KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Starting the season with two uneven offensive performances, the Kanas City Chiefs wanted a fundamental sound outing against the New York Jets. They got just that, with a 24-3 turnover-fueled victory Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
The offense did not show much flash, but it did show efficiency and productivity, scoring 17 points off Jets turnovers. Quarterback Alex Smith said he didn’t care about style points, only that his team picked up a win.
“I thought we were way more efficient today,” Smith said. “I thought we spread the field really well.”
The Chiefs (2-1) defense did the heavy lifting, however, generating eight turnovers. The Chiefs forced turnovers early, often and in every way imaginable. The Jets (1-2) picked up yards late to make their output look respectable, but the vising offense rarely threatened, and when they did the Chiefs defense responded with a takeaway.
Marcus Peters snared two of those interceptions. That gives him four so far this season, which leads the NFL.
“When things are happening like they did today, you enjoy it,” Peters said. “You embrace the opportunities that you have, you capitalize on them and you have fun doing it.”
Smith finished the day 25-of-33 passing for 237 yards and a touchdown. Spencer Ware led the Chiefs in rushing with 75 yards on 20 carries, while Travis Kelce picked up six receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown.
Kelce said it felt good to take an early lead and pick up the win, but noted the offense still has work to do.
“There’s still a few mistakes we need to clean up,” Kelce said. “As a team, we need to come out and put it all together.”
Coach Andy Reid placed a premium on the fundamentals this week, and in most respects his offense responded.
The Chiefs converted 7-of-15 third-down opportunities, committed just two penalties for 15 yards and controlled the ball for more than 32 minutes in leading the game wire-to-wire.
Reid gave credit to his battered offensive line, which missed two starters for the second-straight week.
“I thought our offensive line – we’ve had a couple of injuries there – and I thought those guys stepped up there and did a nice job for us,” Reid said. “It starts there.”
But in spite of the positives, there’s still concern for an offense that generates only 24 points against an opposition that commits eight turnovers. Several key plays turned a potential lopsided rout into a workmanlike victory, Smith said.
“I definitely had some opportunities out there that we could have taken advantage of,” Smith said.
After cornerback Phillip Gaines forced a fumble recovered by safety Eric Murray at the Chiefs’ 47-yard line early in the second quarter, Smith drove the team to a first-and-goal from the 3-yard line.
A screen pass to tight end Travis Kelce lost a yard, then an option pitch Spencer Ware lost five more. On third-and-goal Smith failed to connect in the corner of the end zone with Chris Conley, and the team settled for a 27-yard Cairo Santos field goal.
Late in the second quarter, the Chiefs tried to beat the Jets vertically. Smith narrowly missed connections with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin on back-to-back deep throws that would have put the Chiefs in scoring position before halftime.
Then on the Chiefs’ second drive after the half, the offense picked up 57 yards in three plays, setting up first-and-goal from the 6-yard line. Running back Spencer Ware took the ball to the goal line on the next play for an apparent touchdown.
After an official review, however, it was determined Ware fumbled the ball short of the goal line into the end zone and out of bounds, turning the ball over to the Jets.
It all added up to nothing for Smith.
“All of a sudden three plays, couple plays there at the end of the half, me and Mac connect, it’s a very, very different game,” Smith said.
Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.