The Cowboys entered the game trying to be 2-0 for the first time since 2008. The Chiefs entered the game trying to match their 2012 win total after just two weeks. For this one, the Chiefs achieved their goal and Dallas didn't. A 17-16 loss to the former Texans puts Dallas back on it's roller coaster as it's 2013 record drops to 1-1.
Tony Romo started off hot, the defense created relentless pressure, but not scoring touchdowns when given the opportunity led to a small lead being lost soon after halftime. The Cowboys offense went cold when it mattered, and a stellar defensive effort wasn't able to keep Kansas City from milking most of the fourth quarter clock.
Dallas would welcome in G Brian Waters, and welcome Anthony Spencer and Lance Dunbar to the 2013 season, however two key fumbles by the Cowboys and two missed interception opportunities changed the storyline from the season-starting victory over the Giants. Dallas will have to regroup next week to try and get their 2013 form together.
On what started as a rainy day in Kansas City, the Chiefs would make Hank Stram proud, at least early on. KC won the toss and matriculated their way down the field for a score, thanks to the legs of new quarterback Alex Smith. Smith would opt to escape the pocket on several occasions instead of forcing the ball to covered receivers. Well, he did that once, but Will Allen was unable to secure the interception. Smith ran the rock five times for 40 yards, with the biggest gain being a 17 yard scramble on 3rd and 15 to keep the drive alive. After another scramble brought them to the two, he would find Jamaal Charles after a rollout for a two-yard touchdown pass and an early 7-0 lead.
Tony Romo and his medically, pain-relieved bruised ribs would return to the field where they last announced Miles Austin to the world. Dallas was able to complete a big play when Romo would throw a back shoulder fade to Bryant while Brandon Flowers plowed into him. Bryant would make the catch despite the DPI, then rumble down field for a 53 yard gain. The drive was stalled however when Dontari Poe blew past rookie center Travis Frederick for an up-the-middle sack of Romo. Fortunately Dallas was able to score some points when Dan "Split'Em" Bailey nailed a 51 yarder; his sixth kick of over 50 yards in his career.
The Chiefs would get the ball back as the sun came back out and Dallas got to see the Sean Lee Identity. On the first play, Jamaal Charles would put a move on Lee that worked, however Lee is so good he was able to recover and still stop Charles for a TFL with no help. On the next play, Lee would tackle Dexter McCluster over the middle just short of the yard marker. Jason Hatcher would knock down the third-down pass for the defenses' first three and out.
A big return by Harris would set Dallas up at their 45 and we'd see G Brian Waters first action of the game. Murray immediately ran behind him for 5, and then a pull left would net a first down. From there, Dez Bryant would take over the game. Dez would get behind Brandon Flowers for a beautiful diving grab and a gain of 38. Dallas would quickly hurry to the line to avoid Kansas City challenging and they got off a completion to Dez at the goal line. Two plays later Romo would find Dez in the back of the end zone for the touchdown with just 36 seconds left in the quarter.
Romo would complete 5 passes, all to Dez, for 100 yards and the score.
On the next Chiefs drive, Jason Hatcher made his presence known again, as he worked on the new right tackle on a stunt with Anthony Spencer to get a third-down sack of Alex Smith. That would be two straight drives with key third-down plays to get his defense off the field. Kansas City lost their left tackle Brandon Albert to a shoulder injury and the pressures on the Chiefs backfield would start to mount.
The Chiefs punt would pin the Cowboys at their five and they were in turn unable to get anything going, returning the ball to the Chief at the 50. Somehow, the Chiefs forgot to block DeMarcus Ware on the first play and he blasted Alex Smith for his first sack of the year. Another pressure from Ware would force Smith to make a negligible dump off, and more pressure on third down would force another incompletion.
Dallas took back over at their 10 and James Hanna would catch a dumpoff for two yards, the first completion to someone other than Dez Bryant. On the next play, Romo lofted a beautiful pass that Dez stretched out for and caught behind Brandon Flowers. The refs must have been feeling sorry for Flowers as they called offensive pass interference on Dez even though the hand fighting went both ways and the two had seperated by the time the ball was nearing. Dallas was forced to punt again.
Again from near midfield, the Chiefs start their attack. A read-option sucked Anthony Spencer to the RB and Smith was able to get the first down on the Cowboys side of the field. George Selvie would thwart a Smith rollout on the next play for a short gain. Anthony Spencer pressure would force an incompletion, then on 3rd and long Dallas would rush six. Sean Lee would get in the backfield first and force a hold, but Demarcus Ware would bring Smith down for his second sack of the game.
Stuck again inside their ten, Dallas would finally escape the shadows of the goal post after a Murray run and then an outlet pass to him that brought them out to the 25. They then would get the rest of the troops involved. A slant to Miles Austin would get a new set of downs, and that was followed by Jason Witten's 815th career catch. That tied him with Shannon Sharpe for second most receptions for an NFL tight end in league history.
The drive would stall at midfield, however, when Romo would throw behind Witten and the play was broken up by KC FS Kendrick Lewis. A punt would start the Chiefs at their 15 as Dallas was finally able to shift field position. They needed it as Kansas City was able to drive to midfield before a Bruce Carter pass breakup would force a 57 yard field goal attempt. Orlando Scandrick would swoop in from the left side and record his first blocked kick of his pro career and secure a 10-7 halftime lead.
Dallas opened up the second half with a solid drive that fizzled in the red zone. The big play of the drive was a 3rd and short completion to rookie Terrance Williams. Williams caught a high lob from Romo for 22 yards. Lance Dunbar would then see his first game action of the season, spinning his way for a 12 yard gain inside the five. Dallas would squander the opportunity after a failed protection let Poe in for his second sack of the game. A Ron Leary false start and a questionable screen to Williams would bring out Dan Bailey for his second field goal of the game and a 13-7 lead.
Dallas seemed to outthink themselves here. KC had blitzed the entire game on 3rd down. Instead of going to Dez Bryant who had one on one on the left side, the screen to Williams was met by a Chiefs zone for no bueno.
The Chiefs would respond with a well-run drive that would see them take the lead. Alex Smith would find Donnie Avery wide open in front of Will Allen for a 31 yard catch on 3rd and 9, and a few plays later would find Dwayne Bowe running free in front of the linebackers for a lead-taking touchdown.
Dallas would get the ball back and work to midfield before disaster struck. Romo would hit Dunbar on a short circle route, but he was stripped by Akeem Jordan right before his knee hit down. KC safety Eric Berry would scoop up the ball and return it to the Dallas 31. Dallas' defense would force a Chiefs field goal that extended the lead to 17-13 with most of the fourth quarter remaining.
Dallas would again make life difficult for themselves on the subsequent drive. On 3rd and five, the pressure would come heavy from the blindside as the Chiefs sent three at Tyron Smith and Leary. Romo would be hit from behind on his wind up and the Chiefs would recover the ball at the Dallas 35.
The defense would not let things get out of reach however. A blitz right up the middle by WLB Bruce Carter would bring a fourth sack of Alex Smith, and Carter's second in as many games. The punt unit would come out and Dallas would take over at their own 15.
The Cowboys might have let their prime opportunity slip away. On second down, Romo lofted a beautiful tear drop over the head of Brandon Flowers, who had once again been beaten by Dez Bryant. Bryant however let the ball go through his hands and Dallas would punt two plays later. The Chiefs had started paying much closer attention to Bryant since his first quarter exploits, but this one-on-one chance had to be capitalized on. In stride, it could have been a game-winner.
Dallas' defense would again come through, forcing a three and out and another punt; this one getting Dallas the ball back with 7 minutes remaining.
Romo would quickly get the Cowboys past their own 40, with back to back completions to Austin and then Dez, both for first downs. On second down, Romo would find Murray who scooted along the sideline for a 17 yard gain to get at the Chiefs 35, but a false start on Dwayne Harris would put Dallas in first and 15.
Cowboys fans hears took a collective jump as Romo's pass on 2nd and 15 was cleanly picked off by Eric Berry. A holding penalty would give Dallas the ball back and a fresh set of downs. Romo would almost throw another interception on the next play, but it was dropped.
Romo, who took pain-killing meds before the game to deal with his bruised ribs was suddenly cold after starting 25 for 30. Every pass as the game went on was more and more off target until he was nowhere close on several consecutive passes. Bailey would come in and nail a 53 yarder to bring the Cowboys within 1 point.
The team was banking on it's defense to get the offense the ball back, but Jamaal Charles ran and ran and ran and the Chiefs were near midfield. A big run to the right sideline was aided by a missed hold on Demarcus Ware. An illegal shift would push KC back inside their 40. But they would gain the necessary first downs to run the clock down to under 30 seconds.
Another booming Dustin Colquitt punt would bury Dallas inside their 10, and the game was over soonafter.
Dallas drops to 1-1, and moves on to prepare for the St. Louis Rams at AT&T Stadium next Sunday.