1:00 PM ET, September 15, 2013
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Led by a new quarterback in Alex Smith and a new coach in Andy Reid, the Kansas City Chiefs so far have looked nothing like the team that had the worst record in the NFL last season.
The all-red outfits they donned for the first time Sunday drove home the point.
More from ESPN.com
The Chiefs won a game that perhaps they shouldn't have, beating a team that, on this day at least, was better than them, Adam Teicher writes. Blog
The Cowboys lost because their offense couldn't make a drive when it counted and their defense couldn't stop one, Jean-Jacques Taylor writes. Story
Playing nearly mistake-free for the second straight week, Smith threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns against the ball-hawking Dallas Cowboys, and the Chiefs defense held when it needed to in the fourth quarter to preserve a 17-16 victory.
"When you're trying to build something, you need to win games like this," said Smith, who also had a game-high 57 yards rushing. "These are the games you look at in November and December. You need these types of wins, not only the caliber of the win but the style of win.
"It's not always going to be pretty," he said, "but you have to find a way to bear down."
The Chiefs did that marvelously in the fourth quarter.
Dwayne Bowe's go-ahead touchdown catch and Ryan Succop's field goal had staked them to a 17-13 lead, but the Cowboys were on the move in the closing minutes. After Tony Romo threw three straight incompletions, though, Dan Bailey had to kick a 53-yard field goal.
Getting It Done In The Red Zone
Alex Smith has helped the Chiefs score a touchdown on all five of their red-zone drives this season, including both chances Sunday against the Cowboys. Last season, the Chiefs scored a touchdown on a league-worst 27 percent of their red-zone drives.
Chiefs' Red-Zone Passing, Last 2 Seasons
|-- ESPN Stats & Information|
The Chiefs regained possession with 3:55 left. Jamaal Charles helped them grind out a couple first downs, and a pass interference call on Morris Claiborne on third-and-10 gave Kansas City another set of downs. That kept Romo from having any time to orchestrate some late-game magic.
"We ask a lot of certain players on this team and they showed up," Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers said. "We did a great job of holding them down."
Romo, who finished 30 of 42 for 298 yards, was playing with bruised ribs and received a pain-killing injection before the game. His favorite target was Dez Bryant, who had nine catches for 141 yards and the Cowboys' only touchdown.
"You got to realize, you can't forget all the work that you put in to go out and be a good football team," Bryant said.
The Cowboys (1-1) forced the New York Giants into six turnovers in their opener, but couldn't turn the same trick against Kansas City. After preaching ball security all week, the Chiefs got through their second straight game without throwing an interception or losing a fumble.
"Takeaways and points, man, on both sides of the ball. We try to eliminate the turnovers and we try to score points," Reid said. "It's as simple as that."
The Chiefs, coming off an uplifting win at Jacksonville, were amped for his first game as their coach at Arrowhead Stadium. A capacity crowd roared when they rolled onto the field in all-red uniforms, departing from traditional white pants to signify the start of a new era.
That's Nice And All, But ...
The Chiefs became the seventh team in a non-strike year since 1970 to start a season 2-0 after winning two or fewer games the previous year. Unfortunately for Kansas City, none of those teams made the playoffs.
They kept on rolling, too. Kansas City marched 77 yards on the opening series, the highlight coming when Smith scrambled 17 yards on third-and-15 and executed a Fosbury Flop over a defender for a first down. Smith capped the drive with a short TD toss to Charles.
That's when the Romo-to-Bryant connection got on track.
Bryant outwrestled cornerback Brandon Flowers for a 53-yard catch that helped set up Bailey's first field goal. He then hauled in a short TD catch to give Dallas a 10-7 lead.
The Cowboys blocked Ryan Succop's 57-yard try to carry their lead into halftime, and then Bryant caught three more passes to set up another field goal in the third quarter. But the Chiefs answered when Smith hit Bowe on a 12-yard slant for a 14-13 lead later in the quarter.
Dallas fumbled on its next two possessions -- Lance Dunbar coughed it up first and then Romo was strip-sacked by Ron Parker. But its defense stiffened each time, first forcing a field goal and then getting a sack from Bruce Carter to push the Chiefs out of Succop's range.
The Cowboys marched deep into Chiefs territory one last time, but again couldn't find the end zone. And when Romo got the ball back, there was hardly any time left.
"We had a good plan and did some things that gave us a chance to win this football game. We put ourselves in position, but we didn't," Romo said. "Ultimately, that's all that matters."
Cowboys TE Jason Witten had three catches to pass Shannon Sharpe for second-most among tight ends. Witten has 817 in his career. ... Chiefs LT Branden Albert hurt his left shoulder but returned to the game. ... Cowboys DE DeMarcus Ware and Chiefs DT Dontari Poe each had two sacks.
Information from ESPN.com's Todd Archer and The Associated Press was used in this report.
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 15: Alex Smith #11 of the Kansas City Chiefs throws down the field against the Dallas...(Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||5.2||4.8|
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||1-2||2-2|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||0||0|
|TD||8:19||Jamaal Charles 2 Yard Pass From Alex Smith (Ryan Succop Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 13 plays, 77 yds, 6:47
|FG||5:06||Dan Bailey 51 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 6 plays, 47 yds, 3:11
|TD||0:42||Dez Bryant 2 Yard Pass From Tony Romo (Dan Bailey Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 55 yds, 3:20
|FG||6:59||Dan Bailey 30 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 13 plays, 68 yds, 8:06
|TD||2:58||Dwayne Bowe 12 Yard Pass From Alex Smith (Ryan Succop Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 80 yds, 4:01
|FG||14:10||Ryan Succop 40 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 4 plays, 9 yds, 1:32
|FG||3:55||Dan Bailey 53 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 9 plays, 45 yds, 2:53
Tony Romo was 5-of-5 for 100 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter Sunday, all to Dez Bryant and all against four or fewer pass rushers. The Chiefs would bring extra rushers on 19 of Romo's 40 dropbacks the rest of the game, limiting Romo to 4-of-7 passing and 41 yards to Bryant after the first quarter (all against at least five rushers).[+]
Tony Romo by No. of Pass Rushers - Sunday
Alex Smith has helped the Chiefs score a touchdown on all five of their red-zone drives this season, including both chances Sunday against the Cowboys. Last season the Chiefs scored a touchdown on a league-worst 27% of their red zone drives.[+]
Chiefs Red-Zone Passing - Last 2 Seasons
ESPN Stats & Information
- NFL Home
- AFC East
- Buffalo Bills
- Miami Dolphins
- NE Patriots
- New York Jets
- AFC West
- Denver Broncos
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Oakland Raiders
- San Diego Chargers
- AFC North
- Baltimore Ravens
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Cleveland Browns
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- AFC South
- Houston Texans
- Indianapolis Colts
- Jacksonville Jaguars
- Tennessee Titans
- Odds info
- NFL Nation
- SB XLIX