September 15, 2013

Chiefs report card vs. Cowboys

The Star’s Randy Covitz breaks down the Chiefs’ performance against Dallas.
Rushing offense

When the quarterback is your leading rusher, that’s not always a good sign, but the Chiefs ran it best when they had to, in the final 4 minutes.

Grade: C+ Passing offense

Most everything was short stuff, but Alex Smith was efficient as usual, and most importantly, he has yet to turn the ball over this season. What a change from Matt Cassel.

GRADE: B- Rushing defense

Dontari Poe, Mike DeVito and Tyson Jackson stuffed the line of scrimmage, and the linebackers cleaned up, holding the Cowboys to a 2.3 yard average.

GRADE: A Passing defense

Brandon Flowers had his hands full with Dez Bryant, but the Chiefs contained Jason Witten and Miles Austin and kept Romo under fire and allowed just one TD pass.

GRADE: B Special teams

Dustin Colquitt was phenomenal with five of seven punts inside the 20, but a blocked field goal attempt, a near-costly penalty downing one of Colquitt’s punts at the 2; and a nearly disastrous bobble by Knile Davis on a kickoff return pulls this grade down.

GRADE: C- Coaching

Except for keeping single coverage on Bryant throughout the game, and using Davis on a critical kickoff return, Reid kept his team focused through adversity. His familiarity with the Cowboys paid off. Imagine how that may pay off this week at Philadelphia.


Player of the Game

QB Alex Smith ran for 57 yards and passed for 223 more with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Reason to Hope

The Chiefs’ two victories already match their total of all of last season. The last time they started 2-0 was 2010 when they won the AFC West.

Reason to Mope

The Chiefs need to do a better job of converting turnovers. They got only 3 points out of two takeaways that were both in Dallas territory.

Looking ahead

The Chiefs will travel to Philadelphia on Thursday night for a prime-time game against the Eagles, in the much-anticipated return of Andy Reid to the city where he served as head coach for 14 years.

Key plays

First quarter

Key play: Cowboys WR Dez Bryant’s diving 38-yard reception to the Chiefs’ 6 that set up Dallas’ second score of the quarter, a 2-yard TD catch by Bryant.

Key stat: Bryant, working on Chiefs CB Brandon Flowers, caught five passes for 100 yards.

Second quarter

Key play: A marginal offensive pass-interference call against Bryant nullified a 22-yard gain for a first down to the Dallas 34. The Cowboys punted two plays later.

Key stat: Cowboys had three sacks in the quarter, two by DeMarcus Ware, that kept the Chiefs from mounting any decent drives.

Third quarter

Key play: Alex Smith converted a third and nine by hitting Donnie Avery for 31 yards to the Cowboys 37, setting up a touchdown throw to Dwayne Bowe.

Key stat: Two-for-two in the scoring zone. The Chiefs, after Bowe’s touchdown, are five-for-five inside the opponents’ 20 in two games this season.

Fourth quarter

Key play: Jamaal Charles’ runs of 9 and 16 yards inside the final 4 minutes that picked up first downs and forced the Cowboys to burn their final two time outs.

Key stat: 2-0. Chiefs won the turnover differential 2-0 and are 4-0 this season after an NFL-worst minus-24 in 2012.

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