The 2021 Preseason officially came to a close yesterday for the Kansas City Chiefs as they beat the Vikings 28-25. They finished with a perfect record, 3-0, to start the 2021 year strong. Yesterday, there were some strong performances, while others were weak compared to them. Here are three players that trended up and down in yesterday’s matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.
Trended Up: Derrick Gore, RB
Out of all the players that played yesterday, the one that trended up the most was none other than Derrick Gore. Gore had an electric night, being the Kansas City Chiefs’ leading rusher and receiver; he totaled six rushes for 26 yards and five catches for 80 yards with a touchdown. Gore showed his receiving prowess, and it was highlighted in his 56-yard touchdown reception off a screen (it was also the biggest play of the game):
Elusiveness, speed, vision, hands, and finish; everything you want in a good running back, especially in a pass-heavy offense. Gore solidified his spot on the roster, and he’ll most likely be the Chiefs’ fourth RB as the season kicks off. He has earned this, and it seems like the Chiefs have a good developing power/receiving back that we’d love to see on the field a fair amount once the season comes around.
Trended Down: Darwin Thompson, RB
As Gore trended up, Thompson trended down when it mattered the most. Nothing seemed to click for him throughout this game. On the rushing end, he had three rushes for only 11 yards with a four-yard run being his longest. His burst looked off, his ability to follow blockers decreased, and he just didn’t look like himself out there through the whole game.
The receiving end was about the same, having three catches for 14 yards with an eight-yard reception being his longest. While his hands were good, nothing else was; moreover, he couldn’t generate yards after the catch well enough whether it be with strength or using his athleticism.
Gore outplayed him in every way, shape, and form over the last few games. Thompson will likely be bumped down to the practice squad after his performance. It was a good effort, Darwin, better luck next time.
Trended Up: Tyler Clark, DT
Tyler Clark was a fringe player heading into this game, but he made his name known after his performance. He was the Kansas City Chiefs’ leading tackler as he had six tackles with four of them being solo ones. Clark had a lot of impressive plays, chiefly on a goal-line stand where Clark immediately shedded the blocker with a swim move and got to the backfield immediately, making the stop like it was nothing. He also had a nice pass deflection as shown below:
He had a lot of other solid tackles too in the open field and right near or a little above the line of scrimmage. Clark also did well in the pass rush; while he didn’t get any sacks or QB hits, he was able to force Mond and others out of the pocket and create pressure.
His chances of making the roster are slim due to Saunders and Wharton existing as the other defensive tackles. Conversations will be tough; however, I can see him as being one of the first players to be called onto the practice squad along with being called up if the time arises.
Trended Down: Cornell Powell, WR
With Fountain exploding and Kemp making a great push for a roster spot, Powell needed to shine to solidify his spot on the roster. Sadly, Powell didn’t rise to the occasion and trended down. He had only one catch on two targets for a measly eight yards.
As with Thompson, nothing seemed to click with him in the offense. His separation was off, and it was tough for him to find ways to get open. It was a slow game for him, and it has been like that throughout camp and the past two Preseason games before this.
Powell won’t be cut as he is just a rookie, and the Chiefs haven’t done away with any of their new draftees in their first year. He will likely be moved to the practice squad where he will refine his skills and come back stronger as the year progresses.
Trended Up: Shane Buechele, QB
Buechele has been fighting for a spot on this franchise this whole Preseason, and after this performance, he may have just earned it. Buechele has an electrifying game, completing 20 of 33 pass attempts; moreover, he threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns along with an 89.3 QB rating. While he did throw a late pick-six in the fourth quarter, it was still a solid game for him overall.
His performance raises questions on whether or not he’ll make the final roster. Do they take an experienced vet in Henne or run with Buechele? Did his performance earn him a spot as the QB3? Will the Chiefs run three quarterbacks on their final roster? All these and more will be asked as cuts go by.
Personally, I’d like to see him on this team in some way. I don’t see the Chiefs straight cutting him; however, I can see him becoming a solid practice squad QB who may be called up every once in a while.
Trended Down: Daniel Sorensen, S
As the list comes to a close, the final player to trend down is Chiefs’ veteran safety Daniel Sorensen. Sorensen needed a solid game to solidify his starting spot with the Kansas City Chiefs, but sadly, it was a below-average game for him. He had only one tackle, but also it was shown that he was burnt in coverage; one play, in particular, was a 23-yard dagger to Irv Smith Jr to the deep left side, which Sorensen was completely burned; he did make up his ground, though, and made the tackle.
He didn’t trend down as much as others, but in a neck-and-neck bout between him and Thornhill, every play counts. It’ll be exciting to see who the Chiefs’ will run as the regular season begins. Will they go with the resounding veteran or the younger safety? Only time will tell.
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