The Chiefs took their place among the NFL elite on a chilly Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs knocked off the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks 24-20 for their fifth straight victory, and in the process moved into a first-place tie in the AFC West with Denver losing at St. Louis.
The Chiefs, 7-3, will face Denver at Arrowhead Stadium on Sept. 28 but first can take over first place by themselves when they play at last-place Oakland on Thursday night in a nationally televised game.
The Chiefs defense had to withstand a final drive by the Seahawks, 6-4, in the final 2 minutes. They ended the threat with a sack by Dontari Poe, a pass broken up by Husain Abdullah and an incomplete pass on fourth down that was defensed by Sean Smith.
A goal-line stand preserved the Chiefs’ lead midway through the fourth quarter when Russell Wilson’s fade on fourth-and-goal from the 2 intended for Doug Baldwin was broken up by cornerback Sean Smith.
The Chiefs took a 24-20 lead with 13:41 left in the fourth quarter on Knile Davis’ 4-yard run. Jamaal Charles, who had lost a costly fumble on the previous possession, atoned for the turnover with a 47-yard dash that set up Davis’ score.
The Chiefs trailed 20-17 going into the fourth quarter after former Kansas City tight end Tony Moeaki caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson with 23 seconds left in the third period.
Cairo Santos had given Kansas City a 17-13 lead with a 23-yard field goal midway through the third quarter, and the Chiefs were in position to build the lead when Charles lost a fumble at his 44.
Wilson hit tight end Luke Willson for 27 yards, and after Marshawn Lynch pounded his way for 11 yards to the one, Wilson play-faked to Lynch and found Moeaki in the corner of the end zone. Moeaki, who spent an injury-filled 2010-12 with the Chiefs before he was released last season, signed with Seattle two weeks ago, and in his first game with the Seahawks, caught his first NFL pass in two seasons.
Charles scored on runs of 1 and 16 yards, and the Chiefs led 14-13 at halftime.
The Chiefs only had three first-half possessions because they consumed 9 minutes, 1 second in scoring on their opening drive, and Seattle answered with a 9-minute drive of its own to tie the game 7-7.
Charles was a one-man wrecking crew against Seattle on the opening drive, accounting for 53 of the 86 yards. He caught a screen and followed right tackle Ryan Harris’ block for 13 yards; and he dashed 14 yards to the to the Seattle 16.
Facing a third-and-goal from the Seattle 1, the Chiefs deployed backup tackles Donald Stephenson and Jeff Linkenbach as eligible receivers and fullback Anthony Sherman as a tight end, and quarterback Alex Smith ran an old-fashioned option with Charles dashing in for the score.
Smith completed four of five passes for 31 yards on the drive.
The Seahawks, who went three-and-out on their first possession, answered with a 16-play, 90-yard drive of their own, ending with a 7-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin with 10:22 left in the second quarter.
A crucial play was an illegal hands to the face call against Chiefs cornerback Ron Parker, nullifying a sack by Justin Houston on a third down play from the Kansas City 36. Parker was also beaten for the touchdown pass at the back of the end zone.
The Chiefs regained the lead with a quick, four-play drive capped by Charles’ 16-yard run, aided by a kick-out block by left tackle Eric Fisher that made it 14-7 with 8:09 left in the first half.
Seattle closed the second half scoring with field goals of 24 and 27 yards by Steven Hauschka.
The second field goal was set up by a fumble by Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce at the Chiefs’ 47. The Seahawks moved to the Kansas City 9 with 22 seconds left in the half, but Wilson threw three incompletions, forcing Seattle to settle for the field goal that made it 14-13 as time expired in the half.