When the Arizona Cardinals scored quickly in the fourth quarter to get within a touchdown, the Kansas City Chiefs feared the worst.
“Losing six games in a row, you tend to lose your confidence,” linebacker Donnie Edwards said. “Everybody was thinking, ‘Don’t let it happen again, don’t let it happen again.’ ”
So they didn’t.
The longest losing streak in Marty Schottenheimer’s 15-year coaching career and the longest for the Chiefs in a non-strike season since 1985 came to an end Sunday with a 34-24 victory over the Cardinals.
Not only had the Chiefs (5-7) lost six in a row, they had blown a 17-point, fourth-quarter lead against San Diego Nov. 22.
“The guys on the sideline were saying, ‘Oh, no, not again,’ ” safety Jerome Woods said.
Rich Gannon threw three touchdown passes and the Chiefs, struggling with many of the same mistakes that marked their six-game slide, took a 31-17 lead with 10:26 left on Derrick Alexander’s 15-yard touchdown catch.
But the Cardinals (6-6), who had moved into playoff contention by winning three of their last four, answered with an 80-yard drive aided by a pass interference call and made it 31-24 on Mario Bates’ one-yard touchdown plunge.
“We’re human beings. Doubt came into our minds,” linebacker Anthony Davis said.
Not until Pete Stoyanovich kicked an 18-yard field goal for a 10-point lead with 1:57 left was that doubt removed.
“There’s a lot of fight in this football team,” said Gannon, who completed 21 of 28 passes for 231 yards.
Arizona’s Jake Plummer completed 20 of 37 passes for 250 yards.