the guy.
Reason to hope: The Chiefs were in good form offensively with their starters. Finishing their second possession with a touchdown would have been ideal, but 10 points on two drives made it a good night.
Reason to mope: The Chiefs won the coin toss, deferred, kicked and had a three-and-out to start the game. Linebacker Damien Wilson was called for holding, keeping the drive alive, but the defense came up with a fourth-down stop to end the possession.
Looking ahead: The Chiefs wrap up the preseason on Thursday at Green Bay. Kickoff is 7 p.m. Don’t expect to see any starters play.
Passing offense: B
Mahomes and the first-quarter passing offense gets an A. The wheel route to Damien Williams that was well covered last weekend went for a 62-yard touchdown on Saturday. Mahomes completed his first eight passes before a throwaway and drop. But the Chiefs also were flagged for a couple of push-off penalties (offensive pass interference) by Mecole Hardman and Demarcus Robinson in the first half.
Rushing offense: C
Not many attempts, at least with the starters and second team. The longest gain of the first half was Mahomes keeper that came up short of a first down. Byron Pringle’s first NFL preseason touchdown came on a 6-yard run in the third quarter.
Passing defense: D
Not good enough in the first half. Granted, the Chiefs rarely rushed more than four, and Frank Clark recorded his first sack to end a first-half drive. But Jimmy Garappolo engineered a first-possession touchdown drive and completed 14 of 20 for 188 yards before the break. A pass breakup by rookie Rashad Fenton late in the first half was his best play of the preseason.
Rushing defense: B
Solid effort. The 49ers averaged 3.9 yards per attempt in the first half, and it was less than that against the Chiefs’ full complement of starters.
Special teams: B
The Chiefs kicked off to open the game, and look who made the tackle: De’Anthony Thomas. He rejoined the Chiefs this week and was plugged immediately into the gunner spot vacated by Marcus Kemp, who suffered a torn ACL and MCL at Pittsburgh last weekend. No breakdowns = solid grade.
Getting Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and other offensive starters out of the game after the first quarter, when the starters played into the third quarter of last year’s third preseason game, is the smart move. Also, this was a team ready to play from the outset, unlike last week’s ragged performance at Pittsburgh.