Williams, Stanton lead Cardinals by Chiefs 17-14Posted: Updated:
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Kerwynn Williams went from pretending to be Jamaal Charles on the Arizona scout team this week to outgaining Charles in the Cardinals' 17-14 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
"That's storybook stuff," teammate Larry Fitzgerald said.
With starting tailback Andre Ellington out for the season, the Cardinals turned to a guy who had been called up two days earlier from the practice squad. Williams delivered, rushing for 100 yards, 9 more than Charles.
"That's who we are," Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. "A team is what it takes. That's what we've built this thing on."
The NFC West-leading Cardinals (10-3) took the lead when Drew Stanton threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Jaron Brown on third-and-18 in the third quarter.
The Cardinals' seven wins are the most at home for the franchise since when the Chicago Cardinals won 11 of 13 in 1925.
Arizona held on after winning a crucial reversal. Kansas City was driving with five minutes remaining when Arians challenged that tight end Travis Kelce fumbled after a 19-yard reception to the Arizona 22. The officials ruled that Kelce lost the ball before he rolled on his back and got to his feet. Kelce grabbed the ball back, but apparently not soon enough.
"He tried to maintain possession," referee Craig Wrolstad told a pool reporter, "but he did not, did not regain possession."
Kelce said he was "shocked" by the ruling.
"I thought I regained control of the ball," he said. "But you can't go back in time. I fumbled the ball. It was called as a fumble and I'm just going to have to live with that."
Coach Andy Reid said "from my vision, I thought he regained possession of the ball, but I'm not making the call."
Justin Bethel recovered at the Arizona 15, ending the last serious Kansas City threat.
The Chiefs (7-6) are tied with four other AFC wild-card hopefuls looking up at San Diego, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. The Cardinals have a one-game lead over Seattle, and the Seahawks travel to Arizona in two weeks.
Jamaal Charles scored two first-half touchdowns on a 63-yard run and 18-yard pass from Alex Smith, but the Chiefs were shut out in the second half.
Reid said after the game that Charles had a slight ankle sprain and back spasms.
An offensive pass interference penalty against Anthony Fasano negated a Kansas City touchdown. Two plays later, Alex Okafor intercepted Smith.
The Cardinals drove to the Chiefs 26, and on third-and-18 Stanton threw over the middle to hit Jaron Brown in stride for the winning score. The 2-point conversion pass to John Carlson was good and, for the first time in the game, Arizona had the lead, 17-14.
Arizona rookie Chandler Catanzaro kicked three field goals but missed two, the first off the right upright, the second off the left with 1:09 to play.
That gave Kansas City a chance, but the Chiefs never got to midfield before turning it over on downs.
Arizona's injury-riddled team got another when cornerback Antonio Cromartie left in the fourth quarter with what the Cardinals first termed an Achilles tendon injury, although Arians later said the Achilles was "stable."
Ellington is out for the season with what Arians said after the game is some sort of hernia. He also had lingering hip and foot problems.
That led Arizona to bring up Williams for the second time this season. He had been released from the San Diego practice squad and never had carried the ball from scrimmage in an NFL game until Sunday.
Williams said the plan was for it to be "running back by committee."
But there was no doubt who was the main man as the afternoon wore on.
The seventh-round draft pick of Indianapolis in 2013 revved up what has been a sluggish Arizona running game. He carried 19 times, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. The Cardinals had rushed for 99 yards in the last two games combined. They got 141 on Sunday.
In the first half, Smith completed 12 of 13 passes for 109 yards and a score. In the second half, he was 11 of 23 for it 182 yards and an interception.
Charles gained 91 on 10 carries, 63 of them in one attempt.
NOTES: Chiefs still don't have a touchdown completion to a wide receiver this season. ... Arizona's lone remaining regular-season home game is Dec. 21 against Seattle. ... Cardinals are 7-0 at home, 13-2 since Arians became coach. ... Fitzgerald played after missing two games with a sprained knee.
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Chiefs labor late in 17-14 loss to Cardinals
John Marshall, AP Sports Writer
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- The Kansas City Chiefs got their must-win game off to a great start behind the versatility of Jamaal Charles.
Once the second half rolled around, the Chiefs fell flat and may have flat-lined their playoff hopes in the process.
Kansas City had two key turnovers and struggled to move the ball against Arizona's defense in the second half, leading to a 17-14 loss to the Cardinals on Sunday that puts a big dent in the Chiefs' playoff chances.
"We obviously need to do a better job, take care of our business," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "We had every opportunity to do that today and we didn't get it accomplished."
Both teams came into the game in desperate need of a win.
Once the dominant team in the NFC, Arizona (10-3) had gone into a tailspin, seemingly clinging to playoff hopes through a rash of injuries. On the ropes, the Cardinals came through like they always seem to at home, rallying from a sluggish first half with a dominant defensive second 30 minutes to keep their place atop the NFC West.
Kerwynn Williams ran for 100 yards after being elevated from the practice squad on Thursday and Drew Stanton threw a touchdown pass for Arizona, which has won its most games since an 11-victory season in 1925.
"I ain't going to deny that we needed one big," said Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, whose team is 7-0 at home, said of the victory.
The Chiefs (7-6) may have needed it more.
They were one of the NFL's hottest teams just a few weeks ago on the heels of a five-game winning streak. A tough-to-take loss to winless Oakland set Kansas City back and last week's loss to Denver knocked the Chiefs out of the AFC West race, clinging to wild-card hopes.
The Chiefs got off to a good start against Arizona behind Charles, who was questionable after banging his knee against Denver.
He showed no ill effects against the Cardinals, racing for a 63-yard touchdown on Kansas City's third play from scrimmage. He went to the locker room after turning his ankle in the second quarter, but returned quickly to turn a short catch into an 18-yard touchdown that put the Chiefs up 14-6 at halftime.
Kansas City's defense held its ground against Arizona in the first half, holding Arizona to a pair of field goals by Chandler Catanzaro, who also sent a 36-yarder off the upright to close out the first half.
After struggling early, Stanton started to find a rhythm late in the third quarter.
He hit Michael Floyd on a 45-yard pass to set up Catanzaro's third field goal, then found Jaron Brown for a 26-yard touchdown that put Arizona up 17-14 in the fourth quarter.
Worse for the Chiefs on the Brown touchdown was what came right before. Tight end Anthony Fasano hauled in what appeared to be a 19-yard touchdown, but was called for offensive pass interference.
On the next play, Alex Smith threw a wobbly pass that Alex Okafor intercepted and returned 26 yards to Kansas City's 42-yard line.
"Quite a swing on two plays," said Smith, who threw for 293 yards and a touchdown on 26-of-39 passing.
Kansas City crossed midfield late in the fourth quarter, only to turn it over again, this time on a disputed play.
Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce was originally credited with a 19-yard catch, but the officials ruled after review that he fumbled after being stripped by Deone Bucannon and Arizona's Justin Bethel recovered.
"Shocked. Either way it is a huge play in the game," Kelce said. "It is my job to not even give doubt or put my team in that position."
Catanzaro missed a 39-yard field goal on the ensuing drive to give the Chiefs a final chance, but they turned it over on downs to put the playoffs that much further away.
NOTES: Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe had a highlight-reel play in the second quarter, when he caught a pass and hurdled a pair of Cardinals defenders to gain a few extra yards. ... Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald had four catches for 34 yards after missing two games with a sprained left knee. ... Arizona starting right CB Antonio Cromartie had to be helped off the field early in the fourth quarter after suffering a left Achilles tendon injury and did not return.
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Kansas City 7 7 0 0-14
Arizona 3 3 11 0-17
Ari-FG Catanzaro 44, 10:55.
KC-Charles 63 run (Santos kick), 9:35.
Ari-FG Catanzaro 33, 7:43.
KC-Charles 18 pass from A.Smith (Santos kick), 1:12.
Ari-FG Catanzaro 39, 9:02.
Ari-Ja.Brown 26 pass from Stanton (Carlson pass from Stanton), 3:26.
First downs 19 18
Total Net Yards 390 366
Rushes-yards 17-126 33-141
Passing 264 225
Punt Returns 3-4 2-6
Kickoff Returns 5-150 2-64
Interceptions Ret. 0-0 1-26
Comp-Att-Int 26-39-1 15-30-0
Sacked-Yards Lost 5-29 2-14
Punts 4-49.3 4-45.8
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 9-75 6-40
Time of Possession 29:59 30:01
RUSHING-Kansas City, Charles 10-91, A.Smith 4-26, Thomas 2-5, Davis 1-4. Arizona, K.Williams 19-100, Taylor 6-19, Stanton 4-17, Grice 3-6, Hughes 1-(minus 1).
PASSING-Kansas City, A.Smith 26-39-1-293. Arizona, Stanton 15-30-0-239.
RECEIVING-Kansas City, Kelce 7-110, Avant 5-64, Wilson 4-53, Davis 3-3, Bowe 2-29, Charles 2-20, Sherman 2-8, Thomas 1-6. Arizona, Floyd 4-85, Fitzgerald 4-34, Ja.Brown 2-48, Hughes 1-36, Housler 1-20, Ginn Jr. 1-8, Taylor 1-7, Carlson 1-1.
MISSED FIELD GOALS-Arizona, Catanzaro 36 (WR), 34 (WL).
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