KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Alex Smith was bruised and battered, his shoulder ailing from where a 300-pound defensive lineman landed on him and his ribs feeling the effects of every hit delivered by the Eagles.
No amount of pain could wipe the smile from his face.
The Chiefs quarterback followed a sizzling season opener against New England by throwing for 251 yards and a score on Sunday. He also used his feet to scramble to a couple of critical first downs that helped Kansas City hold off Philadelphia 27-20 in a game that came down to the final play.
“All week I was preparing for it,” Smith said of the Eagles’ relentless front, which managed to drop him four times. “You play enough snaps they’re going to get home occasionally. It’s important not to let them rattle you, not to speed up your time clock, stay disciplined back there.
“They want you to speed up,” he added. “They want you to make a mistake.”
He made hardly any for the second straight week.
Smith had help, though. Travis Kelce had eight catches for 103 yards and a somersaulting go-ahead TD, and Kareem Hunt followed his record-breaking rookie debut with 81 yards and two TDs on the ground.
The defense, led by Chris Jones , came up with six sacks and a couple of turnovers.
“I just want to do what I can to help this defense,” said Jones, who had three sacks and an interception off a batted pass. “Playing quarterback, tight end, catching interceptions, playing DB, whatever I’ve got to do to help the team win.”
The Chiefs (2-0) led 27-13 before Carson Wentz hit Nelson Agholor with 14 seconds left, and Trey Burton jumped on the onside kick a few seconds later to give the Eagles (1-1) one last chance.
The Chiefs’ defense stood tall once more: Wentz unloaded from just inside the 50-yard line, but his pass bounced off the hands of a couple defenders and fell incomplete as time expired.
“The takeaway is you’re right there, a team that lit the scoreboard up in Week 1 in New England,'” Eagles coach Doug Pederson said. “But we got to get the run game fixed. It’s a team effort. However the game plays out, we try to find a way to win at the end and mistakes obviously cost us today.”
WISE WENTZ: The Eagles’ young quarterback had 333 yards and two TDs passing, despite all that pressure. Wentz also ran for a team-best 55 yards. “Great young quarterback,” said Chiefs linebacker Dee Ford, “and he’s able to do a lot of things with his feet. He’s a smaller Big Ben (Roethlisberger).”
HAPPY HUNTING: Hunt, the Chiefs’ rookie running back, was held in check until a 53-yard TD run in the second half. His second scoring run provided the final margin. That gave him five touchdowns from scrimmage in his first two games, tied for second most in NFL history. Dutch Sternaman had six in 1920, while Billy Sims (1980) and Jahvid Best (2010) also had five. “I just want to keep doing what I do,” said Hunt, a third-round pick. “Just keep helping this team win.”
INJURY REPORT: The Eagles lost starting safety Rodney McLeod and backup cornerback Jaylen Watkins to hamstring injuries in the first half. Watkins had already assumed a bigger role in the defense after starter Ronald Darby was sidelined for about six weeks with a dislocated ankle. And the Chiefs, who lost star safety Eric Berry last week in New England, had center Mitch Morse go down with a foot sprain.
HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM: Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston, who has been slowed by a litany of injuries since signing a $101 million contract, is back to causing problems. He had a sack, three tackles for loss and a couple of quarterback hurries. “It’s about us as a whole,” he said. “I can come out here and have 20 sacks in the game, but if we don’t dominate as a whole, it doesn’t matter.”
JEFFERY SHINES: After he was held in check by Washington last week, the Eagles’ Alshon Jeffery had seven catches for 92 yards and a score. His rapport with Wentz appeared much better — he had 13 targets in the game — and that could bode well for Philadelphia the rest of the season.
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