The Kansas City Chiefs sent the crowd home happy with a huge 17-16 victory over the Dallas Cowboys Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium to move their record to 2-0. Things looked like they could go south throughout the day, but the Chiefs offense and defense both did just enough to hold on for the win.
Alex Smith and the Kansas City offense opened the game with a perfect 13-play, 77 yard drive capped off by a two-yard touchdown pass to Jamaal Charles. It was after that first series that the Chiefs had trouble sustaining much on offense.
The Cowboys went on to score 13 unanswered points to hold a lead until the final minutes of the third quarter. That’s when Smith tossed his second touchdown of the game, this time a 12 yarder to Dwayne Bowe for a 14-13 Chiefs advantage.
To make sure they showed it wasn’t all about the offense helping to put points on the board, the Kansas City defense came up with a huge turnover on the Cowboys next drive. Akeem Jordan stripped Cowboys runnign back Lance Dunbar and Eric Berry scooped up the ball and took it 22 yards to set up a Ryan Succop field goal and a four point lead.
Later in the fourth quarter the Cowboys added a field goal of their own to make it a one-point game, but the Chiefs offense picked up four first downs. That drive left the Dallas offense with just 16 seconds to try and go 96 yards, but Romo and the Cowboys came up 86 yards short.
Now with this win in their pocket, they will need to quickly turn around and take on the Philadelphia Eagles on national TV Thursday night.
Before we move onto Week 3, here is a look at the three players that stood out for the Chiefs.
Offense: Alex Smith
For the second straight week, the Chiefs got the kind of quarterback play they’ve been so badly missing. In addition to refusing to turn the ball over, Smith had the awareness to move out of the pocket as his protection was breaking down throughout the day.
The constant pressure from Dallas — along with the inability to get Jamaal Charles going — helped turn Smith into the Chiefs leading rusher with 57 yards on eight attempts. It also led to four sacks, which combined with the runs were more hits than you’d like the starting quarterback to take, but Smith did what he needed to in order to keep the offense moving.
Sooner or later Smith is going to need to put up a 350 yard day to win a ball game. So far that hasn’t been the case and he’s done exactly what was necessary, something Matt Cassel, Brady Quinn and the other quarterbacks the Chiefs rolled out there over the last few years were never able to do.
Defense: Ron Parker
When it started to look like the Chiefs defense might be without veteran cornerback Dunta Robinson, there was concern about who would step up in his place. Well, the “Next Man Up” cliche held true Sunday with the journeyman Parker getting the job done.
The Chiefs took a four point lead early in the fourth quarter and the Cowboys were starting to drive on their next possession. On third-and-five from the Dallas 38, Parker flew around the corner on a blitz, stripped Romo and recovered the fumble.
That one play may not have been the turning point of the game, but it’s the perfect example of how good teams win football games.
Special Teams: Dustin Colquitt
This one is easy. The Chiefs punter was amazing once again by putting the ball inside the 20 five times (a sixth was turned into a touchback by a penalty), including at the four yard line in the final seconds of the game. That last punt put any hopes of a Cowboys comeback all but impossible.
Through two games, the Kansas City special teams haven’t been as solid as they were supposed to under new coach Dave Toub. But the one exception has been Colquitt, who has been the most consistent Chiefs player.