The Kansas City Chiefs finished their scoring drives in the first half with field goals. The Carolina Panthers finished theirs with touchdowns. That was the deciding factor while the teams played their starters. The Panthers led 14-6 at halftime, and the reserves finished off the game in the second half for a 28-16 win over the Chiefs.
Here are some other thoughts on the Chiefs' second preseason game of the year.
The starting offensive line, left tackle Eric Fisher in particular, didn't play well. Fisher, who also struggled in last week's game against Cincinnati, consistently had trouble handling Carolina's Greg Hardy. Quarterback Alex Smith played the entire first half and did well, as he completed 14 of 22 passes for 127 yards. But he was under consistent pressure and took far more punishment than the Chiefs would prefer him to take in a practice game.
Dwayne Bowe's night was encouraging. He had five catches for 62 yards and looked nothing like he did at training camp. There, he had been dropping more than his share of passes, and coach Andy Reid said Bowe had a finger injury. A productive Bowe becomes even more important to the Chiefs if Junior Hemingway is out of their lineup for a prolonged period. Hemingway left the Carolina game in the first half with what the Chiefs called a hip injury, and he didn't return.
The tight ends will easily surpass the 53 catches they had for the Chiefs the past season if Anthony Fasano and Travis Kelce stay healthy. Fasano caught two passes for 29 yards in the first half, and Kelce caught a 43-yard touchdown pass from rookie Aaron Murray a week after scoring on a 69-yard pass play. Kelce's ability to make plays down the field will be valuable to a team that isn't deep at wide receiver.
Murray was the first of the developmental quarterbacks to enter the game. He followed his touchdown pass to Kelce with a bad interception when he tried to force a pass to Demetrius Harris.
The Chiefs need to use Sean Smith and Marcus Cooper as their starting cornerbacks and make Ron Parker a reserve. Parker picked up a 32-yard pass interference penalty that set up Carolina's first touchdown. Smith and Cooper started the game, but Parker rotated in the lineup with the first team. Parker had a lousy game last week -- that time as the starter.