ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs spend time in practice on the improbable play that got them back in a game against the Dallas Cowboys before eventually losing.
Now that the toss-and-run play to Tyreek Hill has worked, maybe it needs a name.
The “Hill Mary” perhaps?
An otherwise drab day for the NFL’s third-ranked offense got a brief boost on the crazy score with the clock expired at the end of the first half in a 28-17 loss to the Cowboys on Sunday.
“There’s so many different situations at the end of half and end of game depending on how they play you and time on the clock,” Smith said. “So I felt good about taking a shot as opposed to throw up a Hail Mary there.”
Trailing 14-3, the Chiefs were at their 44 with 2 seconds left before halftime when the Cowboys used three linemen and a linebacker near the line of scrimmage and dropped everyone else back.
Hill caught an easy toss from Smith at the Cowboys 42 and started toward the goal line with three blockers in front.
The speedy Hill motored around Orlando Scandrick at the 25, cut behind two blocks from Demarcus Robinson inside the 10 and sidestepped overpursuing linebacker Anthony Hitchens to finish the stunning TD.
Remarkably, it appeared Hill was untouched all the way, with only safety Xavier Woods getting close with an outstretched left arm as he slid past. Fellow safety Byron Jones ripped off his helmet in frustration as Hill crossed the goal line.
“It’s just a feel thing,” Hill said. “I’m a punt returner. I guess it was set up like a punt return. So I just used my instincts.”
Even better for the Chiefs, they were getting the ball in the second half, and Jones was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Kansas City got the ball at its 38 and took the lead at 17-14 nine plays later on Travis Kelce’s 2-yard score, prompting an even better celebration with a sack race between the All-Pro tight end, Hill and Robinson.
But the Chiefs stalled on their next possession after Ezekiel Elliott’s go-ahead scoring run, and they were down 11 again when they got the ball back with 9 minutes remaining.
That drive ended with Smith’s first interception of the season, stopping a streak of 293 passes without a pick and helping the Cowboys forget what happened at the end of the half.
“There were guys that were a little upset,” defensive end Tyrone Crawford said. “It was one of those plays that you run in Madden that was super lucky. We knew that. We just had to go out there and play ball in the second half and not get down on ourselves.”
Rookie Kareem Hunt, the NFL rushing leader coming in, matched a career low with nine carries for 37 yards. He lost the matchup with Elliott, who led the league in rushing as a rookie a year ago. Elliott had 93 yards.
Even though they will be featured in highlights all week, the Chiefs have lost three of four since a 5-0 start, and are now headed to their bye.
“It’s hard to have great energy with two three-and-outs right off the bat,” Smith said. “It’s easy to say that the energy was down. But we weren’t executing.”
At least they executed flawlessly on one play.