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Tribal Warfare
08-22-2009, 02:10 AM
Chiefs come up short in a 17-13 loss to the Vikings (http://www.kansascity.com/sports/chiefs/story/1398226.html)
By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star

MINNEAPOLIS | The Chiefs didn’t fulfill Todd Haley’s notion of what he hopes his team can be, but they definitely inched closer.

Unfortunately, they came up about 36 inches short Friday night.

The Chiefs had a first down at the 1 in the final minute but failed to get into the end zone in a 17-13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Haley, a rookie head coach, might find a few things he’d like to take from the first half and use in next month’s regular-season opener in Baltimore. Most of the Chiefs’ starters played the entire first half of Friday’s game, and the Chiefs led 10-7 when they departed.

Foremost on that list is an aggressive defense that was able to get pressure on Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre and ruin his Vikings debut. Minnesota was unable to gain a first down in Favre’s two possessions.

The defense didn’t fare as well against Favre’s successor, Tarvaris Jackson, who led the Vikings on a 15-play, 92-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter.

Haley also saw some items the Chiefs will need to sharpen before they head to Baltimore. Although Minnesota played without injured pass rusher Jared Allen, the Vikings were able to pressure Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel on almost every one of his pass attempts. Cassel threw 14 passes and was sacked three times.

The Chiefs had a chance to win for the first time in the preseason when they had first and goal at the Minnesota 1. But two runs up the middle gained nothing, and a Matt Gutierrez pass for Jed Collins was incomplete, leaving the Chiefs facing fourth down on the game’s final play.

The Chiefs spread the field with three wide receivers, but Gutierrez’s fade pass for Ashley Lelie was incomplete.

The play call was a strange one.

A fade requires timing between quarterback and receiver, and Gutierrez and Lelie hardly know one another. Neither started camp with the Chiefs, and Lelie arrived only this week.

“We’ve worked together some, but obviously we have more work to do because we didn’t make it happen in the game when it counted,” Gutierrez said.

The starting offense managed to get its first points of the preseason. But the Chiefs lost a potential scoring chance when Jamaal Charles fumbled in Minnesota’s end of the field on their first possession.

Ryan Succop kicked a 32-yard field goal on the next series, giving the Chiefs their first preseason lead. A 13-yard pass from Cassel to Dwayne Bowe allowed the Chiefs to convert on third down and continue the drive.

The lead increased to 10-0 in the second quarter on Cassel’s 4-yard scoring pass to Bowe. The Chiefs mixed runs and passes nicely on the eight-play, 66-yard drive.

Larry Johnson had an 18-yard run, his longest of the preseason. Rookie wide receiver Quinten Lawrence took a reverse 16 yards, and Bowe caught a 20-yard pass from Cassel on the drive.

“We’re making some progress,” Cassel said. “At times, it was very encouraging because we got some rhythm going and we were running the ball and throwing the ball consistently.”

The Chiefs were more aggressive on both sides of the ball than in last week’s preseason opener, a loss to Houston. Cassel attempted more passes and tried to go downfield more often but rarely could because of pressure.

Defensively, the Chiefs blitzed early and often. They didn’t get a sack but also were able to get pressure on the Vikings’ quarterbacks.

They frustrated Favre, who signed with the Vikings only this week. Jarrad Page and Corey Mays teamed to end Favre’s first possession when they tackled Adrian Peterson in the backfield for a loss on fourth and 1.

Mays ended Favre’s second possession by drilling the veteran quarterback as he threw an incomplete pass on third down.

The Metrodome crowd booed loudly when the Vikings removed Favre, but Jackson was able to move the Vikings. The Chiefs pressured Jackson as well, but he still completed nine of his 10 first-half passes for 117 yards.

The Chiefs got after Jackson on third and 8 from the Kansas City 13 late in the second quarter. Mays and Tyson Jackson almost got to the quarterback, but he was able to find Visanthe Shiancoe in the end zone and cut the Chiefs’ lead to 10-7.

Brodie Croyle led the Chiefs on a scoring drive on their first possession of the second half. It ended with Succop’s 37-yard field goal and a 13-7 Kansas City lead.

Jackson continued to burn the Chiefs’ defense, this time using reserves. His pass down the middle for Darius Reynaud got past diving safety DaJuan Morgan, and Reynaud was able to run untouched to the end zone, completing the 64-yard scoring play and giving the Vikings their first lead at 14-13.

The Chiefs’ Jackie Battle fumbled in Minnesota territory late in the third quarter. The Vikings recovered but failed to score when Taylor Mehlhaff missed a 40-yard field-goal attempt.

Mehlhaff made a 29-yarder midway through the fourth quarter, putting Minnesota ahead 17-13.