The Kansas City Chiefs are still the only undefeated team in the NFL, but beating Washington wasn’t an easy feat on Monday Night Football. The team needed Alex Smith to orchestrate one last drive in the final minute that set up a game-winning field goal to give the Chiefs the 29-20 win.
It was an impressive performance by two good football teams and just came down to who had the last possession.
Alex Smith was excellent again with 293 passing yards and 56 rushing yards, and Kirk Cousins wasn’t far behind with 227 passing and 38 rushing.
Here are the 10 moments that defined another good Monday Night Football game:
1. Kirk Cousins struck right away with a bomb to Terrelle Pryor
The Chiefs have been rolling to start the year, but Washington made it clear on the first drive that it came to Kansas City meaning business. On a six-play touchdown drive, Cousins got Washington on the board with a deep shot to Pryor.
The quarterback-turned-receiver signed a one-year, $6 million contract with Washington in March, but hasn’t done much. The touchdown over Marcus Peters was his first with the team and finally a sign that he can make an impact.
2. The Washington defense came out hitting hard
It wasn’t just Cousins who started the game strong. The Washington defense was laying out anybody and everybody wearing red. After Travis Kelce got a first down for the Chiefs — which came at a premium early — he celebrated in front of the Washington defense and got instant retribution on the next play from Josh Norman.
Kelce ended up having one of the best games of his career, so the big hit probably won’t keep him up at night.
3. Both teams had some costly injuries
The Chiefs gave right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif a five-year, $41.25 million deal in February, but would be lucky to get him back soon. The young offensive lineman was carted off with a knee injury early Monday night and the team is already concerned it’s a ligament injury.
Washington had its fair share of injuries, too, with Robert Kelley, Trent Williams, Josh Norman, and others all exiting at various points of the game.
Kelley and Williams returned, but the rib injury for Norman is expected to keep the cornerback out of action for a few weeks.
4. Travis Kelce got the Chiefs on the board
While the Washington defense was having success early, Kelce was still managing to put together a good game. His best moment came in the second quarter when he got the touchdown that finally got the Chiefs offense rolling.
Kelce finished with seven receptions and 111 yards — the third-highest yardage total of his career.
5. There was dancing
Week 4 was a good weekend for touchdown dances and Monday night was the perfect cherry on top.
First it was Pryor.
Then it was Kelce.
I’ll give Kelce the win for best celebration.
6. Alex Smith fooled absolutely everybody for a touchdown
Kansas City’s power read shovel offense has been a nightmare for defenses to deal with and it even claimed an ESPN cameraman as a victim Monday.
The rushing touchdown was the 10th of Smith’s five-year stint with the Chiefs, putting him one ahead of Len Dawson for the franchise record among quarterbacks.
7. Vernon Davis got Washington back on top
Smith’s touchdown gave the Chiefs their first lead of the night, but it lasted a grand total of 98 seconds before Washington snatched it back. That’s because 33-year-old tight end Vernon Davis was left to run wild all over the field on a 69-yard pass play.
The big play set up a 3-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Ryan Grant to give Washington a 17-14 lead.
8. The Chiefs leaned on Kareem Hunt on the way to victory
It was the first quiet game of Kareem Hunt’s young career, but the Chiefs leaned on the rookie in the fourth quarter and he bullied the Washington defense to put the game on ice. Other running backs took notice.
Hunt going off 4th quarter time— Todd Gurley II (@TG3II) October 3, 2017
Hunt’s 51 yards in the fourth quarter set up a pair of short field goals for Harrison Butker that gave the Chiefs a 20-17 lead. It wasn’t one of the explosive, touchdown-filled days that Hunt put together in his first three games, but he still finished with an impressive 102 yards on 20 carries.
9. Kirk Cousins put the team on his back
With just a few minutes to work with, Cousins led Washington down the field mostly on his own. Over a four-play span, he ran three times for 33 yards to get the team into Chiefs territory.
Then he almost won the game with a pass to Josh Doctson.
The drop made Washington settle for a field goal that tied the game at 20-20.
10. Alex Smith finished it with a beautiful throw on the run
It took Smith only a few plays to get the Chiefs in field goal range. Rolling to his right with just over 30 seconds remaining, Smith fired down field and perfectly dropped a pass into the arms of Albert Wilson.
His next throw to Chris Conley got Kansas City to the 24 and set up a 42-yard field goal that Butker nailed to win the game. With another interception-free performance, Smith is still the NFL’s highest rated passer after four weeks.
11. The Chiefs changed a lot of bets with a garbage time touchdown
Butker’s final field goal essentially won the game for the Chiefs, but Washington still had time for one more desperation play. It went horribly.
But there was some significance to Justin Houston scooping up the ball and taking it into the end zone. With the touchdown, the Chiefs won 29-20 and covered the 6.5-point spread as well as the 47.5-point over/under.
That’s a huge win for some folks and the worst beat ever for those on Washington and/or the under.
With the win, the Chiefs improved to 4-0, while the loss for Washington dropped the team to 2-2. The injuries for both will be concerning, but Monday was a game between two good football teams and both can feel good about their chances in the remainder of 2017.