It was a game of big plays, but in the end the Kansas City Chiefs had one more big play in them.
The Chiefs defeated the Redskins 28-21 on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, capitalizing on a fumble that was returned for a touchdown and a screen pass that led to a 60-yard touchdown run by Priest Holmes.
The loss dropped the Redskins' record to 3-2. It was the Redskins' eighth consecutive loss to an AFC team dating back to the 2003 season.
The Redskins did not go down without a fight. In the final minutes, Washington was poised for another fantastic finish, as the offense took over at its own 22-yard line with 1:46 remaining in the game. Quarterback Mark Brunell completed passes to Clinton Portis, James Thrash and David Patten to get the ball to the Chiefs' 33-yard line.
On a fourth down play, Brunell's pass to Santana Moss in the end zone was on target, and almost within Moss's reach, but Chiefs' safety Sammy Knight knocked the ball away at the last second.
The Redskins sustained two injuries of note: center Casey Rabach left the game in the fourth quarter with a sprained right ankle and defensive lineman Cedric Killing sustained a sprained left ankle in the first half. Portis was hampered by a shin injury but he continued to play.
For the second consecutive week, the Redskins out-gained an opponent in yardage, first downs and time of possession--but still lost. Washington compiled 398 yards and 26 first downs to the Chiefs' 274 total yards and 18 first downs. The Redskins had the ball on offense for five more minutes that the Chiefs.
"We made a bunch of good plays, but not enough," head coach Joe Gibbs said. "We made too many mistakes. We've been turning the ball over and we've not been getting turnovers on defense. That's not a winning formula."
Brunell was 25-of-41 for 331 yards and three touchdowns, including two to Moss. He was sacked four times, including three times by defensive end Jared Allen, who turned in a career day at the Redskins' expense.
Moss hauled in 10 catches for a career-high 173 yards and two touchdowns. His 78-yard touchdown in the third quarter was a career-long.
Portis, who has had some huge games against the Chiefs in his career, rushed for 77 yards on 21 carries. He was kept out of the end zone for the eighth consecutive game.
On the opening kickoff, the Redskins drove downfield on the legs of Portis. He churned out 26 yards in rushing on six carries, as the Redskins' offensive line opened up huge holes on several plays. He added a 10-yard catch as well on the series.
But the drive ended at the Chiefs' 7-yard line. On third down, Brunell dropped back to pass and waited for a receiver to get open in the pocket. Allen was pushed to the outside by Chris Samuels, but the 6-6, 265-pound defensive end managed to stick out his hand and knock the ball out of Brunell's hands.
Allen recovered the fumble and Kansas City took over.
The Chiefs responded with a long drive of their own. Just as Portis appeared to be a big part of the Redskins' game plan, Holmes figured into the Chiefs' game plan early on as well.
Holmes had six carries for 29 yards on the drive and caught one pass for six yards. A 20-yard pass interference penalty on Lemar Marshall, covering tight end Tony Gonzalez, helped put the Chiefs in scoring position. Kicker Lawrence Tynes converted a 20-yard field goal to give Kansas City an early 3-0 lead.
The Redskins put together another long drive, as the offense appeared to be able to move the ball with ease against the Chiefs' defense. Brunell connected on a 35-yard pass to Moss to give the Redskins the ball at the Chiefs' 14-yard line. Portis then rushed up the middle of the Chiefs' defense for a 9-yard gain.
Two plays later, Brunell rolled left and found Moss again, one yard in the end zone, for a 4-yard touchdown and a 7-3 Redskins lead. It was Moss's third touchdown catch of the season.
Midway through the second quarter, Chiefs' running back Larry Johnson reeled off a 19-yard gain to help set up another field goal. Tynes connected on a 38-yarder to pull Kansas City to within a 7-6 lead.
Later in the second quarter, Brunell fumbled as he tried to scramble away from pressure. The ball was poked out by the Chiefs' Allen, his second forced fumble of the game. The Chiefs took over at the Redskins' 40-yard line.
The Redskins' defense forced a 3-and-out, as Holmes was tackled for a 10-yard loss by a swarm of linemen. Renaldo Wynn was credited with the tackle. On third down, linebacker Chris Clemons stopped Holmes for a 3-yard gain on a swing pass.
In the second half, the Chiefs had the first possession. Green completed a pass to Holmes for a 22-yard gain, with another 15 yards tacked on due to a roughing the passer penalty on Marcus Washington.
Two plays later, Holmes raced around left end for a 6-yard touchdown run. Green completed a pass to Marc Boerigter in the corner of the end zone for a two-point conversion and a 14-7 lead.
The lead was short-lived, however.
On the Redskins' next possession, Brunell was sacked for a 9-yard loss. Faced with a 2nd-and-19, Brunell tossed a sideline pass to Moss. The speedster turned up-field and weaved through a handful of Chiefs' defenders. Samuels had a key block to spring Moss free. He burst down the sideline untouched for a 78-yard touchdown that silenced the Arrowhead crowd. The extra point tied the game at 14-14.
The back-and-forth scoring continued, though.
Midway through the third quarter, the Redskins were driving in Chiefs territory. Rock Cartwright, giving Portis a breather, took a handoff on a sweep to the right. The ball was poked loose from Cartwright's grasp by defensive end Carlos Hall and picked up by Sammy Knight.
Knight raced down the left sideline for a 78-yard touchdown, giving the Chiefs a 21-14 edge.
The Redskins responded with an impressive 12-play, 67-yard touchdown drive to tie the game. Brunell spread the ball around on the drive, completing passes to Cooley, Moss and Thrash. Brunell then found Cooley on a crossing pattern in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown.
With the scored tied early in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs used another big play to take the lead. Green threw a screen pass to Holmes, who followed his blockers and raced across field. In an acrobatic run, he avoided tackles by Washington and Rogers and scored on a 60-yard touchdown.
That score proved to be the margin of difference in the game.
Said Brunell: "It's frustrating when you come up on the short end of a game. We have kind of dug ourselves into a little bit of a hole. We'll find out what kind of character we have. We'll fight back. We have another opportunity next week and I'm confident we'll clean up the mistakes."