Chiefs 31, Cardinals 13

The lazy loudmouth has vanished. In his place is a mature,

hardworking Dwayne Bowe who’s caught at least one touchdown pass in

a team-record six straight games and helped propel Kansas City into

first place.

Once considered a huge disappointment, Bowe caught two scores

Sunday as the Chiefs remained unbeaten at home with a 31-13 victory

over the Arizona Cardinals, who lost their fifth in a row. Coupled

with Oakland’s loss to Pittsburgh, the victory gave Kansas City

(6-4) a one-game lead in the AFC West and helped erase the stench

of last week’s blowout loss in Denver.

Bowe, a first-round pick in 2007, even broke a self-imposed

media blackout that had lasted from the first day of training

camp.

”It’s always fun to see you,” a smiling Bowe told reporters.

”I just had to reinvent myself. That’s why I had to step back for

a little while.”

Bowe had six catches for 109 yards and two TDs. In the six games

since he landed in the doghouse in fans’ minds for dropping a

touchdown pass in a loss to Indianapolis, he’s amassed 563 yards

receiving and caught 10 touchdown throws from Matt Cassel.

The six-game touchdown record, he said, means little.

”Not yet, not until we win it all,” he said. ”When we win it

all, I’ll look back on this game and say, `Wow! I did that.’ But

now my head is down and I’m going to keep going.”

Thomas Jones also had two touchdowns for the Chiefs, who are 5-0

at home though attendance has slumped at refurbished Arrowhead

Stadium.

The two-time defending NFC West champion Cardinals (3-7) fell 2

1/2 games behind Seattle, which played later in New Orleans.

The losing streak is Arizona’s longest since an eight-game slide

in 2006 led to Ken Whisenhunt replacing Dennis Green as coach. The

Cardinals, struggling to replace key departed players such as Kurt

Warner, Anquan Boldin and linebacker Karlos Dansby, are also in

danger of finishing below .500 for the first time under

Whisenhunt.

”We are not really a confident team right now,” Whisenhunt

said. ”One of the things we have always been able to feed on is

certain individuals, but I’m not specifying individuals, players

making plays. We had our chances to do that. We had more dropped

balls today than I can remember with this football team. That is

not something that we have ever done before.”

Bowe caught scoring passes from Cassel of 1 and 38 yards and

Jones scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards.

The Cardinals got their only touchdown, a 3-yard catch by Larry

Fitzgerald, on the final play of the game.

”We were real upset about that,” said safety Kendrick Lewis.

”The defensive mentality was, `Don’t let them in.’ We hadn’t let

them in the whole game. But he made a play. We got out with a `W,’

that’s all that’s important.”

Bowe’s emergence as a confident, consistent wide receiver is

becoming one of the biggest success stories of the year for Kansas

City. He spent his first couple of seasons advertising himself as

”The Show” and mixing good plays with bad ones.

Cassel saw Bowe beginning to emerge long before the Indianapolis

game, going back to last spring when he attended a receivers camp

with Fitzgerald and other NFL stars.

”He’s been in shape, had a great training camp and it carried

over,” Cassel said. ”You could see over time his confidence has

grown tremendously.”

Bowe got every yard of a 38-yard march for Kansas City’s initial

touchdown, first with a catch over the middle in which he fought to

the 1. Then, after two running plays failed, the former LSU star

got free in the end zone for the 1-yard TD pass from Cassel.

Cassel converted twice on third down in a third-quarter drive,

hitting Jamaal Charles for 11 yards on one play and connecting with

Bowe for 14 yards on third-and-3 from the 43. Charles got loose on

a 39-yard run to set up Jones’ second TD.

With 4:20 left in the game, Bowe got open in the secondary,

caught the ball at the 18, twisted away from tacklers and danced

into the end zone. But unlike past years, he did not celebrate.

”Fitz don’t celebrate at all, so I’m just following (his)

footsteps,” Bowe said.

Until Derek Anderson’s TD pass to Fitzgerald, the Cardinals

managed field goals by Jay Feely of 36 and 29 yards.

”Once again, this is getting old,” Anderson said. ”We’ve just

got to find a way, dig deep, continue to keep working the way we

have been working.”

Cassel was 15 of 24 for 193 yards. Anderson was 25 of 46 for 295

yards.

NOTES: Chris Burford and Otis Taylor had shared the Chiefs

record with TDs in five straight games. … Chiefs coach Todd Haley

injured his right leg during practice two weeks ago and is wearing

a heavy brace. … Arizona wide receiver Early Doucet took a blow

to the head in the second quarter and left the game with what

Whisenhunt described as a concussion.