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Quick-hitting Rams topple Chiefs, 14-10

POSTED August 27, 2011 10:51 a.m.
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford​ mounted a pair of time-consuming first-quarter scoring drives, running back Steven Jackson​ had 72 first-half rushing yards and the Rams turned back the Kansas City Chiefs 14-10 Friday night in NFL preseason action.

On a night when two banks of lights went out during second-quarter action at Arrowhead Stadium, the Chiefs hopes were dimmed by a methodical Bradford-led Rams offense that seized command after eating up most of the first-quarter clock.

The time of possession in the first quarter told the story: Rams 12 minutes, 47 seconds; Chiefs 2:13. It resulted in a 14-0 St. Louis lead, one that Kansas City carved into during the second half before sputtering in the late going.

A chorus of boos rang out after Chiefs head coach Todd Haley​, his team trailing 14-10 with 3:13 remaining, opted to go for a 21-yard field-goal attempt by Ryan Succop​ instead of going for the go-ahead touchdown. Succop’s kick was blocked, the Rams took over at the 2:47 mark and ran out the clock.

“Slow start to me, as much as anything, kind of got that game going in the wrong direction defensively,” Haley said. “We just couldn’t get settled in for the first two drives.

“(The) offense added a three-and-out on the first possession, which never helps matters following a 14-play drive to start the game. The start was really a killer.”

And the finish turned out equally bad for the Chiefs, who dropped to 0-3 in the preseason while the Rams left town with a 3-0 mark and the Governor’s Cup in tow.

Sure, it’s just the preseason, yet no one was calling Haley a riverboat gambler on this night.

Asked if he would have went for the late touchdown, had it been a regular-season game, Haley replied, “Three minutes left, two timeouts, I would kick a field goal, I think, especially in the regular season.

“I considered it more in this situation being the preseason in that you can take a few more chances, so to speak.”

Kansas City began its late drive from its own 42-yard line with 4:54 remaining after a Rams punt. Backup quarterback Tyler Palko​, running out of the shotgun formation, connected with wideout Zeke Markshausen on a pass play over the middle for nine yards on first down.

After a pair of completions to Jeremy Horne, spanning 29 and 17 yards, Palko had the Chiefs knocking at the door with a first-and-goal at the Rams 3.

But the drive stalled there after three straight Palko incompletions — one intended for Markshausen, one for Verran Tucker and one for Horne.

Succop was summoned for the field-goal try, much to the chagrin of the smattering of Chiefs fans that remained. The chip shot was blocked by St. Louis defensive end Robert Quinn.

“I was a little disappointed, just with the sequence of plays when we got down there,” Haley said. “We had a dropped ball for what would have looked like a touchdown, but I think we kick a field goal.

“With two timeouts and our defense was playing wel ... if you get a stop, then a field goal wins.”

Bradford, the former Heisman Trophy winner at Oklahoma, finished 9 for 16 for 95 yards in one half of work.

The Rams used over half of the opening quarter with a 12-play, 73-yard scoring drive for a 7-0 lead, capped by wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker's 6-yard TD pass from Bradford with 7:08 remaining in the first quarter.

St. Louis’ ball hogging continued with featured back Jackson bull-dozing his way for 66 yards in 12 carries in the first quarter alone. It drove 60 yards in 10 plays for their second TD, taking 4:55 off the clock and seizing a 14-0 lead with 48 seconds left in the opening period.

On the scoring play, Bradford audibled at line of scrimmage and threw an 11-yard scoring pass to uncovered wideout Lance Kendricks on a fade route for the Rams’ two-touchdown lead.

The Chiefs, who managed just 16 first-quarter net yards, wasted a golden opportunity for a touchdown midway through the second quarter. Linebacker Derrick Johnson intercepted a Bradford pass at the St. Louis 7. But they had to settle for a Ryan Succop 26-yard field goal after a stalled 3-play drive resulted in minus-1 yard.

Johnson, who also had an 8-yard sack of Bradford in the first half, was a bright spot on a night where the Chiefs’ big moments were few and far between.

By halftime, the Chiefs had only 99 net yards, a total that increased markedly after they had only 16 yards in the first period.

Cassel finished the half 6-for-13 for 59 yards. Cassel had a game-best 20-yard completion, along with a 14-yarder, to wide receiver Jerheme Urban​, a seventh-year pro out of Trinity University, a NCAA Division III school in San Antonio, Texas.

Chiefs running backs Jamaal Charles​ and Thomas Jones made cameo appearances in the first half. Charles and Jones each carried twice for four yards.

Dexter McCluster​ saw some extended playing time. He rushed one time for a 4-yard gain and also caught five of six balls thrown to him coming out of the backfield, totaling 37 yards. He also returned one punt and one kickoff.

Chiefs strong-armed backup QB Ricky Stanzi threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to tight end Cody Slate, streaking down the right sideline with 0:08 left in the third quarter, reducing St. Louis' lead to 14-10.

The boo-birds began chirping again midway through the fourth quarter with the Rams clinging to their four-point lead. Stanzi drove the Chiefs from their own 20 into Rams territory at the 39. But Kansas City inexplicably ran a running play on third-and-11, where running back Jackie Battle was stuffed for a 5-yard loss and sure-footed Dustin Colquitt punted the ball away.

Stanzi, a rookie out of Iowa, finished 8 for 14 for 121 yards.

NOTES — Haley opened his press conference by addressing the city of Joplin, Mo., which was devastated in recent months by a horrific tornado.

The Governor’s Cup game was about Joplin. Mike Woolston, Joplin’s Mayor, attended to show Joplin’s gratitude for the assistance received in its effort to recover from the May 22 EF-5 tornado that demolished about a third of the city. Several volunteers were also recognized.

“Part of what this night was about was the city of Joplin,” Haley said. “As I said during the week, there are people living a serious nightmare. We’ve had a bunch of people here in Kansas City and people on our team, in our organization…really our entire area has gathered and worked hard to try to make a devastating situation somewhat better.

“That’s got to continue for a long time it appears. I just want all of them to know that we continue to think about them … not take it for granted anything that’s going on up here when there’s something like that going on down there.”

 

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