Cardinals come out flat against Chiefs, fall 27-17

If head coach Ken Whisenhunt was looking for any improvement in his team between Week One and Week Two of the preseason, there wasn’t much for him to see against the Chiefs on Friday night.

The Chiefs got touchdowns on their first two offensive possessions, and cruised to a 27-17 victory over the Cardinals.

Arizona is now 0-2 in the preseason.

Overall, it was an unacceptable performance by the Cardinals, as they took a big step backwards in a lot of areas.

Let’s start with the defense…

For the majority of the night, the defense put no up front pressure on the Chiefs’ quarterbacks – Matt Cassell, Brady Quinn and Ricky Stanzi – allowing them to pick and choose where they wanted to guide their offense on the field.

In the first half alone, the defense gave up 225 yards total, with 100 of them coming on the ground.

The Chiefs’ offensive line threw the Cardinals’ defensive line around like rag dolls, allowing running backs Shaun Draughn, Peyton Hillis and Cyrus Gray to rush through the gaping holes for yardage.

You ask me who won Round Two of the battle for No.1 between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton, and by far Skelton came away on top.

Even though Skelton didn’t lead them on any scoring drives, neither did Kolb, but to me, Skelton looked the part of a starting quarterback on Friday night. Kolb didn’t.

Skelton looked poised and decisive on many of his throws, while Kolb looked out of sorts for a second straight week.

The offensive line was partly to blame for Kolb’s look, as their protection broke down quite a few times, forcing Kolb to break away and try to make something happen, which didn’t work.

Kolb was 1-5 for 21 yards. Skelton finished 3-6 for 35 yards and one interception.

While we’re talking quarterbacks, the battle for the No. 3 position is getting interesting, as Richard Bartel and Ryan Lindley both looked impressive.

Lindley relieved Kolb late in the second quarter and looked good in the 2-minute offense. He looked very poised, and his arm strength was quite impressive. Lindley led the offense on a nice five-play, 84-yard scoring drive to start the second half.

Bartel took the majority of the work in the second half, and looked good, when he wasn’t on the run for his life, due to breakdowns on the offensive line.

Running back William Powell turned heads again for the second straight week with his play. Powell had 92 yards on nine carries, including a touchdown.

Powell is definitely making a case to be a part of the 53-man roster, while Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams continue to ride the sidelines.

More positives: the play of wide receiver LaRon Byrd (a Lindley favorite), and safety Justin Bethel. Byrd again led all receivers in catches with three, while Bethel seemed to be in the right spots on special teams coverage and on defense. Bethel isn’t afraid to lay a shot on someone either.

The Cardinals have a lot to tighten up over the next three preseason games. I didn’t expect the defense to lack punch like they did against the Chiefs, which concerns me.

Kolb’s less than impressive performance didn’t do anything to endear himself to Whisenhunt, and it may have dropped him another notch behind Skelton.

He’ll have to come out on fire against the Raiders next Friday night, or this battle for No. 1 may be over before it could even get started.

Maybe some good ole’ Flagstaff cooking is what the Cardinals need to turn things around.