Game Balls: Chiefs vs. Buccaneers

Two games into his second season as head coach, Todd Haley is still looking for his first preseason victory after the Chiefs fell to the Bucs 20-15 in Tampa Bay.  The first-team offense looked better than they did against the Falcons and the defense wasn’t terrible but the team still couldn’t find a way to win late.

When Chiefs cornerback Maurice Leggett was carted off the field with a neck injury, Kansas City was leading 13-10.  Haley is the last guy that will make excuses for his players, but the team definitely looked flat after Leggett went down, which is understandable.

They didn’t pull out the victory, but there were still positives to take away from Saturday night’s game in Tampa.  Here are the best from offense, defense and special teams.

Offense: Jackie Battle

Thomas Jones showed some nice moves in short yardage situations, Jamaal Charles was his usual elusive-self, but it was Battle that did the most for himself against the Bucs.

He had a game-high 59 yards on 11 carries, including a 21 yarder in which he broke several tackles and hurdled a defender to help setup a Ryan Succop tie breaking FG in the third quarter.

Throughout OTAs and training camp, the talk around the Chiefs regarding the third running back has been Kestahn Moore.  With Moore sidelined by an injury, Battle showed that he was more than capable of being the man behind the two big guys.

A solid week leading up to and including the third preseason game will finish the job, but Battle may have already locked up a roster spot with his performance in Tampa Bay.

Defense: Tamba Hali

Saturday night’s game was reminiscent of a lot of games from last season.  Hali won’t be found scattered all over the box score, but his presence was felt nearly every snap he played.  He was bringing pressure in the backfield on most pass plays with the rest of the Chiefs defense unable to close the deal when the quarterback tucked the ball and ran.

Even though he didn’t register a sack, Hali did manage to knock out Bucs starter Josh Freeman.  At the end of the first quarter while applying pressure, Hali’s helmet made contact with Freeman’s hand, fracturing the young quarterback’s thumb.  If he is going to be truly effective, the line in front of him needs to get more of a rush and that could lead to Wallace Gilberry — who always seems to get a good push — getting more reps throughout the game.

Special Teams: Dustin Colquitt

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Chiefs have a pretty good punter.  Yup, this Colquitt kid just might be something.

Even though he is overshadowed in his own division by Oakland’s Shane Lechler, there’s no denying that Colquitt is one of the best punters in the league.

Colquitt put his first punt, a short shot from the Tampa 46 inside the 15 and his second was a 60 yard blast that had enough hang time to only produce a 5 yard return.  While his next two (42, 41 yards respectively) were only average, he still managed to put in a better day at the office than a lot of his teammates.

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