Kansas City, Mo. • Led by a new quarterback in Alex Smith and a new coach in Andy Reid, the Kansas City Chiefs so far have looked nothing like the team that had the worst record in the NFL last season.
The all-red outfits they donned for the first time Sunday drove home the point.
Playing nearly mistake-free for the second straight week, Smith threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns against the ball-hawking Dallas Cowboys, and the Chiefs defense held when it needed to in the fourth quarter to preserve a 17-16 victory.
"When you're trying to build something, you need to win games like this," said Smith, who also had a game-high 57 yards rushing. "These are the games you look at in November and December. You need these types of wins, not only the caliber of the win, but the style of win.
"It's not always going to be pretty, but you have to find a way to bear down."
The Chiefs did that marvelously in the fourth quarter.
Dwayne Bowe's go-ahead touchdown catch and Ryan Succop's field goal had staked them to a 17-13 lead, but the Cowboys were on the move in the closing minutes. After Tony Romo threw three straight incompletions, though, Dan Bailey had to kick a 53-yard field goal.
The Chiefs regained possession with 3 minutes, 55 seconds left. Jamaal Charles helped them grind out a couple first downs, and a pass interference call on Morris Claiborne on third-and-10 gave Kansas City another set of downs. That kept Romo from having any time to orchestrate some late-game magic.
Romo, who was playing with bruised ribs, finished 30 of 42 for 298 yards. His favorite target was Dez Bryant, who had nine catches for 141 yards and the Cowboys' only touchdown.
"You got to realize, you can't forget all the work that you put in to go out and be a good football team," Bryant said.
The Cowboys forced the New York Giants into six turnovers in their opener but couldn't turn the same trick against Kansas City. After preaching ball security all week, the Chiefs got through their second straight game without throwing an interception or losing a fumble.