Not only is the Kansas City Chiefs' quest for a 20-0 season still intact, but so is a 23-0 stretch after the team finished the preseason with a perfect record.
On Friday night, the Chiefs defeated the Minnesota Vikings by a final score of 28-25. During a game in which Andy Reid said his starters would play nearly the entire first half — in typical Reid fashion — he pulled many of them way earlier than that. In all, it was an impressive performance from a Chiefs squad that is clearly ready for the regular season.
Here are four takeaways from tonight's game.
1. Patrick Mahomes is laser-focused
Many were worried about quarterback Patrick Mahomes' performance in last week's win over the Arizona Cardinals but on Friday, he silenced every doubt that existed. The former NFL MVP completed eight of his nine pass attempts for 117 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He was quite sharp and decisive, as was the offensive line protecting him. Reid likely wanted to see at least one scoring drive from his offense, and he saw an exemplary performance by his signal-caller to close out the preseason.
2. Backup running back depth is legitimate
Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Williams missed the Chiefs' third preseason game, and that opened the door for the team's other running backs to step up. While he may not make the 53-man roster, Derrick Gore has been a physical presence for weeks and capped things off with a 56-yard touchdown reception. Both Darwin Thompson and Jerick McKinnon also made statements, routinely fighting for tough yards. The Chiefs won't carry more than three or four backs into the season, but their depth has performed well when given the opportunity.
3. The first-team defense could be great
The Chiefs' starting defensive unit allowed just three points to Minnesota, including a huge red zone stop. Steve Spagnuolo's group was aggressive all preseason, flocking to the football and making difficult tackles look easy. Safety L'Jarius Sneed and linebacker Willie Gay Jr. were standouts on Friday, as they were all over the place on defense. Simply because the Chiefs project to have a dominant offense, that doesn't mean their defense can't also be great. If the preseason was any indication, that may become a reality this season.
4. Marcus Kemp all but secured a roster spot
Marcus Kemp's special teams prowess has long been documented, and he put that on display again against the Vikings. Where he also managed to make an impact, though, was on offense. The 26-year-old hauled in three passes for 41 yards and a touchdown in preseason Week 3, likely securing him a spot on the final roster. If I had to narrow down who may be in talks for the last receiver slot, I'd say the Chiefs' choice will be between rookie Cornell Powell and recent standout Daurice Fountain. Luckily for Kemp, he may have distanced himself in that conversation a bit.