Chiefs vs. Saints: Game Balls

The Kansas City Chiefs dropped their preseason opener Friday night to the New Orleans Saints, 17-13.

Even though new head coach Andy Reid wasn’t able to take home the victory in his Chiefs debut, he had to be happy about what he saw from his first team on both sides of the ball.

The Kansas City offense drove down the field for a touchdown to open the game, while the defense managed to hold the Saints to just three points while Drew Brees was on the field.

Once the regular season rolls around, the only thing that matters is the final score. But for now, the Chiefs will gladly take the loss in exchange for seeing their stars make some plays and stay healthy.

There were some tense moments when first overall pick Eric Fisher left the field with an injury, but the big man isn’t expected to miss any time in training camp.

With Reid’s debut now in the rear view mirror, the Chiefs can now get back to the grind of training camp and get ready for the first game of 2013 at Arrowhead next weekend against the San Francisco 49ers.

Considering the Chiefs most important players were long gone from this game when it was decided, the game balls on offense, defense and special teams will go to the guys we were most impressed with early on.

Offense: Alex Smith

It’s hard to imagine things going much more smoothly for Smith and the Chiefs offense out of the gate. After the disasters at quarterback we’ve seen over the last few seasons, it was great to see Smith look, well, like an NFL quarterback.

He’ll have to produce for more than one preseason drive, but it was a great start. And there’s no reason Jamaal Charles couldn’t have gone here since the two connected on three passes for 27 yards. For the night Smith completed seven of his eight attempts for 68 yards.

Smith officially took a sack, but that was on a scramble that found him stepping out of bounds just shy of the line of scrimmage.

One drive in one preseason game doesn’t make a season, but Smith provided a great building block for the Chiefs offense.

Defense: Dontari Poe

The second-year man from Memphis was the guy we most wanted to see something from on defense and he delivered. He was only credited with one tackle during his limited snaps, though he was a much bigger presence than that.

Poe showed just how much power he has in the first quarter when he nearly sacked Brees. After getting pressure up the middle, Tamba Hali came from the outside to knock the quarterback down and force an incomplete pass.

Hali and Justin Houston will get to have plenty of fun in the backfield if Poe shows this kind of effort consistently.

Special Teams: Dexter McCluster

The Chiefs special teams have been so bad over the years, it’s not crazy to think new special teams coach Dave Toub deserves the credit here! I can’t remember the last time Kansas City turned in multiple big returns, but that’s exactly what we got Friday night.

Leading the way was a 79 yarder from rookie Knile Davis, who has the potential to be scary good with his combination of size and speed. But the nod goes to McCluster, who took his first punt return of 2013 55 yards, something we expected to see much more of after his huge return as a rookie against the San Diego Chargers.

There was a lot to like about the Chiefs special teams and we should be able to praise more than just Dustin Colquitt every week!

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