NFL News & Analysis

NFL Preseason Week 2 Game Recap: Kansas City Chiefs 17, Arizona Cardinals 10

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes carries the ball as he is pursued by Cardinals linebacker Victor Dimukeje during the first half of the preseason game at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on August 20, 2021. Cardinals Preseason

The Kansas City Chiefs jumped out to a 17-0 lead before the Arizona Cardinals‘ backups scored 10 points late to cut the deficit to only a touchdown.

Both starting offenses looked sluggish, as the Cardinals offense and Kyler Murray went horizontal for minimal gains — if that at all. The Chiefs relied on a running game that looked very good, as the starting offensive line stayed in the game after Patrick Mahomes left in the second quarter. Mahomes missed a few passes he normally hits and didn’t have his best night while Andy Reid continues to fine-tune the offense.

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Kansas City Chiefs

  • Mahomes — who may have been told to target Mecole Hardman as much as possible — went 10-for-18 but, as mentioned, was off-target quite a few times. He did run for two first downs, and the team's first drive looked good with him at the helm.
  • Anthony Gordon went a perfect 7-for-7, but the throw of the night was a beautiful Chad Henne safety-splitting pass to Byron Pringle, who ran a seam route. Henne finished with 82 yards and a touchdown on 6-for-8 passing while Shane Buechele added 115 yards on 82% passing.

Running Backs
  • In one of the most bizarre runs you’ll see, rookie Derrick Gore, who rushed for 40 yards on six carries, ran straight out of bounds instead of scoring an easy touchdown, which secured a kneel-down situation for the Chiefs late in the fourth quarter. Gore made two defenders miss and then headed directly for the sideline with his shoulders parallel to the goal line.
  • Darwin Thompson received the most carries with eight and responded with a cool 6.1 yards per carry. Clyde Edwards-Helaire started the game and was given five snaps while Darrel Williams received nine.

Receivers/Tight Ends
  • The aforementioned Hardman led the Chiefs in targets and caught the four that were deemed catchable for 39 yards. Pringle tied Hardman with four catches, including the deep ball from Henne, and gained 63 yards with 18 coming after the catch.

Mecole Hardman by targeted depth:

Depth Targets Receptions Yards
Pre-LOS 0 0 0
0-9 Yards 3 3 22
10-19 Yards 3 0 0
20+ Yards 2 1 17
Offensive Line

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Defensive Line
  • The team finished with five sacks but only one by a defensive lineman, which was secured by Chris Jones, who also had a forced fumble.
  • Juan Thornhill made the interception of the preseason so far when he dove to pick off a Colt McCoy seam throw in the end zone.
  • Rookie Mike Hughes played well with a couple forced incompletions on four targets.

Arizona Cardinals

  • It was a poor day from Murray, who only accumulated one completion (a screen pass) on seven dropbacks for two measly yards. He took two sacks as well, and the offense looked discombobulated with him in the game.

Murray without screen passes:

Name Dropbacks Attempts Completions Yards Sacks
Kyler Murray 6 3 0 0 2
Running Back
  • Kliff Kingsbury barely called running plays, so the runners didn’t have much of a chance to shine.
  • Eno Benjamin and Jonathan Ward led the running backs with three carries each, but it was McCoy’s three carries — one of which was a zone read — for 20 yards that led the team.
Receivers/Tight Ends
  • A.J. Green played six snaps and was targeted once.
  • Rookie Rondale Moore was targeted five times, mostly on horizontal routes, and caught three for 15 yards.
  • Greg Dortch led the team with 44 yards on three catches.
Offensive Line
Defensive Line
  • Devon Kennard led the team with three pressures, although the Cardinals could not get a sack or even a hit on the quarterback after releasing the ball.
  • Rookie Victor Dimukeje led the line with two tackles.
  • New look linebacker Isaiah Simmons, sporting his new No. 9 jersey, led the team in tackles with four alongside rookie Zaven Collins, as those two appear to be the starters at inside linebacker going into the season. Collins, however, missed two tackles.

Isaiah Simmons: snaps by alignment

Line of Scrimmage 6
Box  30
Slot 3
Corner 2
  • If Simmons is going to find his role in the NFL, it will be from the second level, not the third, as a safety hybrid.
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