KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Sam Bradford was lights out. So was Arrowhead Stadium.
As for the Chiefs, well, the light still hasn't come on this preseason.
"That was one of the things I said last week I was really looking for our offense to do, just get into a rhythm and establish some longer scoring drives," said Bradford, who started 8 of 8 for 76 yards with two TD passes. "To come out and do that on the opening two series was really nice to see."
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Especially since it was downright hard to see.
Two banks of lights went out at Arrowhead Stadium in the first half, although there was just enough daylight that the teams managed to keep playing. Backup generators at the stadium kicked in and the lights came back on, but the Chiefs never found a jolt of electricity to get them going.
Quarterback Matt Cassel was 6 of 13 for 59 yards and was sacked for an 11-yard loss, while their top-ranked rushing attack produced just 14 yards on six first-half attempts. Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, who combined for 2,363 yards rushing in 2010, each carried twice for 8 total yards.
Jackson had that much after his first carry.
He finished with 15 carries for 72 yards, including a 25-yard scamper on the opening play of the game. The three-time Pro Bowl running back, who managed only 10 yards on six attempts last week against Tennessee, played the entire first half along with the rest of the Rams' starters.
"We definitely wanted to come out and set the tone for the game, get into a rhythm for the offense, especially the running game," Jackson said. "We really wanted to get out and set a tone."
They sure accomplished that.
The only highlight in the first half for the Chiefs was linebacker Derrick Johnson, who dropped several would-be interceptions a year ago. He leaped in front of Bradford's misguided pass late in the first quarter and held on at the Rams 7. Kansas City wound up going a single yard -- in the opposite direction -- before settling for Ryan Succop's 26-yard field goal.
As poorly as the Chiefs played, they still had a chance to win the game.
They drove inside the Rams 5 with just over three minutes left, but three straight passes by backup quarterback Tyler Palko were broken up. Succop came on to attempt a field goal -- which would have only made it 14-13 -- to a round of boos from the sparse home crowd.
The kick was promptly blocked.
Then there were the penalties, which derailed several promising drives. Offensive tackle Barry Richardson was called for holding three times, only one of which was accepted, and rookie guard Rodney Hudson also was caught holding after Johnson's interception set up prime field position.
"We have to be more disciplined," Cassel said. "We can't have the penalties because that puts us in a tough spot, because you get yourself in third-and-long situations. It's hard to convert in this league on third-and-long. We just have to do a better job offensively trying to stay out of those situations and be more disciplined."
With their big offensive line clearing holes, the Rams pounded out 170 yards rushing one week after getting stuffed by the Titans. Even when they faced third-and-19 on their opening series, a bad breakdown in coverage allowed Bradford to connect with Brandon Gibson for a first down.
Bradford found Mike Sims-Walker from 6 yards out moments later for a 7-0 lead. The Chiefs went three-and-out on their next possession, and the Rams marched 60 yards for another score. This time, Bradford connected with rookie tight end Lance Kendricks on an 11-yard TD pass.
"We got that game going in the wrong direction defensively," said Todd Haley, 1-10 in preseason games as the Chiefs' head coach. "We just couldn't get settled in for the first two drives."
Things got marginally better for Kansas City in the second half, though by that point the starters had their helmets off and the outcome was left to backups trying to make the team.
Palko was 7 of 12 for 92 yards, while Stanzi finished 8 of 14 for 121 yards and a score.
"We've got limited time left," Haley said, alluding to the first round of roster cuts due Tuesday. "I believe in our guys. I believe in the group we have. But some things are going to have to improve here pretty quickly. ... I believe if we do that, we'll have a chance to be a competitive team."
St. Louis gained 44 yards rushing vs. Tennessee. Jackson surpassed that total in his first series. ... P Dustin Colquitt might have been the Chiefs' top performer. He put four punts inside the 10. "The punter continued to do a good job," Haley said. ... Chiefs WR Jonathan Baldwin, their first-round draft pick, missed his second straight preseason game because of a thumb injury.