Kansas City, Mo. Kansas City coach Herman Edwards contended all week the Chiefs' flops in their first two preseason games were not indicative of how they would play during the regular season.
The Chiefs' first-team offense did its best to back up Edwards in the first half of Saturday's 16-12 victory against St. Louis.
Larry Johnson carried nine times for 37 yards on the first drive, including a 2-yard touchdown, before retiring to the sideline and donning a white ballcap for the rest of the night.
The Chiefs added field goals on the next three drives and took a 16-3 halftime lead.
"The one thing I know about this football team is it has a lot of character, a lot of pride and they play well at home," Edwards said after his first game at Arrowhead Stadium.
Rookie quarterback Brodie Croyle led two scoring drives against the Rams' first-team defense despite completing only 1 of 9 passes for 4 yards in his first action with the Chiefs. He was selected out of Alabama in the third round of April's draft and has been sidelined since training camp because of a sore shoulder.
"It's been a tough two weeks just sitting and watching," Croyle said. "It was fun to get out there. It was fun to play a little bit, but I've still got a long way to go."
Kansas City's first-round pick, defensive end Tamba Hali, who missed the first two preseason games with a rib injury, forced a fumble and notched a sack in his first game action since his 2005 senior campaign at Penn State.
Hali often lined up in a two-point stance and would shift around behind his linemates.
"That's a package we put him in because he's an athlete," Edwards said.
Veterans Michael Bennett, Brian Waters and Lenny Walls also saw their first preseason action.
Left guard Waters, the lone starter of the bunch, was tested early, as the Chiefs ran 11 times on their opening touchdown drive, including a reverse to Waters' side by Dante Hall.
On the ensuing Chiefs drive, starting quarterback Trent Green piloted the offense to the 3-yard line, but two negative runs by reserve running back Dee Brown and a false start penalty on guard Jordan Black, who started in place of the injured Will Shields, forced the Chiefs to settle for a Lawrence Tynes field goal.
"We could do some things better," Edwards said. "We had some errors down (near the goal line) a couple of times we need to get corrected."
Green finished 8-of-12 for 100 yards.
The teams traded punts in the third quarter until Rams reserve quarterback Gus Frerotte found tight end Jerome Collins sprinting between the hashmarks for a 54-yard touchdown. Remy Hamilton missed the extra point, but redeemed himself with a 47-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, pulling the Rams within four.
The Rams drove into Kansas City territory late in the fourth quarter, looking for a winning touchdown, but the Chiefs' front eight stymied Tony Fisher's plunge up the middle on fourth-and-1. On the Rams' final possession, Kansas City's Bernard Pollard forced a fumble that was recovered by teammate Benny Sapp, ending St. Louis' hopes.
"We let them off the hook," Rams coach Scott Linehan said. "We just need to learn from the mistakes that we had."
Edwards said he vented to his players - particularly those guilty of penalties - in the locker room after the game.
"You lose games the way we played," Edwards said. "Our inability on offense kept them in the game."
The Chiefs committed 10 penalties that cost them 81 total yards.
"We had a good game going in the first half, then we played sloppy."
¢ Reid update: Former Kansas University linebacker Nick Reid played sparingly, only seeing the field when he covered punts in the second half. Reid is hoping to survive the first round of cuts - NFL teams must cut their rosters to 75 players by Tuesday.
"If it's my last game, it's my last game, and I'll move on with my life," he said of Saturday's contest. "It's been a good experience. I'm out there living my dream.
¢ Testing new touchdown music: The Chiefs tested a new version of Rock and Roll Part 2, the song traditionally played after a home-team touchdown. The NFL disallowed the use of Gary Glitter's original version after the artist was convicted of child molestation. The Chiefs also planned to try other songs, including P.O.D.'s "Boom," but the team did not oblige with a second touchdown.
¢ Up next: The Chiefs close out the preseason Thursday night at home against the New Orleans Saints. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.
Kansas City will open the regular season at home Sept. 10 against Cincinnati.