KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Big plays were the order of the day for the Kansas City Chiefs in their preseason opener Thursday night. They scored twice on interception returns (36 yards by Sean Smith and 51 yards by Malcolm Bronson), a punt return (80 yards by De'Anthony Thomas) and had a 69-yard touchdown pass (Chase Daniel to Travis Kelce).
Those plays covered for sloppiness from the starting offense and defense as the Chiefs beat the Cincinnati Bengals 41-39 at Arrowhead Stadium.
Here are some other thoughts on the Chiefs' first preseason game of the year:
The Chiefs need to get cornerback Smith back in their starting lineup. His demotion in favor of Ron Parker never made sense to begin with and it certainly doesn't now. Parker was burned on a 53-yard pass from Andy Dalton to A.J. Green and he picked up two illegal contact penalties, though one was declined. Smith came into the game replacing Parker late in the first quarter. On his first play Smith had his pick-6. If it wasn't clear before, it is now: The Chiefs are a better defense with Smith in their starting lineup.
Developments later in the game didn't obscure how sloppy the starting offense was. The most notable development was left tackle Eric Fisher getting beat by Robert Geathers for a sack of Alex Smith. Smith failed to protect the ball and fumbled, and the Bengals recovered. The Chiefs scored five touchdowns but only two on offense.
There were things to like and dislike from backup quarterbacks Daniel and Tyler Bray. Daniel was the quarterback for the Chiefs' biggest offensive play, the 69-yard scoring pass to Kelce in the second quarter. But he also tossed a horrible interception. Bray threw a beautiful pass to tight end Demetrius Harris for a 30-yard gain in the third quarter but lost a fumble on the next play.
The Chiefs served notice they will be strong on special teams again. Not only did Thomas score on his punt return but fellow rookie Albert Wilson returned a kickoff 65 yards. The kicking battle was a draw. Each kicker made his field-goal attempt, Ryan Succop from 27 yards and rookie Cairo Santos from 28. All PATs were 33-yard tries and Succop hit three, Santos two.