Alex Smith leads Chiefs past mistake-prone Saints, 27-21

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, left, meets with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) following an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, left, meets with New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) following an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016. (AP Photo/Colin E. Braley)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Alex Smith huddled with Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy in front of his locker, not more than 15 minutes after Kansas City had beaten the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

If they were already dissecting his performance, they weren’t going to find many faults.

Smith threw two touchdown passes in another calm, efficient outing, and Daniel Sorensen returned an interception of Drew Brees for another score as the Chiefs held on for a 27-21 victory.

“Everybody trusts Alex, man. Alex is a pro,” said Tyreek Hill, who made an acrobatic 38-yard TD catch to help the Chiefs (4-2) win their ninth consecutive home game. “He’s good. He’s the truth.”

Smith was helped by another big game from Spencer Ware, the one-time fill-in for Jamaal Charles who’s become a star. He had 77 yards rushing to go with a 46-yard TD catch.

“He runs with a lot of physicality and determination, but a lot of agility,” Smith said. “He’s a good mix and I think you just see a guy who has great vision.”

Brees tried to rally the Saints (2-4) once again, pulling them within 24-21 on a touchdown pass to Brandon Coleman with 2:33 left. But the ensuing onside kick went out of bounds, Kansas City added a field goal and the Saints could do nothing in the final 28 seconds to change the outcome.

Brees finished with 367 yards and three TD passes, but much of that offense came while he was trying to rally his team. It was another uneven performance away from the Superdome for the New Orleans quarterback, who was coming off a 465-yard game last week against Carolina.

“Listen, we’ve set the bar pretty high at home, haven’t we? We can’t expect 500 yards on the road,” he said. “It’s what home-field advantage is, right? We can definitely execute better though.”

Meanwhile, the Chiefs showed some moxie after falling into an early 7-0 hole.

Ware’s touchdown on a screen pass and Sorensen’s pick-six off a batted ball quickly turned the momentum, and Hill added his long touchdown reception to make it 21-7 at the break.

The Saints drew within a touchdown on Mark Ingram’s catch midway through the third quarter, but the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner fumbled inside the Kansas City 10 with 8:26 left in the game.

“That’s just everybody flying to the ball,” said the Chiefs’ Marcus Peters, who recovered it.

The fumble with the Chiefs leading 24-14 proved to be pivotal. New Orleans got the ball back and eventually scored, but the extra time it took may have cost them a chance to win the game.

“You play a good team on the road, penalties and turnovers, they can really do you in,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “Interception return for a touchdown on third-and-long, fumble in the red zone and we’re not a good enough team to overcome some of those mistakes.”

LOTS OF LAUNDRY

The Saints struggled with the crowd noise in Arrowhead Stadium, getting flagged for four false starts and a delay of game. They also got hit with two unnecessary roughness penalties, including one with just over two minutes left that kept them from getting the ball back. “With a veteran quarterback like that, you don’t really expect it,” Chiefs safety Eric Berry said.

BETTER DEFENSE

The Saints defense voluntarily skipped their day off Monday to review video, and it seemed to pay off. One of the league’s worst defenses held Kansas City to just 326 yards of total offense.

REID ROLLS 300

The Chiefs’ Andy Reid coached his 300th game Sunday. Most of those were over his 14 seasons in Philadelphia, where he was 140-102-1. He is now 36-21 in his fourth season in Kansas City.

INJURY REPORT

Saints: LB Dannell Ellerbe (quad), LB Stephone Anthony (hamstring) and CB Delvin Breaux (broken leg) left New Orleans without three defensive starters, while starting LG Andrus Peat (groin) was also out. Backup LG Senio Kelemete later left with a stinger, forcing Tim Lelito into the lineup.

Chiefs: Starting CB Phillip Gaines (knee) was inactive, while Charles (knee swelling) was active in a limited role . He had just one carry early in the game. “Things were going OK so I just let him ride there,” Reid said. “I’m trying to be as careful as I can with him in my ear wanting to play.”