Rams topple Chiefs
Bradford sharp as Chiefs lose third preseason game
Saturday, August 27, 2011
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Sam Bradford led the St. Louis Rams to a pair of touchdowns, and their defense made life miserable for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel in a 14-10 preseason victory Friday night.
Bradford was 8-of-8 for 76 yards on his first two series, with scoring passes of 6 yards to Mike Sims-Walker and 11 yards to rookie tight end Lance Kendricks. Bradford finished with 95 yards passing in his most significant dress rehearsal before the Rams’ opener against Philadelphia.
When the reigning NFL offensive rookie of the year wasn’t slicing up the Chiefs’ struggling defense, Steven Jackson was pounding it into submission. The big running back carried 15 times for 72 yards as St. Louis coach Steve Spagnuolo played his starters the entire first half.
The Chiefs also played their first team until halftime, with much different results.
Cassel was 6-of-13 for 59 yards and was sacked for an 11-yard loss, while Kansas City’s top-ranked rushing attack produced just 14 yards on six first-half attempts. Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, who combined for 2,363 yards rushing in 2010, each carried twice for 8 yards.
The only highlight in the first half for the Chiefs was linebacker Derrick Johnson, who dropped several would-be interceptions a year ago. Johnson leaped in front of Bradford’s misguided pass late in the first quarter and held on at the Rams 7. Kansas City wound up going a yard in the wrong direction on offense before settling for Ryan Succop’s 26-yard field goal.
Even the Chiefs’ special teams were a disaster.
They drove inside the Rams 5 with just over 3 minutes left in the game, but three straight passes by backup quarterback Tyler Palko were broken up. Succop came on to attempt a field goal — which would have only made it 14-13 — to a round of boos from the sparse crowd.
The kick was promptly blocked.
Then there were the penalties, which derailed several promising drives. Offensive tackle Barry Richardson was called for three holding penalties, only one of which was accepted, and rookie guard Rodney Hudson was called for another after Johnson’s interception set up prime field position.
Things weren’t much better for Kansas City on defense.
Jackson ran for 25 yards the first time he touched the ball. When Kansas City finally had the Rams facing third-and-19 on their opening drive, cornerback Brandon Carr blew the coverage and Bradford found Brandon Gibson for a 20-yard gain and the first down.
A couple minutes later, safety Kendrick Lewis missed his assignment and Sims-Walker easily pulled in Bradford’s touchdown toss to give St. Louis a 7-0 lead.
The Chiefs went three-and-out on their next possession, and the Rams marched 60 yards for another score. This time, it was linebacker Jovan Belcher blowing the coverage on the TD pass.
Things got marginally better for Kansas City in the second half, though by that point the starters had their helmets off and the outcome was left to backups trying to make the team.
Backup cornerback Travis Daniels foiled a promising drive by St. Louis when he picked off A.J. Feeley’s pass midway through the third quarter.
Fifth-round draft pick Ricky Stanzi, who is battling Palko for the Chiefs’ backup quarterback job, led Kansas City on an 81-yard drive that he capped with a 32-yard TD pass to tight end Cody Slate.
Palko was 7 of 12 for 92 yards, while Stanzi finished 8 of 14 for 121 yards and a score.
Notes: Kansas City is 0-3 this preseason, and Todd Haley is 1-10 as a head coach. The Rams are 3-0. ... Two banks of lights went out in the first quarter at Arrowhead Stadium, though there was enough daylight to keep playing. The lights eventually came back on. ... St. Louis gained 44 yards rushing vs Tennessee. Jackson surpassed that total in his first series. ... P Dustin Colquitt might have been the Chiefs’ top performer. He put four punts inside the 10.
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