Kansas City, Mo. — The Chiefs followed their offensive-minded upset of the Patriots by leaning on their stout, opportunistic defense to upend the Eagles.
Two wins. Two vastly different ways to achieve them.
“No two games are alike in this league,” said Alex Smith, who threw for 251 yards and a touchdown in their 27-20 victory on Sunday. “You have to find ways to make adjustments.”
Six sacks and two interceptions is a good place to start.
The Chiefs (2-0) simply outscored the Patriots in their season opener last week, but they needed three sacks and a pick from defensive tackle Chris Jones, solid play in a secondary missing star safety Eric Berry, and some big plays down the stretch to keep the Eagles (1-1) at bay.
Travis Kelce had eight catches for 103 yards and a somersaulting go-ahead touchdown grab with 6:25 left in the game. Rookie Kareem Hunt followed his record-setting debut by running for 81 yards and two scores, the second of them giving Kansas City a 27-13 lead and seemingly putting the game away.
But Carson Wentz hit Nelson Agholor for an answering score with 14 seconds left, and Trey Burton jumped on the onside kick a few seconds later to give the Eagles one last throw to the end zone.
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.”
Wentz finished with 333 yards and two touchdowns passing, despite facing relentless pressure all afternoon. The spunky quarterback also led the Eagles with 55 yards rushing.
“He’s going to be one of the great ones in the league,” Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston said. “He’s very mobile, very calm in the pocket. It’s tough to rush a guy like that that’s real mobile in the pocket, that can spin moves and get out, get out of trouble.”
The Chiefs led 6-3 at halftime, and it was still 13-13 in the fourth quarter when Wentz threw a pass that bounced off Houston and into the arms of Chris Jones. The pick gave Kansas City the ball deep in Eagles territory, and Kelce hurdled into the end zone five plays later.
It was sweet atonement for the talented but troublemaking tight end, who earlier in the half got an earful from coach Andy Reid when he picked up a 15-yard penalty for taunting.
“You can’t do that. Got to be smarter,” Reid said about Kelce’s antics. “He’s got to learn.”