One of the greatest makeups of good teams is being able to pick up wins even when they’re not playing well. The Kansas City Chiefs, on a very ordinary day from Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles on the ground, still made enough plays on both ends of the field to surprise the Dallas Cowboys with a 17-16 win.
The Dallas Cowboys or on the same pattern from last season – impressive win over the New York Giants in week 1, and then throwing a game away on the road in week 2. This time it came after a huge first quarter in which Dez Bryant already had 100 yards and a touchdown. The problem was that almost nothing came to follow that up.
Alex Smith not making mistakes is a big bonus as well. Just like Jim Harbaugh did to Smith after taking over the job in San Francisco, he limited the situations in which Smith has to improvise or try to do things he can’t. He was pressured and sacked four times, but he’s good enough at this point of his career to not let it game to him and phase him out.
After the first quarter, the Chiefs started bringing the pressure to Tony Romo. Romo was perfect, with 5-of-5 for 100 yards in the first quarter. The Chiefs brought pressure on 19 of his 40 dropbacks for the rest of the game, limiting Romo to 4-of-7 passing and only 41 yards to Dez Bryant the rest of the game, which all of the came when he didn’t see five or more coming at him.
The Chiefs enjoyed some calls that went their way, especially on that final drive. A pass interference call on Morris Claiborne that shouldn’t have been flagged gave new life to the dying attempts of the Chiefs to eat up the clock. But they got a new set of downs with just over two minutes left in the game, and managed to leave Romo with only 16 seconds in an attempt to win the game. DeMarcus Ware was being held illegally on two plays in that drive, but no one made the call.
The turnovers, in hindsight, ruined the game for the Cowboys. Tony Romo with one fumble, Lance Dunbar with another. The Chiefs didn’t play great, but got what they needed from Charles on that last drive, finishing with 55 yards on 16 carries. Smith himself was the leading rusher on the day, making the right choices when he was forced to scramble away.
The Chiefs needed this kind of win to make sure that they’re not just a team that can beat the likes of the Jags. While the Cowboys aren’t of the elite teams in the NFL, they’re a very good one and were favorites to win at Arrowhead. They probably played better overall, but made the mistakes the Chiefs didn’t, which usually sums up the difference in close NFL games.
Alex Smith is the right place in the right time for a team needing a solid quarterback to take them out of a terrible season. Andy Reid is doing a good job, making an offense that looked broken apart last season seem a lot better than it actually might be, but it has a good enough defense to lean on, and an experienced enough duo calling the shots to keep them undefeated so far.