KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs rode the first career touchdowns for highly touted rookies Mecole Hardman and Darwin Thompson to a 38-17 win in their preseason opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium.
With Frank Clark and Alex Okafor out due to injuries, the Chiefs opened up with Tanoh Kpassagnon and Breeland Speaks starting alongside Chris Jones and Derrick Nnadi on the defensive line.
On the second play from scrimmage, Tyrann Mathieu scooped up a fumble originally forced by Kendall Fuller, only for the play to be overruled as an incomplete catch.
After a Bashaud Breeland pass breakup saved a would-be touchdown, the Bengals ultimately stormed down and took a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard rushing score by Trayveon Williams with 7:45 left in the opening quarter.
Dalton finished 7-for-9 for 80 yards on the drive.
It took all of one play for quarterback Patrick Mahomes to appear in MVP form, finding Travis Kielce for 36 yards down the sideline to move into plus territory. Kelce and Tyreek Hill each appeared in just one play, with Sammy Watkins joining them on the sideline after a reception on the following play.
Carlos Hyde plunged in from 1 yard out for the team’s opening score. Mahomes finished 4-for-4 for 55 yards and a 10-yard rush in his only series of the night.
After forcing a three-and-out, Chad Henne saw action in five plays, connecting with Deon Yelder for an 18-yard completion.
The next four positive plays to open the second quarter came on rushes by rookie Thompson, fueling an eventual touch pass by Kyle Shurmur to Hardman for a 17-yard touchdown score.
John Lovett and Blake Bell each tallied two receptions, as did Hardman.
The Chiefs added a field goal by Harrison Butker and thwarted a late drive by the Bengals in the first half thanks to sacks by Kpassagnon and Speaks and a half-ending interception by Herb Miller.
Darron Lee led all Chiefs with give tackles in the first half. Three different Chiefs recorded a pass defense.
The Chiefs offense opened the second half with a three-and-out only for Deon Yelder to recover the muffed punt at the Bengals 19-yard line.
Two plays later, Thompson took a short pass 29 yards for a catch-and-run score and his first career touchdown to extend the lead to 24-7. The Chiefs scored 24 unanswered points.
Cincinnati ended the run courtesy of a 47-yard field goal by Tristan Vizcaino.
Midway through the third quarter, the Chiefs turned the ball over for the first time when Chase Litton was interception by Hardy Nickerson inside the red zone.
Northwest alum Josh Caldwell made his debut late in the third quarter, taking his first carry for 8 yards. The Chiefs extended the drive by recovering a second muffed punt at the Bengals 35.
Litton took advantage, firing a 14-yard pass to Jamal Custis prior to finding Yelder for a 14-yard score late in the third quarter. Caldwell went on to score his first NFL touchdown on a 4-yard rush with under 2 minutes to play.