KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It was like one of those good, old-fashioned NFC East battles on Sunday as an Andy Reid team met up again with a Tom Coughlin club.
The difference was Reid's team was not the Philadelphia Eagles but the Kansas City Chiefs, and they grabbed a 31-7 victory over the New York Giants.
The victory made the Chiefs 4-0 on the season, while the Giants went home 0-4.
It was the 21st time a team coached by Reid met Coughlin's squad and it looked very much like those battles they had twice a year in the NFC East. It was defense, special teams, hard-hitting, limping and injured players, turnovers and a few big plays that ultimately set the outcome.
That has been the Chiefs' formula for their four victories and the only thing different about their performance against New York was turnovers; they lost a fumble and quarterback Alex Smith threw two interceptions for the first giveaways of the season.
The Giants' performance was much like how they played their first three games, as the offense was ineffective and special teams were shaky.
The Kansas City defense made up for the mistakes of its offense with three takeaways, including a fumble by Giants quarterback Eli Manning on a sack and he later threw an interception.
The Chiefs special teams put the game's most important score on the board in the third quarter when punt returner Dexter McCluster went 89 yards with a kick from New York's Steve Weatherford that helped seal the victory.
Late in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs added a touchdown pass from Smith to running back Jamaal Charles, and then after strong safety Eric Berry recovered a New York fumble, Smith connected for a 35-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Dwayne Bowe.
The first half was all about defense. With the exception of two big yardage plays for each team, it was the defense that dominated the action. The first quarter was scoreless but as the quarter ended, the Chiefs had a first-and-goal situation that in three plays turned into the first score of the game as Smith found tight end Sean McGrath in the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown pass. The PAT kick was good, and the Chiefs had a 7-0 lead.
The Giants came right back and tied the score, needing just two offensive plays to go 74 yards. The big play was a 69-yard scoring pass from Manning to wide receiver Victor Cruz. On the play, Cruz badly beat Chiefs cornerback Dunta Robinson, running past him at mid-field and rolling untouched into the end zone. The PAT kick tied the game at 7-7.
The teams traded turnovers, as Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali sacked Manning and forcing the fumble that Robinson recovered for Kansas City. Two plays later Chiefs center Rodney Hudson's shotgun snap to Smith went off the center's backside and the fumble was recovered by New York linebacker Spencer Paysinger. That was the Chiefs first turnover of the 2013 season.
Before the half came to an end, the Chiefs got a 51-yard field goal from Ryan Succop that gave them a 10-7 lead. Just before the half ended, Giants kicker Josh Brown was wide left on a 44-yard field goal attempt and Kansas City held a 3-point lead at intermission.
Notes: The Giants had two offensive line starters that were inactive for the game: C David Baas and LG Chris Snee. That makes 219 NFL starts off the field. They were replaced by Jim Cordle at center -- his first NFL start -- and James Brewer as the starting right guard, his second NFL start. ... Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt was injured in the first quarter when Giants DE Damontre Moore broke through the protection, deflected the punt and landed on the punter's right knee. Colquitt was helped from the field, but did not miss a chance to punt or hold, wearing a protective sleeve on his knee for the rest of the game. ... McCluster's 89-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter was the fourth longest punt return in Chiefs history. ... The Giants lost DB Jayron Hosley in the first half with a hamstring injury and CB Aaron Ross in the second half with a back injury.