Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles (25) carries the ball as Chiefs guard Mike McGlynn (75) blocks Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (53) in the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
KANSAS CITY, MO (AP) -
The Chiefs' Jamaal Charles got the better of Seattle's Marshawn Lynch in a tantalizing matchup between two of the NFL's top running backs.
Charles can thank Kansas City's defense for clinching the win.
The Chiefs stopped Lynch and the Seahawks on fourth down three times in the final quarter Sunday, helping to preserve a 24-20 victory in a rare meeting between former division rivals.
Charles ran for 159 yards and two touchdowns, and Knile Davis also ran for a score, as the Chiefs (7-3) won their fifth straight game and moved into a tie for first in the AFC West.
Russell Wilson threw for 178 yards and two touchdowns, and Lynch had 124 yards rushing for Seattle (6-4). But the star running back, fresh off a four-touchdown game, was stuffed twice by the Kansas City defense with the outcome hanging in the balance.
The Seahawks' last-chance drive ended when Wilson threw incomplete on fourth-and-18 at their 20-yard line with 1:13 left in the game. Kansas City simply ran out the clock.
The first fourth-down stop came with about 6 minutes to go. Lynch was stuffed after a two-yard gain on third down, and coach Pete Carroll elected to gamble at the Chiefs' 2-yard line. Wilson rolled out and overthrew Doug Baldwin in the corner of the end zone.
Seattle held to get the ball back, and appeared to get a first down with a completion at the Chiefs 35. But coach Andy Reid challenged the spot and replays showed that wide receiver Jermaine Kearse was a full yard short. Again going for it on fourth down, Lynch was stuffed for no gain, giving the Chiefs the ball back with less than 4 minutes to go.
By the time the Seahawks got the ball back one last time, they were pinned so deep in their own territory and had such little time left that it hardly mattered.
It made sense the two playoff contenders would wage an old-school, back-and-forth affair. Both are built in the same mold, featuring stout defenses and strong running games.
Kansas City struck first with a grinding, meandering 15-play drive that took up more than 9 minutes of the first half and ended with Charles' 1-yard touchdown run. Seattle answered with its own 16-play drive, chewing up exactly 9 minutes and ending with Wilson's TD pass to Baldwin.
Nothing really changed the rest of the half as the teams kept grinding away.
Charles broke off two long runs on the Chiefs' next series, including a 16-yard touchdown scamper. Lynch came back with a punishing series of carries to help set up a first field goal.
The Chiefs made their first major mistake late in the half, when Travis Kelce fumbled near midfield. TheSeahawks took over with 1:09 left, enough time to convert another field goal.
After the Chiefs answered with a field goal of their own early in the third quarter, they committed their second major mistake. Charles was fighting for extra yardage again near midfield when he was stripped of the ball and the Seahawks recovered.
Five plays later, Wilson hit tight end Tony Moeaki — who spent most of his first four injury-plagued seasons with Kansas City — with a short touchdown toss for a 20-17 lead.
Once again turning to Charles, the Chiefs marched the other way to answer. The elusive running back put a nifty juke on Earl Thomas and scampered 47 yards before getting pushed out of bounds. Gassed, Charles watched as Davis capped the drive to give the Chiefs a 24-20 lead.
Their defense would preserve it the rest of the way.
Notes: Seahawks WR Ricardo Lockette was ejected in the second half for throwing a right hook at Chiefs CB Kurt Coleman at the end of a kick return. ... Seattle C Max Unger was carted off the field midway through the fourth quarter. Patrick Lewis finished the game in his place.
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