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.