By Dave Skretta
The Associated Press
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Dallas Cowboys didn’t have any trouble marching deep into Kansas City territory. It was finishing drives with a touchdown that proved problematic.
That was especially true in the fourth quarter Sunday, when they had moved across midfield in search of the go-ahead score. Tony Romo was pressured into three straight misfires, and the Cowboys had to settle for Dan Bailey’s third field goal.
That got the Cowboys within 17-16 with 3:55 left, but their defense couldn’t get off the field quick enough. Morris Claiborne was called for pass interference on third down, allowing Kansas City to melt more time off the clock, and the Chiefs held on for the narrow victory.
“We had a good plan and did some things that gave us a chance to win this football game,” said Romo, who played with bruised ribs. “We put ourselves in position (to win), but we didn’t. Ultimately, that’s all that matters.”
Romo finished 30 of 42 for 298 yards. His favorite target was Dez Bryant, who had 100 yards receiving in the first quarter and finished with nine catches for 141 yards and a touchdown.
Still, the Cowboys (1-1) struggled to run the ball for the second straight week. DeMarco Murray had just 25 yards on 12 carries, and the team finished with 37 yards rushing.
“We haven’t run the ball well enough and we haven’t run it enough,” coach Jason Garrett said.
Alex Smith threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns for Kansas City (2-0), which didn’t commit a turnover for the second straight week — and against a Cowboys defense that forced six against the New York Giants. Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles each had a touchdown catch.
“When you’re trying to build something, you need to win games like this,” Smith said. “These are the games you look at in November and December. You need these types of wins, not only the caliber of the win but the style of win.”
The Chiefs, who already have matched last year’s win total, were amped for Andy Reid’s first game as their coach at Arrowhead Stadium. A capacity crowd roared when they rolled onto the field in all-red uniforms, departing from traditional white pants to signify the start of a new era.
They kept rolling, too. Kansas City marched 77 yards on the opening series, the highlight coming when Smith scrambled 17 yards on third-and-15 and executed a Fosbury Flop over a defender for a first down.
“He did it with grace,” Reid quipped.
Smith capped the drive with a short TD toss to Charles, zipping the ball into tight coverage.
That’s when the Romo-to-Bryant connection got on track.
Bryant outwrestled cornerback Brandon Flowers for a 53-yard catch down the Dallas sideline that helped set up Bailey’s 51-yard field goal. Later in the quarter, Bryant beat Flowers for a 38-yard reception that set up his own 2-yard TD catch and gave Dallas a 10-7 lead.
The Cowboys blocked Ryan Succop’s 57-yard field-goal try to carry their lead into halftime, and then Bryant caught three more passes on the first drive of the third quarter to get Dallas in scoring position again. This time, Bailey knocked through a 30-yarder to pad the lead.
The Chiefs answered with their best drive of the game. Smith hit Donnie Avery for 31 yards to convert a third-and-10, and then hit Dwayne Bowe on a 12-yard slant through blown coverage to give Kansas City a 14-13 lead late in the third quarter.
Dallas fumbled on its next two possessions — Lance Dunbar coughed it up first and then Romo was strip-sacked by Ron Parker. But the Cowboys defense stiffened each time, first forcing a field goal and then getting a sack from Bruce Carter to push the Chiefs out of field-goal range.
The Cowboys marched deep into Chiefs territory, but again Dallas couldn’t find the end zone. By the time Romo got the ball back in his hands, there was hardly any time left.
“We lost the game at the end,” Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher said. “We let them pound the ball down the field. So defense lost the game. We’ll take it. That’s on us.”
Notes: Cowboys TE Jason Witten had three catches to pass Shannon Sharpe for second-most among tight ends. Witten has 817 in his career. ... Cowboys DE DeMarcus Ware and Chiefs DT Dontari Poe each had two sacks.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org