KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Rookie running back Tim Hightower had a short touchdown run and Matt Leinart shook off a bad start and threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Steve Breaston, leading the Arizona Cardinals to a 27-17 victory over a punchless Kansas City on Saturday night.
Kurt Warner, the 11-year veteran who's trying his best to unseat Leinart as the No. 1 quarterback for the Cardinals (1-1), started the game and hit six of nine passes for 54 yards. He directed a 13-play, 78-yard touchdown drive on his second possession, capped by Hightower's 4-yard touchdown run around right end.
Brodie Croyle directed the Chiefs (1-1) on a scoring drive on the opening possession for the second week in a row. But the offense of first-year coordinator Chan Gailey produced only three field goals for the first 59 minutes in Kansas City's first appearance in Arrowhead Stadium since losing its last nine games of 2007.
Before he started rolling in the second half, Leinart had a terrible start and could have been intercepted twice.
Leinart was 7-for-11 for 62 yards. In the third period, Brian St. Pierre hit Tim Castille with a 24-yard pass against the Chiefs' reserves following J.J. Arrington's 78-yard kickoff return.
With less than 2 minutes to go, Dennis Keyes, a free agent rookie safety, intercepted a pass from Kansas City backup Tyler Thigpen and returned it 84 yards for a touchdown.
The Chiefs' two rookie cornerbacks, Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr, both got a good workout from the Cardinals' receivers.
Carr, a fifth-round pick out of Grand Valley State, was practically twisted into the turf by Breaston, who turned a short pass into an 11-yard gain.
Flowers, a third-round choice out of Virginia Tech who's already locked down the right cornerback job vacated by the retired Ty Law, made a nice play when he broke up a long pass intended for Anquan Bolton on Arizona's first possession. But Larry Fitzgerald juked him on a first-half play that went for a 9-yard gain.
Hightower, a rookie from Richmond, made a good argument for himself with several impressive runs. His four-yard touchdown scamper around right end in the second quarter was first ruled no score. But the Cardinals successfully challenged. Neil Rackers, the only kicker in the Cardinals' camp, was wide left on extra point attempt.
Nick Novak may have separated himself a bit from rookie Connor Barth in the Chiefs' battle for a job as place kicker. Novak hit field goals of 40 and 33 yards while Barth connected from 35 yards but had a 46-yarder hit the right crossbar.
Thigpen got the Chiefs' lone TD on a 14-yard TD pass to Sergio Joachim with less than 1 minute left, and Dantrell Savage ran in the 2-point conversion.
Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, the Chiefs' first-round draft pick who sprained a knee in the second week of camp, made his first appearance, playing one series.
Savage, a rookie free agent running back from Oklahoma State, made a bid to win another job that's up for grabs when with a tackle-breaking 45-yard kickoff return after Leinart's TD pass to Breaston.
|Arizona (1-1-0) «||0||6||14||7||27|
|Kansas City (1-1-0)||3||3||3||8||17|
ARI - Pass: M. Leinart (7-11, 62), Rec: L. Fitzgerald (4-46)|
KC - Pass: T. Thigpen (16-27, 174), Rush: L. Johnson (14-61)
|FG||Nick Novak 32 Yd, 7:48. Drive: 12 plays, 46 yards in 7:12.|
|TD||Tim Hightower, 4 Yd run (Neil Rackers kick Failed), 12:41. Drive: 13 plays, 78 yards in 6:50.|
|FG||Connor Barth 35 Yd, 4:57. Drive: 12 plays, 53 yards in 6:01.|
|TD||Steve Breaston, 14 Yd pass from Matt Leinart (Neil Rackers kick is good), 8:23. Drive: 11 plays, 70 yards in 6:37.|
|FG||Nick Novak 40 Yd, 3:38. Drive: 8 plays, 35 yards in 4:45.|
|TD||Tim Castille, 24 Yd pass from Brian St. Pierre (Neil Rackers kick is good), 3:20. Drive: 1 play, 24 yards in 0:18.|
|TD||Dennis Keyes, 84 Yd interception return (Neil Rackers kick is good), 1:14.|
|TD||Sergio Joachim, 14 Yd pass from Tyler Thigpen (Dantrell Savage Run for 2 Pt. Conversion), 0:15. Drive: 6 plays, 60 yards in 0:59.|
|B. St. Pierre||4/4||40||1||0|
|Complete Player Stats|