KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs rolled to the playoffs last season thanks largely to an opportunistic defense and an explosive special teams unit that accounted for nearly a touchdown a game.
Evidently, nothing has changed this preseason.
Sean Smith and Malcolm Bronson returned interceptions for scores, De’Anthony Thomas brought back a punt 80 yards for another touchdown and Kansas City held on to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 41-39 in their preseason opener Thursday night.
Yes, the Chiefs also had three turnovers that led to 21 points, including an interception return by Dre Kirkpatrick during a first half that ended with the Chiefs leading 27-24.
Andy Dalton was sharp in his only series for the Bengals after signing a new six-year deal this week. He hit wide receiver A.J. Green for a 53-yard pass to set up the opening field goal.
Both teams played their starters sparingly, which is common in preseason openers. But the Bengals were also forced to use their backups to plug holes caused by injury.
Starting offensive linemen Andrew Whitworth, Clint Boling and Andre Smith, tight end Jermaine Gresham, wide receiver Marvin Jones and defensive tackle Geno Atkins all sat out the game.
Chiefs safety Eric Berry and defensive tackle Mike DeVito also did not suit up.
Alex Smith, in negotiations on his own long-term deal, struggled along with the rest of the Chiefs’ first-team offense. They went three-and-out on their opening series, and Smith was strip-sacked on their next possession to set up Campbell’s short TD toss to Brandon Tate.