For the second straight week, the Kansas City Chiefs went toe-to-toe with one of the NFL’s top teams at Arrowhead Stadium and a disastrous fumble took place in a tied ballgame.
This time around, though, the Chiefs were able to overcome the turnover en route to a drama-filled 26-23 win over the Minnesota Vikings thanks to Harrison Butker’s 44-yard field goal as time expired.
“It was exciting,” said quarterback Matt Moore, who drew a second straight start in place of Patrick Mahomes. “This is an emotional game. The emotions were all over the place today, but to see the team win at home, see the guys rally, everybody really ... A total team win in all three phases.”
Chiefs defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi, who totaled six tackles in the game, agreed emphatically.
“It felt amazing because the game went down to the wire,” Nnadi said. “I was standing on the sideline and looking around, but this is the type of game you always strive for. It was just exciting. Both sides going back and forth, and to end the game the way it did, a shout to Butker, who is as clutch as I don’t know what. It was a great game.”
Indeed, but this victory didn’t come easily.
With the two teams locked in a 10-10 game to start the third quarter, rookie wide receiver Mecole Hardman turned the ball over on a kickoff return. And the Vikings capitalized immediately on a series that saw another Chiefs blunder.
On third-and-4, the Chiefs burned a timeout after what appeared to be confusion on the defensive side. But instead of coming back on the field organized, the Chiefs’ defense left running back Ameer Abdullah wide open in the flat, where quarterback Kirk Cousins found him for a 16-yard touchdown and a 16-10 lead after a missed extra point.
The two teams then traded punts before Chiefs running back Damien Williams electrified the stadium with a 91-yard touchdown run that put Kansas City on top again, 17-16. Williams took the handoff and quickly found open field after clearing the hole and the second level of the Vikings’ defense.
The run tied a team record for longest touchdown run, which Jamaal Charles set in 2012 against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Williams’ run was also the longest for a touchdown in the NFL this season.
Wiliams finished the game with 125 yards rushing, becoming the first Chiefs running back to top 100 yards on the ground in a game this season.
The Chiefs added to their lead on a 45-yard field goal by Butker, but the Vikings answered on the ensuing possession.
Facing a 20-16 deficit, the Vikings put together an 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive to regain a 23-20 advantage. Cousins finished the drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph.
The Chiefs appeared confused before the snap. The Vikings caught them attempting to rotate personnel groupings as players dashed to the sideline. By the time the ball was snapped, the Chiefs had just 10 players on the field.
But overall, the Chiefs’ defense turned in another solid performance against a quality offense.
The Vikings entered the weekend ranked third in the league in total offense, anchored by running back Dalvin Cook, who averaged 102.9 yard rushing per game. The Chiefs limited Cook to 36 yards on 10 carries through the first two quarters before the Vikings star finished with 71 yards rushing on 21 attempts.
It was just the third time this season that Cook didn’t rush for at least 90 yards.
“I’m proud of our defense,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “We’re continuing to work and get better. One of the objectives was to get better every week. They’ve done that.”
The Chiefs went into the game without six starters for the second consecutive weekend.
Moore enjoyed an efficient first half, completing 14 of 19 passes for 127 yards and a touchdown for a 108.9 passer rating. His top play came on a 40-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Tyreek Hill. Moore didn’t have to worry about overthrowing Hill on the play, as Hill tracked the ball in the air the second Moore launched it toward the right pylon. Hill got behind the defense, then dove for the ball, securing it inside the 5-yard line and landing in the end zone for a touchdown.
The veteran quarterback revealed after the game that he didn’t see the result of the pass because he was on the ground.
“I was being taken to the ground, so I let it go and was just like, ‘Man, I hope he gets there,’” Moore said with a chuckle.
The crowd’s reaction told him Hill caught the ball, a fact confirmed by one of his offensive linemen.
“I was like, ‘Sweet! There we go!’” Moore said.
Moore finished the game 25 of 35 for 275 yards, while Hill totaled six catches for 140 yards and a touchdown.
Their contributions, a steady defensive performance and Butker’s leg proved enough to lift the Chiefs to 6-3 this season.
“That’s a good football team,” Reid said of Minnesota. “I think (Vikings coach) Mike (Zimmer) has done a nice job with that group. That’s a good win for us.”
The Chiefs snapped a three-game losing streak at Arrowhead Stadium and travel in Week 10 to face the Tennessee Titans.