The Kansas City Chiefs are simply a much better team when running back Jamaal Charles is healthy.
Add perhaps the best backup running back in the NFL — Knile Davis — along with up-and-coming pass-catching tight end Travis Kelce and a steady performance from quarterback Alex Smith.
All combined — coupled with a dominating defensive performance — the Chiefs hit on cylinders in a 41-14 beatdown of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football at noisy Arrowhead Stadium before 76,613 fans.
"The fans were phenomenal," said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, whose team improved to 2-2 while New England dropped to 2-2. "A 142.2 decibel level … my ears are still ringing.
"It was loud, loud down there."
Check out the plethora of playmakers for the Chiefs:
• The bruising Davis complemented the speedy Charles in the Chiefs' backfield as a formidable one-two punch. He rushed for a team-high 107 yards in 16 carries.
"We both feed off each other," Davis said. "It's about executing. When he's in, I know he's going to do his thing and when I'm in, I'm going to do my thing."
• Charles, hobbled by an ankle injury the first three games, scored three touchdowns — one by run and two via pass — and rushed for a 92 yards in 18 carries
• Smith completed 17 of his first 23 passes and finished 20-for-26 for 248 yards and three touchdown passes — two on 5- and 8-yard tosses to Charles and one to Kelce for a 2-yard score. He minimized risk-taking, threw no interceptions and converted seven of 12 opportunities on third down.
"We tried to spread it around as much as we could," Reid said, "and we were able to do that. We had some tight formations, and we tried to get as many receivers as we could in the mix.
"The guys executed the game plan like clockwork."
• Kelce caught eight passes on nine targets for 93 yards, including a 2-yard scoring pass from Smith, increasing their lead to 41-7 in the final period. He also outplayed Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who had just two receptions in three passes thrown to him for 31 yards. Gronkowski caught a 13-yard TD pass from backup QB Jim Garoppolo with 7:24 remaining to make it 41-14.
• Moreover, Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe caught five catches in six passes thrown to him for 81 yards.
• Defensively, the Chiefs harried Brady into 14-for-23 passing for 159 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
One of the key plays was linebacker Tamba Hali making a blindside hit on Brady and then recovering the football, a microcosm of the Patriots' fortunes on this night.
GAME NOTES — Through Week 3, Davis a product of the University of Arkansas and a third-year pro, entered Monday night's game No. 3 in the American Football Conference in rushing with 214 yards on 55 carries. Le'Von Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers had an AFC-leading 315 yards in 53 carries, followed by the Houston Texans' Arian Foster (241 yards in 55 carries). Charles returned to the starting lineup against the Patriots and Davis retained his steady role back there. … New England quarterback Tom Brady passed Steve Young (San Francisco) for third place on Monday night with 43 touchdown passes on Monday Night Football. Dan Marino (74, Miami) ranks No. 1 and Brett Favre (69, Green Bay & Minnesota) is No. 2. Young threw 42 TD passes in 25 games, and Brady has 43 in just 19.
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Monday Night Football
At Arrowhead Stadium
Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City Chiefs 41,
New England Patriots 14
New England 0 0 7 7—14
Kansas City 7 10 10 14—41
KC—Charles 2 run (Santos kick), 2:15.
KC—Charles 5 pass from A.Smith (Santos kick), 10:58.
KC—FG Santos 22, :00.
KC—Charles 8 pass from A.Smith (Santos kick), 7:53.
KC—FG Santos 31, 5:29.
NE—LaFell 44 pass from Brady (Gostkowski kick), 3:26.
KC—Kelce 2 pass from A.Smith (Santos kick), 11:52.
KC—Abdullah 39 interception return (Santos kick), 10:34.
NE—Gronkowski 13 pass from Garoppolo (Gostkowski kick), 7:25.
RUSHING—New England, Ridley 5-28, Vereen 8-26, J.White 3-21. Kansas City, Davis 16-107, Charles 18-92, A.Smith 4-8.
PASSING—New England, Brady 14-23-2-159, Garoppolo 6-7-0-70. Kansas City, A.Smith 20-26-0-248.
RECEIVING—New England, LaFell 6-119, Vereen 5-41, Edelman 4-23, J.White 3-15, Gronkowski 2-31. Kansas City, Kelce 8-93, Bowe 5-81, Charles 3-16, Avery 2-46, Davis 1-12, Jenkins 1-0.
MISSED FIELD GOALS—None.