KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Chiefs ground game was alive and running at Arrowhead Stadium against a stout Seattle defense for 190 yards rushing in a 24-20 win, its fifth straight.
“You know, I think it was a great game plan the coaches put together and then we executed it well,” Chiefs’ quarterback Alex Smith said. “The guys up fron, started off and I thought played really physical versus a physical front. They did a great job giving Jamaal some holes and when you give a guy like that any kind of daylight, you see what he does.”
Running back Jamaal Charles ran for a game-high 159 yards and scored on two separate occasions. Seattle, which entered Week 11 ranked fourth in rushing defense, allowed only 79 yards on the ground per game.
“I think the thing that is so undervalued about (Charles) is the guy can run so tough,” Smith said. “He’s so hard to hit and he never seems to take a big shot.”
Kansas City set the tone from the start in stopping Seahawks on the opening drive. When the Chiefs defense forces a punt on the opponent’s first drive, they are 5-1.
The Chiefs mastered a 15-play, 86-yard drive that shaved off nine minutes. Charles immediately established the ground attack, rushing six times in the opening drive, and ultimately finding the end zone.
Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch, the NFL’s fifth leading rusher, posed a viable threat to be the first opponent to score a rushing touchdown on the Chiefs this season.
Lynch fought off Chiefs defenders all afternoon, running for 124 yards, but failed to find the end zone.
“They’re not in until they’re in,” Chiefs linebacker Josh Mauga said on opposing running backs. “We preach that every week and we take pride in it.”
The Chiefs defense stopped Lynch on two critical moments.
Down by four, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll elected to go for a touchdown on fourth and two from the two-yard line with seven minutes remaining.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson tried a fade route to wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who was covered by Sean Smith, but the pass fell incomplete.
The Chiefs attempt to use the rest of the clock with its running game ultimately failed as they were forced to punt it away, giving the Seahawks a chance to win the game with just under six minutes to play.
Seattle found themselves at the Chiefs 36 facing fourth-and-1. The Chiefs defense prevailed against Lynch, as defensive end Allen Bailey, who signed a four-year contract extension Saturday, came up with the stop to preserve a 24-20 Chiefs lead.
Special teams came through in a big way in the final minutes. Dustin Culquitt’s 51-yard punt with just under three minutes to play was downed at the 4-yard line in light of athletic saves from wide receivers Junior Hemingway and Albert Wilson.
PARKER’S UPS AND DOWNS
Ron Parker started the second straight week at cornerback, but came out slow against the Seahawks after last week’s stellar performance.
On the Seahawks first scoring drive, Parker cost linebacker Justin Houston a sack and the Chiefs a fourth down situation with an illegal hands to the face penalty.
Seahawk quarterback Russell Wilson picked on Parker, who bit hard on a 24-yard hook-up with Jermaine Kearse.
Wilson capped off the drive with a touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin, who beat Parker in the back of the end zone for a 7-yard score.
Parker would recover though, and end up as the Chiefs’ leading tackler with 11.
Seahawks tight end Tony Moeaki returned to Arrowhead Stadium for the first time since 2012 after the Chiefs released him in 2013.
He made the most of his lone catch, a 1-yard touchdown grab in the third quarter.
“It was nice to put us up with the lead,” he said. “It would have been a lot nicer had we came away with the victory.”
Moeaki briefly commented on his return to Kansas City.
“My time here was great,” he said. “The fans were awesome today.”
Two Chiefs’ fumbles almost proved costly as the Seahawks turned both fumbles into 10 points.
Tight end Travis Kelce grabbed a first down before fumbling it away to the Seahawks with a minute and 30 seconds left in the first half. Referees originally ruled him down, but replays proved otherwise.
Seattle marched into the red zone and settled for a 27-yard field goal to make it a 14-13 Chiefs lead.
The second Chiefs’ fumble came from a rare suspect.
With a 17-13 lead midway through the third quarter, Charles coughed up the football. Seattle quickly pounced on it to set them up for a Moeaki touchdown grab.
Reid said that no new injuries surfaced after the physical game.
Tight end Anthony Fasano (knee), wide receiver A.J. Jenkins (shoulder), cornerback Chris Owens (knee), wide receiver Donnie Avery (groin), cornerback Jamell Fleming (hamstring) and offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif were inactive.
The Chiefs (7-3) will be on short rest as they are travel to Oakland Thursday night to face the Raiders (0-10).
The game is scheduled to air at 7:25 p.m. on NFL Network.