The Kansas City Chiefs jumped out to a quick lead and never surrendered it on Sunday night as they defeated the Dallas Cowboys, 19-9, behind an outstanding defensive effort that dominated throughout the game.
Kansas City held the Cowboys – who entered the game as the top scoring offense in the NFL – without a touchdown in the game, marking Dallas' first outing this season without a trip to the end zone. The Chiefs also took the ball away three times, including an interception by cornerback L'Jarius Sneed on the Cowboys' final possession that sealed the victory for Kansas City.
"That's the number one offense in the National Football League, and I just thought our defense brought it every snap – particularly, our defensive line against a heck of an offensive line," said Head Coach Andy Reid. "I'm proud of the guys for that."
Chiefs' quarterback Patrick Mahomes completed 23-of-37 passes or 260 yards in the contest, leading scoring drives on each of Kansas City's first three possessions. That stretch began with a 9-play, 86-yard series on the Chiefs' opening drive that ended with a 4-yard rush by tight end Travis Kelce, who took a direct snap and plunged ahead for the first points of the game.
Kansas City then recorded its first takeaway of the game just a few moments later, as defensive end Frank Clark stripped the ball free from Cowboys' quarterback Dak Prescott on Dallas' ensuing possession. Prescott – who entered the game with the top passer rating in the NFL – was responsible for all three of the Cowboys' turnovers, marking a season-high in giveaways.
The Chiefs went on to turn the takeaway into a field goal before marching down the field yet again a possession later, culminating in a 1-yard touchdown run by tailback Clyde Edwards-Helaire. It was the first rushing touchdown of the season for Edwards-Helaire, who returned on Sunday after a five-game stint on Injured Reserve to record 63 yards on the ground.
Edwards-Helaire's score had the Chiefs in front by 13 points early in the second quarter, and as it went on to turn out, that was the last touchdown by either team for the remainder of the game. The two squads combined for a total of three field goals in the second half and Dallas never pulled within a single score.
The Chiefs' defense routinely squashed any inklings of a momentum shift throughout the game, including after a fumble by Mahomes that set Dallas up in Kansas City territory late in the first half. The Cowboys had an opportunity to narrow the deficit to just six points before the break, but cornerback Charvarius Ward hauled in a tremendous interception in the end zone that ended the scoring threat.
That defensive success was also evident along the line of scrimmage, as the Chiefs racked up eight quarterback hits and five sacks on Prescott. Defensive lineman Chris Jones was responsible for 3.5 of those sacks all by himself, putting together a monster game that included a fumble recovery on Clark's strip sack and a tipped pass on Sneed's game-sealing interception. Jones' efforts made him the first member of the Chiefs to record at least 3.5 sacks in a single game since Dee Ford did so in 2016.
"It was fun…The backend played exceptional today. I think the game ball should go to the backend," Jones said. "They played so exceptional that they made the quarterback hold the ball and we were able to affect the quarterback and he couldn't go to his first read. The backend played really, really good today."
Offensively, wide receiver Tyreek Hill led all players with nine catches for 77 yards. Tight end Travis Kelce also turned in a productive game despite not catching a pass in the first half, rallying to haul in five receptions for 74 yards over the final two quarters of play.
It all helped the Chiefs move to 7-4 on the season after winning just three games through their first seven contests, maintaining first place in the division heading into their bye week.
"I'm excited because we're still not playing our best football and we're sitting here at 7-4," Mahomes said. "Everything is right in front of us. We can be better – especially offensively – and the defense can continue to get better and better each and every week. To [think] where we started and to [see] where we're at now while still not even playing our best football, I would take that every time."
In terms of injuries, Coach Reid mentioned tailback Jerick McKinnon (hamstring) and cornerback Rashad Fenton (knee) following the game.
Kansas City will now enter its bye week on a four-game winning streak before returning to GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Dec. 5 to take on the Denver Broncos. That contest kicks off a stretch of four divisional games in the Chiefs' last six matchups of the regular season, making for an exciting finish to the year as Kansas City aims to secure a sixth-straight AFC West title.