KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Maybe the Kansas City Chiefs don’t want a Thanksgiving-week bye after all.
Behind a resurgent defense, the Chiefs walloped the visiting Dallas Cowboys 19-9 on Sunday at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. It was Kansas City’s fourth straight win and cements their place atop the AFC West with a week off coming.
The Chiefs (7-4) and Cowboys (7-3) entered the game as two of the NFL’s top four offenses in total yards and scoring offense of the season, but Kansas City’s defense stole the show.
Dallas managed only 276 total yards and averaged 4.3 yards — far below the 435 yards and league-best 6.3 yards per play coach Mike McCarthy’s team averaged entering play.
“To go up against an offense like that, which has put up so many yards and so many scores and touchdowns, and to shut it down, that’s impressive,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes said of the defense's play.
Defensive tackle Chris Jones led the charge with a career-high 3.5 sacks as Dak Prescott finished 28 of 43 for 216 yards with no touchdowns and three turnovers, including interceptions to close the first and second halves.
The nine points represent the fewest points the Cowboys have scored in a game with Prescott at quarterback since a Week 15 shutout loss in 2018.
“Defensively, what a game,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “That’s the No. 1 offense in the National Football League and our defense brought it every snap — in particular our defensive line, in particular against a heckuva offensive line. I’m proud of the guys for that.”
Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, who was questionable coming into the game, iced the win with a late interception of Prescott — and the party was on in Arrowhead.
“We’re finally building chemistry back on this defense, getting everybody healthy and being able to play together,” Jones said. “That’s been a huge part for this defense.”
Kansas City missed a chance to salt away the game early in the third quarter when Mahomes’ pass — a sure first down to Travis Kelce — went through his tight end’s hands and into the midsection of Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse.
Dallas netted a 30-yard Greg Zuerlein field goal on the ensuing drive, pulling within 16-6 only to have Kansas City answer with a 53-yard Harrison Butker field goal.
Ten points were as close as Dallas could get in the second half.
Still, the Chiefs’ inability to keep the pedal to the metal on offense allowed the Cowboys to keep it relatively close.
The offense scored on its first three drives, but stalled out from there with two punts and a fumble before halftime. There were two more punts, the interception and a missed field goal in the second half.
But the Chiefs did manage an 11-play drive that took 5:30 off the clock midway through the fourth quarter. The drive forced the Cowboys to use up their timeouts before Butker’s pooch punt pinned them deep.
“Even though we didn’t score on it, it put them in a big-time bind,” Reid said.
Those struggles didn't hurt Kansas City's chances, because the defense made sure the final result was never in doubt.
Jones’ third sack, which tied his career-high, blunted Dallas’ bid to find the end zone early in the fourth quarter, but another Zuerlein field goal — this one from 48 yards out — made it 19-9.
He later shared a sack with Jarran Reed to set a new career-high and ensure the Preston Road Trophy — which is the product of a friendly rivalry between late Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who once were neighbors on Preston Road in Dallas — would be returned to the Hunt household.
Kansas City dominated the first two quarters.
Kelce scored on a 4-yard run off a direct snap on the Chiefs’ opening drive, which followed a three-and-out by the defense to start the game.
Kansas City only led 6-0 after Butker missed the extra point, but defensive end Frank Clark clobbered Dak Prescott for a strip-sack on Dallas’ next drive, giving Butker a chance to atone with a 37-yard field goal.
The Cowboys answered with their first scoring drive, pulling within 9-3 on Zuerlein’s 33-yard field goal.
The only score of the second quarter was Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s first rushing touchdown of the season, a 1-yard score off an option pitch from Mahomes. Edwards-Helaire returned after a five-game absence with a knee injury.
A Mahomes fumble late in the first half gave the Cowboys a chance to cut into the lead late, but the first half ended the same way as the second half — with Prescott’s rainbow getting intercepted, this time by cornerback Charvarius Ward in the end zone.
Ward finished with a game-high seven tackles, while Sneed added six tackles. Both finished with a game-high three passes defended.
Dallas had more punts (four) than points (three) in the first half, averaging 3.3 yards and totaling 116 yards on 35 plays.
“All in all, this is a good football team we played and that’s a heckuva win,” Reid said.
Mahomes finished 23 of 37 for 260 yards. He didn't throw any touchdowns and committed two turnovers, but the defense was so dominant he had some room for error.
Kansas City got more good news during the league’s noon window with a pair of AFC front-runners, Tennessee and Buffalo, taking it on the chin.
The Titans suffered an inexplicable loss against former Chiefs assistant coach David Culley’s Houston Texans, which snapped a six-game winning streak, while Indianapolis hammered the Bills.
Kansas City lost to both Tennessee and Buffalo — as well as Baltimore, which narrowly escaped Chicago with a win — earlier in the season and needs to finish with a better record than those teams to have any shot at the AFC’s top seed.
The Bills’ loss allowed New England, which has won five straight, to jump into first place in the AFC East.
Running back Jerick McKinnon (hamstring) left the game in the first quarter, while cornerback Rashad Fenton “landed on his knee” in the second half. Neither player returned and both will have MRIs in the coming days, Reid said.