Four Takeaways From the Chiefs 17-10 Win Over the Packers
Here are some major takeaways from the Chiefs’ final game of the 2022 preseason.
On Thursday night, the Kansas City Chiefs played host to the Green Bay Packers as both teams closed out their 2022 preseason slates. In typical last-game fashion, neither club sent out their starters for much of the game. Patrick Mahomes was on the field just once for a tribute to the late Len Dawson, and Aaron Rodgers was in street clothes for the contest. Despite that, plenty of action occurred as reserves battled it out for possible roster positioning. The Chiefs ended up finishing the preseason with a 2-1 record, winning by a final score of 17-10.
Let’s dive into four takeaways from Thursday evening’s preseason finale for Kansas City.
1. The Matt Bushman game?
With Travis Kelce not playing and Blake Bell recovering from surgery on his hip flexor injury, the Chiefs’ tight end depth was tested against the Packers. In addition to Jody Fortson getting his much-expected work during the game, it was Matt Bushman who stood out in a major way. The 26-year-old BYU product ended up leaving the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury but before doing so, he hauled in three passes for 73 yards and two touchdowns from quarterback Shane Buechele. It remains to be seen whether Bell’s injury is enough for Bushman to make the final 53-man roster in Kansas City but regardless of that, he put some quality tape out there on Thursday night with his performance.
2. Two early defensive standouts
In the first quarter of the Chiefs’ bout against the Packers, two players caught my eye on defense: linebacker Darius Harris and safety Deon Bush. On one drive, in particular, Harris made multiple stops in a row that made him jump off the screen. With the Chiefs’ linebacker depth in flux right now, he may have secured a roster spot. Bush continued his hard-hitting ways against the Packers, and his physicality will likely parlay itself into locking down the club’s fourth safety role. Steve Spagnuolo’s defense has experienced its fair share of great moments in the preseason, and both Harris and Bush were prime examples of that against Green Bay.
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3. Mixed bag for two Day Three rookie cornerbacks
Following the draft, throughout training camp and into the preseason, there was plenty of buzz surrounding Chiefs fourth-round pick Joshua Williams. Williams’s length and athletic profile projected well by many to fit into Spagnuolo’s secondary, and early reports were that he could play a significant role in year one. Against the Packers, however, Williams struggled immensely and it was seventh-round pick Jaylen Watson who made numerous standout plays. Spagnuolo recently made it a point to acknowledge Watson as a possible contributor, and Rashad Fenton’s groin injury (as well as Trent McDuffie’s) could lead to another rookie being relied upon. Which of Williams or Watson will it be? Game No. 3 may have changed that answer.
4. A pair of Chiefs running backs impressed
The Ronald Jones experience in Kansas City has been an interesting one thus far, and the near-consensus heading into Thursday night was that his time as a Chief could be ending by next Tuesday’s deadline for final roster cuts. That may still be the case, but Jones made the most of his playing time against Green Bay by rushing for 43 yards on eight carries and also hauling in one pass. Rookie Isiah Pacheco caught fire in the second half, finishing with 10 carries for 52 yards on the night. The Chiefs’ running back rotation projects to include Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon this year, as well as Pacheco, and both he and Jones’s quality outings bode well for the position even if there’s some shuffling soon.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.