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Mahomes throws a touchdown pass as Chiefs roll to 38-10 preseason win over the Cardinals

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) and tight end Travis Kelce (87) cheer from the sidelines during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) and tight end Travis Kelce (87) cheer from the sidelines during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuter

BY DAVID BRANDT contributing

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Kansas City’s first-team offense didn’t play well during its first few series Saturday night, dropping a few passes, committing a few penalties and coming up well short of the end zone.

An expected light preseason night for the starters was suddenly becoming a little longer. Before the third drive, MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes had a message for his teammates.

“If we don’t want to keep playing, we’d better score,” Mahomes said.

The Chiefs responded with a 10-play, 92-yard drive that ended in an 18-yard touchdown pass from Mahomes to Justin Watson and Kansas City was on its way to a 38-10 victorty over the Arizona Cardinals.

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It was the first extended preseason action for Mahomes, who completed 10 of 15 passes for 105 yards and a touchdown, playing the entire first quarter. The defending Super Bowl champs never trailed and outgained the Cardinals 504 yards to 286.

Kansas City rookie receiver Rashee Rice — a second-round pick out of SMU — caught eight passes for 96 yards.

“You can see the talent,” Mahomes said. “He makes a lot of tough catches. He had a drop early and then responded well. I think that’s just the jitters of being in your first few NFL games. I’ve got a lot of trust in him that he’ll make those catches in tough spaces.”

Kansas City (1-1) is expected to be among the NFL’s best teams again this year, while Arizona (1-1) is a popular pick to be among the worst. Franchise quarterback Kyler Murray is likely out for the first several weeks of the season while he recovers from a torn ACL suffered last year.

Veteran Colt McCoy is the expected starter until Murray returns. He completed 5 of 8 passes for 25 yards. Rookie Clayton Tune — a fifth-round pick out of Houston — completed 12 of 24 passes for 133 yards. He also ran for 35 yards.

The Chiefs built a 17-0 lead by late in the second quarter following Harrison Butker’s 28-yard field goal. The Cardinals cut it to 17-7 just before halftime on Keaontay Ingram’s 5-yard touchdown.

Arizona’s Matt Prater made a 54-yard field goal with 9:33 left in the third to make it 17-10, but Kansas City would finish the game with 21 straight points.

Kansas City’s backup quarterbacks both had strong performances. Shane Buechele was 10 of 10 for 105 yards, while also running for a 15-yard touchdown. Blaine Gabbert was 7 of 8 for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

“It was a good effort, all the way around,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “Defensively, I thought we started fast, which is what we needed to do. Offensively, we had a few hiccups early. We’ve got to take care of business with that. But all in all, the groups came out and played good, respectable football.”

The Chiefs’ four quarterbacks — Mahomes, Buechele, Gabbert and fourth-stringer Chris Oladokun — combined to complete 31 of 38 passes for 393 yards and three touchdowns.

“All three phases, we’ve got to get cleaned up or that is what going to happen against a good football team,” Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon said. “You’re going to get beat pretty good. It will be very black and white to our guys what we need to improve in a hurry.”

STRUGGLING SIMMONS

Arizona’s Isaiah Simmons has made the move to safety from linebacker as the Cardinals try to unlock the potential of the former No. 8 overall pick of the 2020 draft.

The first preseason game went OK. The second one was a little rougher.

Simmons appeared to get beat on multiple plays in the first half as the Chiefs built their 17-0 lead. He finished with two tackles. Gannon said the entire defense gave up too many explosive plays.

“I obviously need to play better,” Simmons said. “I feel that each and every game. Explosives definitely are something we need to tone down.”

HOME AWAY FROM HOME

It was the third time in less than a year that the Chiefs have played at State Farm Stadium.

Kansas City beat Arizona 44-21 in last year’s season opener before returning before returning to the desert for their Super Bowl win over the Eagles in February. Six months later, they were back in Glendale for the preseason game.

Kansas City won all three games.

UP NEXT

Chiefs: Host the Cleveland Browns in their final preseason game next Saturday.

Cardinals: Travel to face the Minnesota Vikings in their final preseason game next Saturday.

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