KANSAS CITY -- The words were spoken by several different defensive players in the Kansas City Chiefs locker room after their 17-16 victory over the Dallas Cowboys at Arrowhead Stadium. They talked about becoming an "elite defense."
"That's what we want to be, an elite defense, that goes out every week and puts up a winning performance and steps forward when necessary," said strong safety Eric Berry.
Whatever the definition of elite may be, it was the second consecutive Sunday when the Kansas City defense keyed a victory. Last week they did not allow a touchdown in beating Jacksonville 28-2. Sunday was a much different opponent, but the Chiefs allowed the Cowboys just one touchdown as they pushed their record to 2-0.
"We just didn't have a good rhythm on offense," said Dallas head coach Jason Garrett. "We couldn't run the ball. They are an aggressive defense and they can make you play sloppy with their style. You have to fight through that and we didn't do enough of that."
The Cowboys' only touchdown was a 2-yard pass from quarterback Tony Romo to wide receiver Dez Bryant. The rest of the Cowboys points came on three field goals by Dan Bailey. Overall, Dallas had 318 offensive yards, but Romo was sacked three times and turned the ball over on a fumble on one of those plays.
"That's a very good defense, and you throw in the crowd and the noise they made and it's a tough assignment," Romo said. "But we had opportunities. We just didn't make the plays."
The Chiefs forced a pair of third-quarter fumbles that only turned into three points for Kansas City, but the takeaways gave Romo and the Dallas offense fewer opportunities to score. Berry recovered a fumble and cornerback Ron Parker picked up a sack and recovered a fumble in the same play.
"We approach every game and every practice as a time to get the ball out," said free safety Kendrick Lewis. "That's a key part of what we do. We are always looking to force the other team to put the ball on the ground."
Quarterback Alex Smith threw touchdown passes to running back Jamaal Charles for 2 yards and 12 yards to wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. The key for Kansas City was no turnovers, although they did allow four sacks, and Smith ended up being the team's leading rusher with 57 yards on eight carries.
Kansas City took control in the third quarter when it put together a 10-play, 80-yard drive with four first-down plays and a big third-and-9 conversion on a pass from Smith to wide receiver Donnie Avery. Five plays later Smith found Bowe open as he crossed the middle of the field for a 12-yard touchdown play. The PAT kick gave the Chiefs a 14-13 lead.
Kansas City tacked on a field goal after Dallas running back Lance Dunbar fumbled the ball and it was recovered and returned by Berry to the Cowboys' 31-yard line. Ryan Succop made the 40-yard field goal.
"They did what they needed to do to win the game and we didn't," Garrett said. "Last week we were plus-5 in the turnovers against the Giants and today we were minus-2. Those were critical plays."
NOTES: The Chiefs came out in completely red uniforms, both tops and pants, the first time anyone in club history can remember them going all red. ... Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick blocked a 57-yard field goal attempt by Succop late in the second quarter. ... Chiefs left tackle Branden Albert left the game with a left shoulder injury early in the second quarter. After missing four offensive plays, he returned and finished out the half. ... Kansas City had all sorts of problems in the first half with Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware, as he picked up two sacks of Smith. ... Former Chiefs guard Brian Waters got his first playing time with the Cowboys, coming into the game on the second offensive series for Dallas. He was signed on Sept. 4 after sitting out the 2012 season. He played 11 seasons with the Chiefs.