By Terrance Turner
Nov. 21, 2021
Despite a slew of penalties and some scuffles on the field, the Kansas City Chiefs managed to beat the Dallas Cowboys today at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. It was not an easy win, and on paper the odds seemed to favor Dallas. The Cowboys had lost their first game of the season but had won six straight. They average 31.6 points per game — the most in the NFL. The last time they led the league in scoring was 1980. The Chiefs started off 3-4 with a record number of turnovers but have now won four straight games.
Chiefs opened their drive successfully, marching down the field on one modest play after another. Tight end Travis Kelce ran four yards into the end zone for the touchdown. Kicker Harrison Butler missed the extra point kick. But the Chiefs retained a 6-0 lead.
Dallas got off to a rough start: running back Ezekiel Elliott appeared to suffer an ankle injury after making a catch in the first quarter. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott got tackled by Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark, and he lost the ball. Chiefs DE Chris Jones picked it up. That led to a Kansas City drive led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes. That drive culminated in a field goal and a 9-0 advantage.
Cowboys advanced all the way to the red zone but were forced to settle for a field goal. Kicker Greg Zuerlein drilled it to make it 9-3. The Chiefs took over. Mahomes pump-faked, then hurled the ball to wide receiver Byron Pringle for 37 yd. That highlight-reel play marked the end of the 1st quarter.
Chiefs receiver Mecole Hardman shined with a catch-and-run, run diving towards the goal line. First and goal. Mahomes tossed a pass to Clyde Edwards-Helaire for TD. Helaire was flagged for taunting after the score. The penalty cost Kansas City significant yardage. But it ended up not mattering. Butker made a 48-yd extra-point attempt to put the Chiefs ahead, 16 to 3.
It stayed that way for all of the half. A Kansas City drive was foiled by a penalty on rookie guard Trey Smith, who then got an unsportsmanlike conduct foul for complaining about the play. That pushed the Chiefs’ field position back to second and 29; their drive never recovered.
Cowboys didn’t fare much better; Prescott was first sacked by defensive end Chris Jones and then was chased out of bounds by Jones and Frank Clark.
Then a fight broke out. The drama began with 1:50 left in the first half, as the Cowboys punted on 4th and 15 from their own 21-yard line. As the ball floated out of bounds, Cowboys cornerback C.J. Goodwin and Chiefs cornerback Rashad Fenton engaged with each other and started fighting. Goodwin grabbed the face mask of Fenton as the two rolled to the ground.
The referees had nothing to say about the facemask but penalized Fenton for taunting. Amid widespread outcry from the crowd, the refs convened and acknowledged the facemask. The penalties offset. A couple more skirmishes occurred, and Cowboys receiver CeeDee Lamb suffered a concussion when his head hit the turf in the end zone. It was 16-3 at halftime.
Both offenses had difficulty scoring in second half. The Chiefs, stymied by the defense and by penalties, settled for a 53-yd field goal from Harrison Butler. The score was 19 to 6. Then the Cowboys, after a promising drive that fell apart, settled for a 48-yard field goal by Zuerlein. It was 19-9.
Chiefs once again advanced near the red zone but faltered. Butker’s 51-yard FG was NO GOOD, and frankly neither was the Dallas offense. The much-maligned KC defense held them to just three field goals, even though they’re the highest-scoring team in the NFL. Chris Jones had three-and-a-half sacks on Prescott; he and Clark combined for 5 sacks today. And with just a minute left, Jones tipped a pass from Prescott that set up a game-sealing interception by L’Jarius Sneed. Kansas City held on for a 19-9 win.
“We prepared: mentally, physically, offense, defense, We was in for a battle. We was willing to go to overtime,” Jones told a reporter after the game. “We came out and played lights-out. The back end gave us enough time to affect Dak and his throws. Frank Clark, the d-linemen — we played exceptional tonight.”
Indeed. The Chiefs improve to 7-4 after winning four straight games. They now lead the AFC West.