With starting tailback Andre Ellington out for the season, the Arizona Cardinals turned to a guy who had been called up two days earlier from the practice squad.
Kerwynn Williams delivered, rushing for 100 yards as the Cardinals rallied to beat Kansas City 17-14 on Sunday in a matchup of teams that had lost two in a row.
The NFC West-leading Cardinals (10-3) took the lead when Drew Stanton threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Brown in the third quarter.
Arizona held on after winning a crucial reversal. Kansas City was driving with five minutes remaining, when Cardinals coach Bruce Arians challenged that tight end Travis Kelce fumbled after a 19-yard reception to the Arizona 22. The officials ruled that Kelce lost the ball before he rolled on his back and got to his feet. Justin Bethel recovered at the Arizona 15, ending the last serious Kansas City threat.
The Chiefs (7-6) are tied with four other AFC wild-card hopefuls looking up at San Diego, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. The Cardinals have a one-game lead over Seattle, and the Seahawks travel to Arizona in two weeks.
Jamaal Charles scored two first-half touchdowns on a 63-yard run and 18-yard pass from Alex Smith, but the Chiefs were shut out in the second half.
An offensive pass interference penalty against Anthony Fasano negated a Kansas City touchdown. Two plays later, Alex Okafor intercepted quarterback Alex Smith.
The Cardinals drove to the Chiefs 26, and on third and 18 Stanton threw over the middle to hit Jaron Brown in stride for the winning score. The two-point conversion pass to John Carlson was good and, for the first time in the game, Arizona had the lead, 17-14.
Arizona rookie Chandler Catanzaro kicked three field goals but missed two, the first off the right upright, he second off the left with 1:09 to play.
That gave Kansas City a chance, but the Chiefs never got to midfield before turning it over on downs.
Kansas City Chiefs take on the Cardinals in Arizona on Sunday December 7, 2014
Arizona's injury-riddled team got another when cornerback Antonio Cromartie left in the fourth quarter with an Achilles injury.
The Cardinals were without running back Andre Ellington, who is out for the season with a hip pointer, sports hernia and partially torn foot tendon, Arians said after the game.
That led Arizona to bring up Williams for the second time this season.
The seventh-round draft pick of Indianapolis last year, revved up what has been a sluggish Arizona running game. He carried the ball 19 times, averaging 5.3 yards per carry.
In the first half, Smith completed 12 of 13 passes for 109 yards and a score. In the second half, the Chiefs quarterback was 11 of 23 for it 182 yards and an interception.
Charles gained 91 in 10 carries, 67 of them in one attempt.
He burst through the line, breaking the tackle try by nose tackle Dan Williams, then ran through open space on a 67-yard touchdown that put the Chiefs up 7-0.
A short time later, Charles went down with an injured left ankle, but was able to get up and walk off the field. He went to the locker room, but came back in time to catch the touchdown pass.