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Cardinals bounce back, improve to 10-3 with win vs. Chiefs

Alex Smith

Alex Smith

AP

After two straight losses, the Cardinals got the win they so dearly needed.

Overcoming a 14-6 halftime deficit, the Cardinals bulled their way to a 17-14 victory over the visiting Chiefs on Sunday. Now 10-3, Arizona remains one game ahead of 9-4 Seattle, which won at Philadelphia. The Cardinals play at surging St. Louis on Thursday night.

Drew Stanton’s 26-yard third-quarter TD pass to wide receiver Jaron Brown was the game-winning strike for Arizona, which moved to 7-0 at University of Phoenix Stadium. The score was set up by a leaping interception from Cardinals outside linebacker Alex Okafor.

In defeat, the Chiefs (7-6) were on the wrong end of a couple of tough calls. First, an apparent third-quarter TD pass to Anthony Fasano was nullified by an offensive pass interference foul.

Later came the game’s pivotal play. And again, Kansas City got the worst of it. With about six minutes left, the Chiefs moved to the Cardinals’ 22-yard-line on a 19-yard catch by tight end Travis Kelce. However, the ball came out at the end of the play, and the Cardinals challenged before the Chiefs could get off another snap. The ruling on the field — catch and no fumble — was overturned, and the Cardinals got the ball back with their three-point lead in hand.

The Chiefs would have one more chance to tie or win after Cardinals kicker Chandler Catanzaro missed a 34-yard field goal with about a minute remaining, but the Arizona defense held firm. When Alex Smith threw incomplete under duress on a 4th-and-15 blitz, the Cardinals were home free.

In victory, the Cardinals sacked Smith five times, with defensive lineman Frostee Rucker notching a pair of takedowns.

Tailback Jamaal Charles scored twice for the Chiefs, sprinting away for a 63-yard scoring run in the first quarter and turning a short pass into an 18-yard TD late in the first half. But that was it for points for Kansas City, which has lost three in a row.

The Cardinals got 100 yards rushing from first-year pro Kerwynn Williams, who received most of the carries in place of Andre Ellington, who was inactive with a hip injury. Afterwards, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said Ellington would be put on injured reserve, according to the club.

While the Cardinals got some bad news on Ellington, cornerback Antonio Cromartie’s lower-leg injury is not an Achilles ailment, Arians said. Cromartie was carted to the lockerroom in the fourth quarter.

Smith threw for 293 yards for the Chiefs, with Kelce (seven catches, 110 yards) his top target. Kansas City will host 2-11 Oakland next Sunday.