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Long Week Ends With K.C. Loss

Road trip closes as Cardinals fall to Chiefs, 27-17


Safety Adrian Wilson blasts Chiefs wide receiver Terrance Copper with a hit during Friday's game.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – As coach Ken Whisenhunt came into the small side locker room his postgame press conference, he noticed a worker from the Chiefs there to get quotes tucked into a locker, and she told him it was to stay out of the way.

"That's a good explanation," Whisenhunt said. "I wish I had a good explanation for some of the stuff that went on tonight.

A week away from Flagstaff included a trip to the Hall of Fame, a move to Missouri with a joint practice against the Chiefs, a stint in brand new dorm rooms and two preseason games. In that time, though, the Cards couldn't find the faster start they have been seeking, falling to the Chiefs, 27-17, at Arrowhead Stadium.

The Cardinals (0-2) had some things they liked. Rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley led a couple of scoring drives and rookie wide receiver LaRon Byrd showed up again to make some nice catches. But the starting defense struggled in giving up two touchdowns on the first two drives and top quarterbacks John Skelton and Kevin Kolb didn't distinguish themselves in their ongoing competition.

"I'm disappointed we didn't play better than we did," Whisenhunt said. "I just don't think it was a good effort by our team and I'm glad we have three games left to clear that up."

Whisenhunt said it had been a long week away from Arizona, but "I'm not going to make an excuse for that. We have to be able to (perform). We're better than that."

Skelton was 3-for-6 for 35 yards and an interception on his final throw, a deep floater that couldn't make it to Larry Fitzgerald and was grabbed by cornerback Abram Elam. Kolb was 1-for-5 for 21 yards, although one pass was dropped.

Whisenhunt said he thought Skelton looked "comfortable" in the pocket, and he said he thought Kolb looked OK too, wondering about the protection when Kolb played. In both cases, the coach said, he wanted to review the video first.

"We came out slow, a little lackadaisical," Skelton said. "We can't do that, especially after our defense was on the field for an extended drive like that. We just have to find a way to start faster."

Kolb said he wanted to play after bruising a chest muscle to make sure he kept up with the flow of game operations more than anything. He acknowledged the offensive issue haven't gone unnoticed.

"I think there is a lot of frustration with the whole team," Kolb said. "The good thing is it is early, but we have to pick it up."

Defensively, the Chiefs (1-0) put together two matching 76-yard touchdown drives to start the game. One was 12 plays with only two for more than seven yards, with safety Kerry Rhodes saying a miscommunication led to running back Peyton Hillis being left wide-open in the flat for an easy 11-yard touchdown catch. The second drive only took four plays, with a 28-yard Hillis run and a 29-yard Matt Cassel-to-Dexter McCluster pass eating up most of the yardage.

"We are a better defense than what we showed but it's still a preseason game," defensive end Calais Campbell said. "I'm not too worried. We just have to regroup.

"This defense is a gap-control defense. If we just learn to trust each other again, we'll be fine. By the time that first game comes around, we'll be ready."

Said Rhodes, "We believe in the people we've got."

The best sequence for the Cards came with less than a minute left in the first half. Rookie cornerback Jamell Fleming made a nice play to defend a pass, deflecting it in the air so safety Rashad Johnson could pull down the interception.

From there, Lindley completed four straight passes for 39 yards – the last three to Byrd – to set up a 40-yard field goal for Jay Feely with two seconds left.

Lindley finished 6-for-11 for 48 yards, although he directed an 80-yard touchdown drive to start the second half buoyed by William Powell's 67-yard run. Powell scored on a three-yard run, on his way to 92 yards on just nine carries. Alfonso Smith added 40 yards rushing on nine carries.

"Any two-minute drill like that, you just want to score points," Lindley said. "I'd rather not go out on an 0-for-3 and a three-and-out, but it's a learning experience. There is a lot to hang your hat on those first two drives."

The Cardinals head home now, going back to Flagstaff Sunday night. Three preseason games left, the Cards were all talking about the work they have to do in what is becoming a shorter period of time.

"I definitely would like to be further along than where we are right now," Fitzgerald said. "But it's the second preseason game. I'm not about to jump off any bridges."

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