Chiefs’ ground game dominates high points

Sep 21, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL; Chiefs running back Knile Davis (34) scores a touchdown against the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 21, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL; Chiefs running back Knile Davis (34) scores a touchdown against the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Credit: Brad Barr-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs (1-2) shook off a sluggish start to record seven plays of 10-plus yards in the first half en route to a 34-15 road win against the Miami Dolphins (1-2).

Sunday produced the Chiefs’ first win of the season while the Dolphins have dropped two straight.

“It was a good win,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid told reporters during his postgame media session. “It’s a long season. So, we got to make sure that we keep working. We got a lot of room to improve.”

The Chiefs return home to prepare for the New England Patriots for Week 4’s game on Monday Night Football at Arrowhead Stadium. The Dolphins defeated the Patriots 33-20 in Week 1.

Here are five highs and lows from Sunday.

HIGHS

• The Chiefs more than made up for the absence of running back Jamaal Charles (ankle) with a punishing ground attack against the Dolphins. Knile Davis, who started in place of Charles, anchored the effort with a career-high 132 yards and a touchdown on a career-high 32 carries. Davis now has three rushing touchdowns in the last two games. The Chiefs totaled 174 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 41 carries as a team, marking the most since totaling 192 yards rushing against Washington last season. Third-year running back Cyrus Gray chipped in with a 6-yard touchdown run late in the game.

• Running back Joe McKnight, who was inactive in Week 2, quickly became a weapon in the passing game. The fourth-year pro caught six passes for 64 yards and two touchdowns on seven targets, his longest touchdown coming from 26 yards. The two offensive touchdowns were the first of his career from scrimmage. McKnight also chipped in on special teams with three returns for 65 yards. Sunday’s game was redemption for McKnight, who sat out the 2013 season after the New York Jets released him in late August.

• Left tackle Eric Fisher had a solid game and threw a key block during Knile Davis’ 21-yard touchdown run. On the play, Fisher pulled from his left tackle spot all the way to the right side of the offensive line. Right tackle Ryan Harris and right guard Zach Fulton blocked inside, while Fisher sealed the outside to allow Davis to run through a gaping hole en route to the end zone.

• Punter Dustin Colquitt quietly continues to have an excellent season. The Chiefs offense struggled early in the game and Colquitt allowed the team to control the battle of field position by booming a season-long punt of 64 yards. He finished the game with five punts for 255 yards (51 yards gross average, 48.8 net yards).

• The Chiefs left Miami unscathed on the injury front, a plus after two straight games that saw injuries to running back Jamaal Charles (ankle), strong safety Eric Berry (ankle), linebacker Derrick Johnson (Achilles), guard/tackle Jeff Allen (elbow) and defensive end Mike DeVito (Achilles).

LOWS

• The biggest knock on running back Knile Davis is his propensity to put the ball on the ground. He didn’t instill confidence by fumbling twice, recovering one and losing the second late in the fourth quarter. Davis needs to concentrate on ball security if Jamaal Charles continues to be out.

• The Dolphins sacked quarterback Alex Smith five times, including a safety. The offensive line allowed just two sacks last week, but Sunday’s effort and Week 1’s four means Smith has now been sacked 11 times on the young season. Smith’s athleticism allows him to break free of the pocket when necessary, but the Chiefs must work on pass protection. Smith finished the game completing an efficient 19-of-25 passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns.

• The Chiefs fumbled four times Sunday, losing two. Running back Knile Davis accounted for two fumbles and a lost one, with the other lost fumble coming from Alex Smith. The final fumble came on a double reverse when wide receiver A.J. Jenkins’ toss to wide receiver Frankie Hammond was off the mark. Jenkins was charged with the fumble.

• Dolphins wide receiver/returner Jarvis Landry torched the Chiefs special teams with five kickoff returns for 174 yards, including a 74-yard effort. The Dolphins kickoff returners combined for 212 yards on seven kickoffs.

• The Chiefs defense entered Week 3 ranked 23rd against the run, allowing 125 yards per game. Sunday’s effort against the Dolphins won’t improve the standing after running back Lamar Miller rushed for 108 yards on 15 carries (7.2 yards per attempt). As a team, the Dolphins gained 141 yards on 20 attempts.

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