KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Against a New York Giants squad that’s wandered the NFL woods for most of the last decade, the Kansas City Chiefs continued to look like a shell of the squad that has hosted three straight AFC Championship, played in the last two Super Bowls and snapped a 50-year championship drought.
Before a national TV audience on Día de los Muertos, the Chiefs’ playoff hopes were nearly buried on Monday Night Football at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium before rallying for a 20-17 win.
But ultimately, two Harrison Butker field goals — from 36 and 34 yards out — rescued the Chiefs from the clutches of an unthinkable loss before the season.
“Everything’s not beautiful right now, but we’re fighting through that,” Kansas City coach Andy Reid said. “That happens in this game. There’s great competition in this league. ... There’s so much parity in this league, so you’ve got to fight. That’s the part I’m taking out of this game. Our guys battled; they didn’t give up on each other.”
Seven seconds into the fourth quarter, Daniel Jones fired a pass to Evan Engram in the flats for a 5-yard touchdown — and a three-point lead.
Kansas City committed two more turnovers and a season-worst 12 penalties for 103 yards, against New York, which led 17-14 after the first play of the fourth quarter.
Defensive ends Chris Jones and Frank Clark made sure Butker’s second field goal held up with back-to-back sacks on New York’s ensuing, desperation drive.
“We told Spags it was going to happen,” Jones said, referring to Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
Kansas City (4-4) moved back to .500, but it may be short-lived with a gauntlet of division leaders — Green Bay, Las Vegas and Dallas — in the next three weeks.
“It’s a marathon in this league,” Jones said. “No win is given to you.”
The Giants won the pregame coin toss and deferred to the second half, giving the Chiefs’ offense a rare opportunity to take the field first.
Kansas City methodically marched 70 yards and to the doorstep of the end zone before a Patrick Mahomes pass into traffic got deflected into the air.
Safety Julian Love made a diving interception in the end zone, Mahomes' NFL-worst 10th of the season.
It had a familiar feel to the team’s failings during a 3-4 start through the first two months of the season, but what happened next felt new.
Linebacker Willie Gay Jr. intercepted Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, getting the ball for the offense at the New York 13-yard line.
“Whether y’all want to say it or not, y’all little brother us all the (darn) time,” Jones who had two tackles and a sack, said. “The second little brother, who’s just there. And we take that as a challenge — let’s go out there, step up, get the offense the ball back. ... Willie Gay came up and made a big play.”
Four plays later, Mahomes darted a 6-yard touchdown to a diving Tyreek Hill, who finished with 12 catches for 94 yards, in the back of the end zone for the game’s first score.
The Giants used a familiar formula, limiting deep opportunities for Hill and double-teaming tight end Travis Kelce, who was held to four receptions for 27 yards with a fumble — ensuring Kansas City had multiple turnovers for the fourth straight game, a record for the Chiefs under Andy Reid.
“Those guys are going to have to continue to battle,” Mahomes, who finished 29 of 48 for 275 yards with a touchdown and an interception, said. “That’s stuff they’re going to have to continue to battle all season long. I’m sure they’ll get it every single game pretty much.”
After that initial score, the Chiefs’ offense stalled and the defense had a hiccup, allowing the Giants to go the length of the field for the game-tying score.
Daniel Sorenson got beat for a 50-yard completion from Jones to John Ross on third-and-11 early in the drive, while linebacker Ben Niemann bit on play-action as tight end Kyle Rudolph slipped behind for a 1-yard touchdown on fourth down to cap the drive.
Kansas City answered with Derrick Gore’s first career touchdown — a 3-yard run in the second quarter — before Graham Gano cut into that lead with a field goal that made it 14-10 at halftime.
The Chiefs were held out of the end zone in the second half, but two field goals were enough with the defense limiting the Giants to 300 total yards and tying its season high with three sacks.
“All in all, a good, hard-fought win — one that was needed,” Reid said.