Quarterback Alex Smith's ability to escape the rush has paid dividends for the Chiefs.
A running quarterback:Alex Smith threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns, but his running ability was as much of a factor. Smith led the Chiefs with 57 rushing yards, 40 of them coming on the game-opening touchdown drive. Smith doesn’t just have the ability to escape trouble and run for yardage, though that’s no small part of his game. It’s also his ability to gain yardage on option plays. The Chiefs resorted to some option Sunday, in large part because the Cowboys were loading the line of scrimmage in wait for running back Jamaal Charles. With Charles ineffective for much of the game, Smith’s running ability allowed the Chiefs to gain some yardage on the ground and take some pressure off their passing game.
A punting weapon: The last six times the Cowboys took possession of the ball after a Chiefs punt, they started on their 5, 10, 10, 16, 20 and 4, respectively. That’s in large part because of the work of punter Dustin Colquitt, who -- after making his first Pro Bowl appearance last season after dropping 45 punts inside the 20 -- is off to another strong start. The Chiefs were able to keep the field tilted in their favor for much of Sunday’s game, a major factor in the outcome.
Not special in the kicking game: The Chiefs were spectacular on special teams in the preseason, but other than Colquitt they again had problems against the Cowboys. Ryan Succop had a field goal attempt blocked, making it two straight weeks an opponent has gotten a piece of a Chiefs kick. The return game was unable to provide much-needed favorable field position for an offense struggling to score points. The worst error came late in the game, when noted fumbler Knile Davis was sent out to handle a most important kickoff. Sure enough, Davis fumbled, though he was able to jump on the ball before any of the Cowboys could.
Re-establishing Arrowhead Stadium as home-field advantage: Once one of the most feared road venues in the league, Arrowhead hasn’t been a difficult place for visitors to play the past couple of seasons. The Chiefs were 4-12 at home since the start of the 2011 season. But the place was as loud against Dallas as it’s been in some time, and the crowd was no small factor as the Chiefs were able to hold off the Cowboys in the fourth quarter. Perhaps that’s the first step toward restoring Arrowhead as one of the NFL’s premier stadiums for home-field advantage.