Key play: The Rams’ Austin Davis hit Kenny Britt for 43 yards on the game’s third play from scrimmage.
Key stat: Dustin Colquitt’s two punts were for 46 and 50 yards, and both came down inside the 20.
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Key play: Safety Ron Parker sacked Davis for a 14-yard loss on third and goal from the 6, leading to Greg Zuerlein’s miss on a 38-yard field-goal attempt.
Key stat: Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos made his seventh straight field goal, a career-long 53-yarder with 1 second left in the half.
Key play: Knile Davis returned the second-half kickoff 99 yards, giving the Chiefs a 17-7 lead.
Key stat: The Rams’ defense had two personal fouls on the Chiefs’ field-goal drive.
Key play: Jamaal Charles’ 36-yard touchdown run put the game out of reach.
Key stat: The Rams mustered just 135 yards of offense after their opening possession.
Player of the game: Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houstonhad a season-best three sacks and four quarterback hits.
Reason to hope: The Chiefs have another inexperienced quarterback coming in next week, assuming the Jets don’t bench Geno Smith in favor of Michael Vick.
Reason to mope: It was only 10-7 at halftime, and it took a kickoff return to jump-start the scoreboard.
Looking ahead: The Chiefs remain home for a noon game Sunday against the New York Jets.
It took a while to get untracked, but the Chiefs eventually wore down the Rams’ defensive front. Charles averaged 5.6 yards per carry, thanks to his season-long 36-yard touchdown run.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith was efficient, though not prodigious. He completed 24 of 28 passes for 226 yards, but almost everything was underneath. Just seven of the 24 completions went to wide receivers, with Dwayne Bowe catching six of them. Tight end Travis Kelce put on a show with his escapes after receptions.
Rams running backs carved out a few good runs early, but the Chiefs stoned them for a pair of 1-yard runs during a second-quarter goal-line stand. St. Louis abandoned the running game in the second half, when it rushed for just 34 yards.
The Chiefs’ pass rush took advantage of an inexperienced quarterback and an offensive line that lost three starters — center Scott Wells, guard Rodger Saffold and tackle Jake Long — to injuries and rolled up a season-most seven sacks. Ron Parker, playing for injured safety Eric Berry, had an interception. The only downer was the 43-yard pass to Kenny Britt over safety Husain Abdullah.
The Chiefs rose to the challenge of playing one of the better special-teams units in the NFL, with Knile Davis’ 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, Cairo Santos’ career-best 53-yard field goal, and Dustin Colquitt’s 45.5-yard punting average, including three of his four punts inside the Rams’ 20.
Andy Reid is getting the most out of his talent by utilizing a high-percentage passing game. The short passes by Smith neutralized the Rams’ pass rush, and the Chiefs stuck with the running game until Charles could get loose. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton made the necessary adjustments after the Rams’ opening scoring drive.
To reach Randy Covitz, call 816-234-4796 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @randycovitz.