Chiefs take Preseason Opener over Cardinals 27-17

Posted Aug 10, 2012

For their preseason debut, the Chiefs were in regular season form

Arrowhead Stadium - The first-stringers struck fast, building an early two-touchdown lead in the first quarter. And the reserves didn't let up, helping the Chiefs earn a 27-17 win at Arrowhead Stadium on Friday night.

New addition Peyton Hillis led a revitalized ground game that gashed the Cardinals defense for big gains early on. The fifth-year running back teamed with returning ballcarrier Jamaal Charles for 53 yards on seven combined carries.

The duo also made their mark in the passing game. Hillis caught a wide-open wheel route from quarterback Matt Cassel for the Chiefs' first touchdown in 2012. And on the first play of the following drive, Charles showed no ill effects from last season's ACL injury when he cut around Arizona defenders on an 11-yard screen pass. 

The Chiefs' multi-faceted offensive attack wasn't the only unit that confounded Arizona on Friday night, though.

Inside linebacker Derrick Johnson stuffed LaRod Stephens-Howling on third down for no gain on the fifth play of their opening drive. Outside linebacker Justin Houston sacked Cards quarterback John Skelton to force another quick possession by the Cardinals. And Abram Elam intercepted Skelton to start the second quarter, opening up a 17-point Chiefs lead when Ryan Succop hit a field goal soon after.

Head coach Romeo Crennel couldn't have asked for a better start to the game. His offense scored back-to-back touchdowns, and his defense nearly shut out Arizona in the first half. 

Crennel should also feel good about they way his team handled a lackluster third quarter. When his team led up a scoring drive that featured a deflating 67-yard run by Arizona's William Powell, the defense cracked down on the ensuing possession and forced another punt. 

Kick returner Devon Wylie gave the Chiefs just what they needed on the ensuing punt return. He diced through would-be tacklers and was taken down by his facemask, netting a 32-yard run that set up the Chiefs in scoring range again. 

The Cardinals reserves would let up one more late score, but in the process, they harassed the Cardinals for four second-half sacks. 

It was the play of the starters, though, that Crennel liked best. In the first had, the "ACL trio" of Tony Moeaki, Eric Berry, and Jamaal Charles all saw significant snaps. Peyton Hillis found the endzone from a pinpoint pass from Cassel. And Crennel's first-string defense kept the Cardinals guessing. 

"Offensively, we took the ball, I think it was a 12 play drive, and they were able to take it down for a score," said Crennel. "That was a good, positive sign. Then the defense going in and getting out. I don't know if it was four plays or five plays, and then getting off the field. Then the offense goes back and drives it again. I feel good about those things happening in the game."