The Kansas City Chiefs are playing like the Super Bowl contenders so many expected this season.
Kansas City defeated the Dallas Cowboys 19-9 in Sunday's showdown at Arrowhead Stadium. The defense and not Patrick Mahomes' offense largely led the way for the victors, who have bounced back from their slow start and are in first place in the AFC West at 7-4 following a fourth consecutive win.
It was also a strong defensive showing in defeat for the Cowboys, who failed to score a touchdown and fell to 7-3 overall and just 1-2 in their last three. That said, they remain comfortably ahead of the 5-6 Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East.
Notable Player Stats
- Patrick Mahomes, QB, KC: 23-of-37 passing for 260 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, KC: 12 carries for 63 yards, 1 TD
- Travis Kelce, TE, KC: 1 carry for 4 yards, 1 TD; 5 catches for 74 yards
- Dak Prescott, QB, DAL: 28-of-43 passing for 216 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs
- Ezekiel Elliott, RB, DAL: 9 carries for 32 yards; 6 catches for 36 yards
Chiefs Win Despite Offense's Disappearance After Quick Start
Sunday was an opportunity for the Chiefs to remove doubts about the validity of their three-game winning streak that came against a poor New York Giants team, a Green Bay Packers squad without Aaron Rodgers and a Las Vegas Raiders team trending in the wrong direction after a 3-0 start.
The Cowboys are Super Bowl contenders, but Kansas City wasted no time sending a message with two touchdowns and a field goal on its first three possessions.
Travis Kelce scored a rushing touchdown on a direct snap to start the scoring, while Clyde Edwards-Helaire scored the second touchdown in his first game since Oct. 10. While the offense stalled from there and turned it over late in the second quarter on a Micah Parsons strip-sack of Mahomes, the initial burst helped build a 13-point halftime lead.
Direct snap to Travis Kelce! <a href="https://twitter.com/tkelce?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@tkelce</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ChiefsKingdom?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ChiefsKingdom</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DALvsKC?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#DALvsKC</a> on FOX<br>📱: NFL app <a href="https://t.co/npa1Cxnzcx">pic.twitter.com/npa1Cxnzcx</a>
The early scoring despite a quiet start for Mahomes was encouraging since he seemed likely to find his footing, but he threw an interception to Jayron Kearse on the team's first possession of the second half.
Dallas' defense deserves plenty of credit. The interception was part of a sustained effort during the middle of the game that kept the Cowboys within striking distance.
Mahomes found himself scrambling out of the pocket to avoid pressure, Tyreek Hill struggled to create separation downfield and Harrison Butker missed a field goal as the offense that was dominant out of the gates went missing.
Fortunately for the home team, the offense didn't need to play well given its defense's effort.
Chiefs Shut Down Short-Handed Cowboys Offense
The Cowboys offense was in the spotlight after the team exploded for 43 points last time out against the Atlanta Falcons, especially since they might need to keep up in a shootout with Mahomes and Co.
However, the visitors were without Amari Cooper and lost Ezekiel Elliott for a stretch after he limped off the field in the first half with an apparent ankle injury. As well, Dak Prescott lost a fumble on a strip-sack on Dallas' second possession to set up a Kansas City field goal.
Prescott was under constant duress, and his receivers dropped multiple passes as the Cowboys managed three points in an ugly first-half performance. The Chiefs bracketed CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup without having to worry about Cooper and kept Elliott in check after he returned.
Kansas City Chiefs @Chiefs
.<a href="https://twitter.com/StoneColdJones?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@StoneColdJones</a> pulled out the LeBron stomp on his THIRD sack of the night! 😤<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BudLightCelly?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BudLightCelly</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/budlight?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BudLight</a> <a href="https://t.co/OGRbeeJSqj">pic.twitter.com/OGRbeeJSqj</a>
Even after Mahomes lost a fumble on Parsons' sack, Charvarius Ward intercepted Prescott in the end zone before halftime.
The troubling pattern continued for Dallas' offense when Lamb was ruled out for the second half with a concussion. With an opportunity to get back into the game on a short field following a turnover, the Cowboys had to settle for a field goal.
Scoring three points at a time was as good as it got for the Cowboys thanks in large part to Chris Jones. The defensive tackle was the best player on the field and tallied 3.5 of the Chiefs' five sacks while fittingly deflecting Prescott's second interception to end any hope of a Dallas comeback.
The Cowboys had opportunities with their defense playing well, but they squandered them and the game.
The Cowboys face another AFC West team Thursday when they host the Las Vegas Raiders. The Chiefs head into their bye week before a divisional clash at home against the Denver Broncos.