Tampa, FL – The Chiefs held advantages in total yards (366 to 312), passing yards (214 to 213), rushing yards (152 to 99) and time of possession (34:55 to 25:05), but lost a narrow 20-15 decision at Tampa Bay on Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium.
QB Matt Cassel played the entire first half, completing 14 of 19 passes for 125 yards and a TD, good for a 108.4 rating. The Chiefs defense limited the Bucs to a FG after an early turnover and held the Bucs to only seven first downs in the first half. RB Jackie Battle led all rushers with 11 carries for 59 yards. Rookie TE Cody Slate hauled in three catches for 37 yards to pace the Chiefs receiving corps.
After receiving the opening kick of the game, Cassel found WR Chris Chambers on first-and-10 for a 13-yard gain. The early momentum was short-lived as RB Thomas Jones fumbled the ball two plays later, giving Tampa Bay the ball on the Kansas City 39-yard line. Kansas City’s defense held the Buccaneers to 28 yards on seven plays and a 31-yard FG by K Connor Barth for the early 3-0 lead over Kansas City.
Kansas City wasted little time answering Tampa Bay’s early score as Cassel found WR Jeremy Horne on a six-yard TD pass to cap an eight-play, 47-yard TD drive, giving the Chiefs the 7-3 lead with 6:39 left to play in the first quarter. CB Javier Arenas registered a 54-yard kickoff return that set up the TD march. Cassel opened the drive with a nine-yard pass to FB Mike Cox and followed that with a 12-yard completion to WR Dwayne Bowe two plays later. An eight-yard strike to RB Jamaal Charles put Kansas City in the Red Zone, setting up first-and-10 at the Tampa Bay 12-yard line and the subsequent score.
After Johnson completed a 13-yard pass to WR Mike Williams, the Buccaneers gained three yards on two rushes before LB Tamba Hali pressured Johnson on third-and-seven, forcing an incomplete pass and a Tampa Bay punt.
Charles opened the drive with 14 yards on back-to-back rushes before a defensive pass interference set the Chiefs up at the Kansas City 35-yard line. An eight-yard pass to TE Leonard Pope set up a one-yard dive by Jones on third-and-one for a Chiefs first down to end the first quarter.
Tampa Bay QB Josh Johnson answered the Kansas City TD drive with a 53-yard TD strike to WR Michael Spurlock to cap a six-play, 88-yard drive give the Buccaneers the 10-7 lead with 9:35 left to play in the first half. Johnson completed a 15-yard pass to Williams and an 11-yard pass to WR Sammie Stroughter before finding Spurlock deep down the right sideline.
After a Kansas City three-and-out Johnson found Stroughter for 16 yards before RB Kareem Huggins ran for 13 yards. The Chiefs defense stepped up to force a Buccaneers punt on fourth-and-two, giving Kansas City the ball at its own 13-yard line with 4:45 remaining in the first half.
Charles picked up gains of eight and four yard on the opening two plays before Cassel connected with WR Dexter McCluster for 17 yards. Cassel found Bowe for 13 yards and another first down. Faced with third-and-10 at the two-minute warning, Cassel fired a 16-yard bullet to Charles to keep the drive alive. Cassel found Pope for nine yards, setting up third-and-two. A two-yard pass to Jones moved the sticks. Cassel found Chambers for a seven-yard pickup. Facing fourth-and-one with 0:03 remaining on the clock, Succop’s 28-yard FG sailed through the uprights to tie the game at 10-10 going into halftime.
The teams traded three-and-outs to open the second half. On Tampa Bay’s next drive, QB Rudy Carpenter connected with WR Reggie Brown for 12 yards on third-and-eight. Faced with third-and-two, Carpenter’s pass fell incomplete. Arenas fair caught the Tampa Bay punt at the Kansas City 13-yard line.
Battle opened the series with a seven-yard rush followed by two two-yard runs for a first down. QB Tyler Palko connected with WR Lance Long for six yards. Palko found FB Tim Castille for five yards and then scrambled for 13 yards and another first down before Battle rattled off a 21-yard carry to the Tampa Bay 31-yard line. The Chiefs reached the Tampa Bay 11-yard line before Succop entered for a 29-yard FG to put the Chiefs up 13-10 with 1:02 left in the third quarter.
Carpenter found TE Ryan Purvis for 18 yards. Huggins then picked up nine yards. CB/S Maurice Leggett left the game with a neck injury after assisting with the tackle on the play. After giving up a 20-yard run to Huggins to open the fourth quarter, the Chiefs held the Buccaneers offense on three straight plays, forcing a Tampa Bay punt.
After Palko connected with WR Verran Tucker for nine yards and Battle gained six yards for a first down. Palko’s pass for RB Javarris Williams went off the receiver’s hands and was intercepted by Roberson at the Kansas City 41-yard line. Carpenter connected with Spurlock for 19 yards before the drive stalled at the Kansas City 18-yard line. Barth’s 36-yard FG was good, tying the game at 13-13 with 9:42 left in the contest.
After a Kansas City three-and-out that forced a Colquitt punt that was returned to the 50-yard line, Carpenter found WR Arrelious Benn for 16 yards. RB Carlos Brown broke free for a 26-yard run, setting up a five-yard Carpenter TD pass to WR Terrence Nunn, giving Tampa Bay the 20-13 lead with 6:15 left to play in the contest.
After receiving the ball after the kickoff, Palko orchestrated an 86-yard drive that saw the Chiefs reach the Tampa Bay seven-yard line before turning the ball over on downs. Palko connected on eight of 11 throws on the drive. WR Rich Gunnell hauled in a five-yard Palko pass but was tackled at the two-yard line, giving the ball back to Tampa Bay.
The Kansas City defense held Tampa Bay to a three-and-out and forced the Buccaneers to punt out of their own end zone. Tampa Bay P Brent Bowden stepped out of the back of the end zone on the punt, giving the Chiefs a safety, making the score 20-15 in favor of the Buccaneers with 0:59 left to play in the game.
On their last attempt to move the ball, Palko threw a long pass down the right sideline that was intercepted by CB Brandon Anderson in Tampa Bay territory. The Buccaneers were able to run out the clock for the 20-15 victory.