- Adam Teicher, ESPN Staff Writer
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The starting offense for the Kansas City Chiefs still can't finish a drive. The starters failed to score a touchdown in eight possessions in what would become a 30-12 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs even had the ball inside the Minnesota 20 three times but came away with just a field goal and two Alex Smith interceptions. The starting offense hasn't scored a touchdown in 16 preseason possessions.
Here are some other thoughts on the Chiefs' third preseason game of the year:
The starting defense similarly doesn't look ready for the regular season. The Chiefs allowed pass plays of 31 and 53 yards on Minnesota's first possession. The Chiefs again played without safety Eric Berry, who has an injured heel. His replacement is Daniel Sorensen, an undrafted rookie. Sorensen took a bad angle on the 53-yard touchdown pass.
Smith threw only seven interceptions all of last season. He's built his career on being able to protect the ball. So when he throws two red zone interceptions, one on first down, it's disturbing. On the first interception, Smith tried to force a throw for Frankie Hammond Jr. On the second he stared down his intended receiver, Travis Kelce. Perhaps the pressure of a touchdown-less preseason is wearing on Smith.
The Chiefs are still trying to solidify their starting offensive line in wake of right tackle Donald Stephenson's season-opening suspension. Left guard Jeff Allen started in Stephenson's place. The Chiefs rotated by series Jeff Linkenbach and Ricky Henry at left guard. Allen played tackle in college at Illinois and got some work there this year in training camp. Stephenson will miss the first four games of the season because of NFL suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Quarterback Tyler Bray rebounded from a slow start to lead the Chiefs to their only touchdown. Bray's first pass was intercepted, but he completed his final seven passes, the last one going to rookie Albert Wilson for a 1-yard touchdown with 25 seconds left. Bray finished 9-of-15 for 85 yards.
Running back Jamaal Charles dressed for the game but -- wisely on the part of the Chiefs -- he did not play. After missing two straight games because of what the Chiefs are calling a bruised foot, Charles could play in Thursday night's final preseason game against the Packers in Green Bay.
5dEric D. Williams