NFL Preseason Preview - Kansas City (1-0) at St. Louis (0-1)
By Scott Garbarini, NFL Editor
(Sports Network) - Jeff Fisher knew he had a difficult task at hand when he
agreed to join the St. Louis Rams. Judging by the club's first effort under
its new head coach, there seems to be a lot more work that needs to be done.
The Rams have nowhere to go but up when they take the field at the Edward
Jones Dome for their initial preseason home game under Fisher, an in-state
clash with the Kansas City Chiefs, after being lambasted by the Indianapolis
Colts this past Sunday in a battle of two-win teams from the 2011 season. Led
by a stellar debut by No. 1 overall draft choice Andrew Luck, the new-look
Colts piled up 430 total yards en route to a 38-3 victory at Lucas Oil
Luck was razor-sharp against a revamped St. Louis defense that was starting
two rookies, first-round defensive tackle Michael Brockers and second-round
cornerback Janoris Jenkins, with the young quarterback completing 10-of-16
attempts for 188 yards and two scores while directing Indianapolis to
touchdowns on three of its first four possessions. On the Colts' opening play
from scrimmage, the Rams allowed running back Donald Brown to turn a short
pass into a 63-yard score.
Indianapolis quarterbacks combined for 314 net yards and three touchdowns
through the air on the afternoon, with the Colts recording 23 first downs as a
St. Louis at least was able to get a healthy Sam Bradford some needed work in
the opener. The 2010 NFL Offensive Rookie of Year, coming off a rough
sophomore season in which he missed six games due to a high ankle sprain, was
under center for the Rams' first two series and went a solid 7-for-9 for 57
Running back Isaiah Pead, another rookie who'll be counted on to play an
important role in the Rams' rebuilding process, finished with a team-high 33
yards on 10 carries and added three receptions out of the backfield.
Veteran wide receiver Steve Smith caught two Bradford passes totaling 14 yards
in the loss. The free-agent addition is one of a host of candidates vying for
a starting job alongside Danny Amendola, with 2012 second-round pick Brian
Quick, fellow rookie Chris Givens, Austin Pettis and Brandon Gibson also in
the mix. Gibson may have fallen behind the race, however, due to a hamstring
injury that should sideline him for a second straight week.
The Chiefs came away from their opener in much better spirits, as the team
delivered a solid overall performance and welcomed the return of four key
players in last week's 27-17 home triumph over Arizona.
Running back Jamaal Charles, safety Eric Berry and tight end Tony Moeaki each
missed the majority of last year's trying 7-9 campaign with ACL tears suffered
within the season's first two weeks, while quarterback Matt Cassel started
just nine times before breaking his right hand in November. All saw action
against the Cardinals, with Cassel hitting on 5-of-6 throws for 67 yards and
capping Kansas City's opening drive with an 11-yard touchdown strike to
running back Peyton Hillis.
Charles, the runner-up for the NFL's 2010 rushing title with 1,467 yards, had
three carries for 12 yards along with an 11-yard catch in his comeback.
Hillis, a former 1,000-yard rusher in Cleveland signed as insurance during the
offseason, came through with 41 yards on only four attempts in addition to his
The Chiefs put up 166 yards on the ground for the game, with the defense
contributing seven sacks to the victory.
Kansas City still remains without another of its top offensive weapons,
however, with wide receiver Dwayne Bowe yet to sign his franchise tender and
report to camp. The Chiefs do enter Saturday's contest with few major injury
concerns, though standout cornerback Brandon Flowers may be held out a second
straight week as he recovers from a foot bruise.
Bradford threw two touchdown passes to lift the Rams to a 14-10 road win over
the Chiefs during last year's preseason. St. Louis also posted a 17-9 decision
at the Edward Jones Dome in a 2009 encounter between the two Missouri
residents and leads the overall exhibition series by a 13-8 margin.
08/16 12:12:04 ET
Powered by The Sports Network.