Game Balls: Chiefs vs. Ravens

Another week and another lopsided final score for the Kansas City Chiefs, this time a 31-13 loss at the hands of the Ravens in Baltimore.  However, unlike last week’s 25-0 thumping by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Chiefs played a much more inspired game Friday night.

It’s not often you say an 18-point game was closer than the score indicated, but that was the case with the Chiefs against the Ravens.  Baltimore scored 21 unanswered points in the final 7:16 of the game — including a touchdown with five seconds remaining —  to turn a three point deficit into blowout victory.

Look beyond the score — as you often should in the preseason — and you’ll see a lot of positives for Kansas City on both sides of the football.

Offense: Tyler Palko

Once again, the Chiefs backup quarterbacks both had to run for their lives all night behind a porous offensive line.  This time around, Palko was the one able to adjust on the fly and make some impressive plays.

Palko finished 8-13 for 95 yards and a touchdown, including a solid two-minute drill at the end of the first half.  That was a nine play, 80 yard, 2:58 drive that was capped by a nifty four-yard touchdown pass to Terrence Copper.  He also dropped a perfect pass into the hands of WR Zeke Markshausen that should have gone for a score, but the soon-to-be free agent couldn’t hold on.

Overall a solid job behind a horrid offensive line and should keep the discussion about who should backup Matt Cassel an active one.

Defense: Justin Houston

Talk about a role reversal among rookies.  Houston was the bad egg that showed up to camp late and out of shape while first-round pick Jonathan Baldwin was ready to build on all the positive things he did off the field leading up to training camp.  Now following a fight between Baldwin and Thomas Jones, the talented wide receiver is out for the rest of the preseason and Houston has his legs underneath him.

The only clip you’ll see of the third-round pick will likely be the YouTube-worthy ankle breaking he was given by backup Ravens QB Tyrod Taylor (see the video below) in the fourth quarter, but there was much more to his game against the Ravens.  He had a quick first step off the edge that led to two sacks (plus a third taken away by a “tuck rule” call), showing off the talent that made him a star at Georgia.

It was a whole lot of fun watching Houston and Cameron Sheffield meet at Joe Flacco from opposite sides in the second quarter and knock the quarterback down as he rushed an incompletion.

Special Teams: Dustin Colquitt

A punter isn’t going to have a much game than the one Colquitt put together Friday night.  You never want to see a guy booting the ball eight times in a game, but it’s a lot easier to take when this is how he’s doing it.

Colquitt had 8 punts for an average of 46.5, including a whopping five landing inside the 20.  To put that in perspective, he dropped 33 inside the 20 last season in 16 games, including seven games with either one or none.

He followed a career year in 2009 with a step back last season and now Colquitt looks like he’s poised to put together another solid campaign.

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