First-round pick Patrick Mahomes II threw for 183 yards and a touchdown in what was likely his final game for a while, and the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Tennessee Titans 30-6 on Thursday night in a preseason contest played mostly by backups.
Mahomes got the nod with Alex Smith and the rest of the starters sitting out, and he once more showed why the Chiefs moved up to draft him 10th overall. The former Texas Tech star scrambled for first downs, stood tall in the pocket and used his big arm to make plays downfield.
His favorite target was second-year pro Demarcus Robinson , who may have locked up the Chiefs' final wide receiver job. He had three catches for 127 yards, including a 28-yard TD strike just before halftime.
Rookie wide receiver Jehu Chesson also solidified his roster spot with a weaving, dodging 76-yard punt return touchdown for Kansas City. Backup tight end Gavin Escobar may have done likewise when he hauled in a juggling touchdown catch from Tyler Bray late in the third quarter.
Titans coach Mike Mularkey said early in the week that "all 90" would play in the preseason finale, as if an uneven performance last week against Chicago meant his starters would get at least some work.
But after the Chiefs kicked off, it was former quarterback Matt Cassel rather than Marcus Mariota who led the Titans onto the field. Cassel was joined by a flotilla of Tennessee backups, including a couple — such as David Fluellen, who carried 19 times for 74 yards — still trying to earn a job.
On defense, first-round pick Adoree Jackson made a couple nice plays while trying to earn one of the Titans' starting cornerback jobs. He even flashed some good hands by picking a pass on a tipped ball, though a video review showed he landed on the out-of-bounds line.
SHAKY RETURN: Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos made his preseason debut after dealing with a groin injury and promptly missed an extra point. But he bounced back to hit a 48-yard field goal in the second half.
BERRY BAD NEWS? All-Pro safety Eric Berry was not suited up, even though he had returned to practice after dealing with a heel injury. Berry was not expected to play regardless, but the fact he didn't suit up with the other starters and go through pregame warmups was intriguing.
MORE INJURIES: Titans linebacker Kevin Dodd, who recovered a fumble early in the second quarter, left with a bruised hip later in the half. Long snapper Ryan DiSalvo left with a concussion after he was blindsided by the Chiefs' Justin March-Lillard on the block that sprung Chesson's touchdown return.
NEWCOMERS SIT: The Chiefs traded this week for linebacker Reggie Ragland, a former second-round pick of the Bills, and offensive lineman Cam Erving, a former first-round pick of the Browns. Neither was ready to get into the game, though the Chiefs hope both are ready for the regular season.
"My main goal is to get the big guys out front so we have a good chance of stopping the play every down," Ragland said during an in-game interview. "Smart, physical and I'm going to come out ready to play."
ON DECK: The Chiefs open the season next Thursday night in New England, while the Titans welcome Oakland to town Sept. 10, when most of the league begins playing games that count.