Game Balls: Chiefs vs. Rams

The Kansas City Chiefs dropped their third straight game of the preseason, this time 14-10 to the St. Louis Rams at Arrowhead Stadium on Friday night.  It was a better showing than the opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and about on par with last week’s game in Baltimore, but still not much to get excited about.

Both the starting offense and defense showed they have plenty of work to do before being ready to defend their division title on September 11 against the Buffalo Bills.

If you look beyond the frustrating slow progress the majority of the Chiefs have shown, a few bright spots will stick out.  With that in mind, here are the bets players on offense, defense and special teams.

Offense: Ricky Stanzi

The rookie struggled last week, but showed poise and a nice touch on the ball Friday night, especially when he was actually kept upright and not forced to run for his life.  Stanzi finished the night 8-14 for 121 yards including a 32-yard touchdown to TE Cody Slate.

Another performance like this on Thursday against the Green Bay Packers and the Chiefs will feel a lot more comfortable sticking with just two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster.  No matter what happens over the next week, Todd Haley and the rest of his coaching staff have a tough decision on their hands.

Defense: Derrick Johnson

First-round pick Jonathan Baldwin had made the most athletic play of the preseason against the Bucs when he nearly tipped a pass to himself over a defender, but Johnson has taken that title from the youngster.

The second play after punter Dustin Colquitt pinned the Rams offense at the seven yard line, QB Sam Bradford started to feel pressure up the middle and tried to get the ball out to his left.  Seemingly out of nowhere, Johnson jumped up and over to pull in the interception as he was falling to the ground.  For a guy that has taken plenty of grief for his hands, Johnson’s grab was as impressive as it gets.

Even better there was much more to Johnson’s night than just that incredible play.  He finished with a team-high eight tackles to go with a third-down sack of Bradford the series after his interception while finding his way to plays all over the field.

Special Teams: Dustin Colquitt

No doubt the Chiefs most consistent player in the preseason, Colquitt looks better than he ever has throughout his six-year career in Kansas City.

On Friday night Colquitt put five (5!) punts inside the 20 yard line.  Just another reminder, but last season he only had 33 including seven games with either one or no punts pinning the opposing offense that close to the goal line.

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