The first victory of the season provided some relief for the injury-ravaged Kansas City Chiefs.
Alex Smith shook off five sacks to throw three touchdown passes and help the Chiefs beat the Miami Dolphins 34-15 on Sunday.
Smith led touchdown drives of 62, 76 and 66 yards in a span of four possessions as Kansas City took leads of 14-0 and 21-10. The defense protected the early lead, allowing only four third down conversions and sacking Ryan Tannehill four times.
The Chiefs improved to 1-2 and won for only the third time in their past 11 games, including postseason. The Dolphins fell to 1-2, another wobbly start for a team that hasn't won a postseason game since 2000.
Smith, who ranked 35th and last in the NFL in passing after two weeks, went 19 for 25 for 186 yards, with three of his incompletions dropped. He threw scoring passes of 11 and 4 yards to Joe McKnight, and 20 yards to Travis Kelce.
The Chiefs were without seven starters, including running back Jamaal Charles, who was inactive because of a high ankle sprain. Knile Davis, subbing for Charles, rushed for a career-high 132 yards on 32 carries, and he scored on a 21-yard run.
Kansas City totaled 23 first downs despite shaky pass protection. One sack of Smith resulted in a safety, and another by Jared Odrick forced a fumble that set up Miami's only touchdown.
Miami's Lamar Miller gained 108 yards rushing, but Tannehill struggled for the third game in a row, this time against a pass defense ranked as the worst in the NFL. He went 21 for 43 for 205 yards.
Many fans streamed for the exits in the final minutes, while others lingered to boo the offense.
Photos from the Chiefs week three match up against the Miami Dolphins.
Even when the Dolphins put up points, they could look inept. One scoring drive covered zero yards in four plays, sandwiched between rookie Jarvis Landry's 74-yard kickoff return and Caleb Sturgis' 51-yard field goal.
Coach Joe Philbin gave his many second-guessers fresh fodder. When the Dolphins ran on third-and-10 at the Chiefs 45, they gained 4 yards and had to punt. On fourth-and-2 at the Chiefs 30, they attempted a 47-yard field goal and missed it in a 0-0 game.
And trailing by six points in the fourth quarter at midfield, Tannehill was sacked trying to throw on third-and-1, forcing a punt.
The teams appeared evenly matched at the outset. The Dolphins were penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct when an official ran into a coach along the sideline. Two plays later, Kansas City lost 15 yards on a botched exchange on a double reverse.
The Chiefs' early highlights were a pair of 64-yard punts by Dustin Colquitt. But the offense got rolling midway through the second quarter, mounting a 62-yard drive capped by Davis' 21-yard touchdown run.
The Chiefs drove 76 yards for another touchdown on their next series to lead 14-0.
They wrapped up the victory with a 44-yard touchdown drive following a 47-yard punt return by Frankie Hammond Jr. Smith hit McKnight for the score to make it 27-15 with 4:35 left.