KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith and company set the tone early against the New York Jets – ranked fifth in the NFL against the run – with an 81-yard touchdown opening drive.
Short passing routes and running back Jamaal Charles kept the Jets (1-8) defense off balance all afternoon en route to a 24-10 Chiefs (5-3) win at Arrowhead Stadium.
Smith maneuvered the offense through a 12-play, 81-yard scoring drive to start the game.
Smith hit Dwayne Bowe twice for two first downs and rookie DeAnthony Thomas got in on the action with a 36-yard scamper to set the Chiefs up in the red zone.
Charles capped off the methodical drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
The Jets promptly went 3-and-out, giving the ball right back. On the ensuing drive, Smith favored his tight ends, finding Travis Kelce for a 34-yard play and Anthony Fasano for a 7-yard reception.
Charles had a two first-down runs to set up possibly the oddest play of the NFL season to date.
Smith hurled a slant pass to his right intended for Bowe, but the ball was tipped in the air by the Jets’ Calvin Pace.
The ball somehow found Fasano, who was on the ground after a whiffing a cut block attempt. He caught it, lunged forward and scored the Chiefs second touchdown of the game.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen anything like that,” Smith said. “I didn’t know what happened. It was a bang, bang play. Once they put it up on the scoreboard though it looked pretty clean.”
Fasano was just as shocked as Smith.
“I saw the defender fail to close on the run play so I figured it was the pass,” he said with a laugh. “That was after a cut block that was unsuccessful. I was looking out to see if the pass was completed and it just popped into my hands.”
The Jets’ rushing defense held the Chiefs’ rushing attack in check with 113 rushing yards, 78 coming from Charles.
The Kansas City defense did its part in holding Michael Vick to 196 yards through the air, most of which came with a sagging Chiefs defense on the final drive of the game.
Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston increased his NFL-leading sack total to 12 with two on Vick.
Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry returned after being sidelined for five weeks with a high ankle sprain.
“It was fun getting out there with the guys,” Berry said. “Seeing them ball out on the field and make plays while I couldn’t be out there to help them … It was tough to watch, but it felt good to get out there.”
Although Berry didn’t get the start, the Pro Bowler entered the game on the third defensive snap.
Berry said he didn’t mind coming off the bench.
“As long as I’m doing my part, as long as we’re getting it in, I have no problem,” said Berry, who had six total tackles (five solo). “We got a W today, so that’s all that matters.”
Coach Andy Reid said he felt it was essential to get Berry reps.
“I thought it was important that he got back in and into the swing of things in particular the speed of the game and getting used to that again,” Reid said.
Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos casually mustered a kickoff through the wind 9-yards deep into the end zone. And then there was Jets returns Percy Harvin. The newly acquired speedster brought out the kick out to the 23-yard line. From then on, the Chiefs found ways to avoid Harvin.
Reid said that the wind was a factor, “but so was Percy Harvin.”
Santos said they tried to keep it away from Harvin even though “it’s not a good-looking kick.”
“Every kick is a plan and something that we work on in practice because we watch film and we see how dangerous of a returner Percy Harvin is,” Santos said. “So, we had a plan if he’s taking the ball out of the end zone or getting a lot of yards on us, we’re going to kick the ball away. That’s what we did.”
It was more difficult to avoid him in the passing game, though. He caught 11 passes for 149 yards, easily his best output of the season. With the Seattle Seahawks, Harvin had 22 total receptions in five games.
The Chiefs travel to Buffalo to face the Bills (5-3) in Week 10.
The game airs at noon CST on CBS.