Another big day for the opposing QB in Chiefs’ 36-21 loss to Cincy
CINCINNATI — Cairo Santos kicked a club-record seven field goals. Alex Smith was sacked five more times. It was a bad combination for the Chiefs, who can’t quite do enough to get a win.
Andy Dalton threw a 55-yard touchdown pass on the run — the type of throw he’s rarely made in the past — and the Cincinnati Bengals remained unbeaten with a 36-21 victory over Kansas City on Sunday.
It was another rough day all around for the Chiefs (1-3). Smith was under heavy pressure, Santos was on the field a lot, and the defense couldn’t keep up with another one of the NFL’s top passers.
"This is a tough time," guard Ben Grubbs said. "This is not a good feeling."
Smith was 31 of 45 for 386 yards, but was under pressure much of the time. The Chiefs came into the game with an NFL-high 14 sacks allowed and gave up five more.
The clincher was tight end Travis Kelce’s fumble after a catch, with the ball returned to the Kansas City 5-yard line. Hill scored his second touchdown for a 29-15 lead.
"We move the ball when we want to," Kelce said. "As soon as we get over the 50, we start moving backward. We’ve got to keep moving forward."
Santos connected from 22, 40, 51, 34, 40, 29 and 51 yards, tying the record for the second-most field goals in a game in NFL history. The Chiefs had more total yards (461-445), ran more plays (73-50) and held the ball for nearly 37 minutes, but had to settle for field goals.
"It’s always great to go out there and perform well and do your job, but I think I would have been happier if I kicked seven extra points and won the game instead of field goals," Santos said.
The defense also had issues.
The Chiefs have been beaten by Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Dalton in the past three weeks. In the past two, Rodgers and Dalton went a combined 41 of 59 for 654 yards with six TD passes.
"He extended the plays a couple of times and made big plays from that," coach Andy Reid said. "Big plays can get you there."
The Bengals (4-0) matched the third-best start in franchise history, two wins shy of the club record. They’ve got the look of a team finally capable of not only reaching the playoffs, but winning once they get there.
Dalton has been the thread throughout the wins, ascending to the top of the AFC passer list. He had another spot-on day, completing 17 of 24 for 321 yards with the long touchdown pass to Brandon Tate during a scramble.
Jeremy Hill ran for three touchdowns as the Bengals got off to a fast start and stayed ahead.
Dalton came into the game trailing only Rodgers on the league’s passer rating list. He’s been significantly better at throwing on the run this season, and had another out-of-pocket big play at the start of the second half that put the Bengals in control.
He eluded the rush and threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Tate, who made a diving catch at the 10-yard line, got up and dived into the end zone for a 21-12 lead.
Dalton got the Bengals off to another fast start. He completed all eight of his passes for 122 yards during a pair of 80-yard touchdown drives.
Notes: Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith returned from a three-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy and had a tough time covering A.J. Green, who had six catches for 78 yards in the first half. … LB Josh Mauga strained a thigh in the first half, the Chiefs’ only notable injury. … It was Dalton’s second straight 300-yard passing game and the 16th of his career, including one in the playoffs. … Tennessee’s Rob Bironas holds the NFL record with eight field goals in 2007.