EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Josh McCown scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak with 2:15 left, and the New York Jets bounced back from a brutal start to hold on for a wild and wacky 38-31 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 21-yard field goal to put the Jets (5-7) ahead with 3:55 left. But Kansas City’s Bennie Logan was called for a personal foul for hitting long snapper Thomas Hennessy on the play. That gave the Jets the ball at the 1 with a new set of downs.
After two running plays, McCown threw incomplete — but Steven Nelson was penalized for defensive holding, making it first-and-goal from the 2. Three plays later, McCown kept the ball and shoved his way into the end zone.
McCown’s pass on the 2-point conversion was incomplete, but Nelson was called for holding. An enraged Marcus Peters picked up the penalty flag and tossed it away, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Elijah McGuire ran it in moments later to convert the 2-point play and make it 38-31.
McCown finished with 331 yards passing and a touchdown to Matt Forte, and ran for two scores — including the winner. Jermaine Kearse had nine catches for 157 yards and Robby Anderson caught eight passes for 107 yards as the Jets dominated in time of possession, but still had to hold their breath in the end.
After Tyreek Hill’s 40-yard catch put the ball at the Jets 23, Smith completed a 4-yard pass to Travis Kelce, who had two early touchdowns. But Smith was then incomplete on three straight passes.
The loss by the Chiefs (6-6) ruined the return of cornerback Darrelle Revis, who made his debut with Kansas City after signing a two-year deal last week. Revis, who played eight years over two stints with the Jets, started for the Chiefs, but spent the second half on the sideline.
Kansas City has dropped six of its last seven after opening the season 5-0. Meanwhile, New York kept its faint playoff hopes alive by snapping a two-game skid and holding on to a fourth-quarter lead. The Jets had blown leads in the fourth quarter of three of their last four losses.
Hill had put the Chiefs ahead 31-30 on a 40-yard touchdown catch. The drive was helped by a personal foul penalty on the Jets’ ArDarius Stewart on the kickoff.
Smith finished with 366 yards passing, with four TD tosses, two to Hill, who had six receptions for 185 yards.
After Harrison Butker’s 36-yard field goal gave the Chiefs a 17-14 lead, McCown led the Jets to a go-ahead 11-yard touchdown pass to Matt Forte. Catanzaro’s 27-yarder late in the third quarter put New York ahead 24-17, capping an 18-play, 72-yard drive that took 9 minutes, 31 seconds to open the second half.
But the Chiefs struck back on their next play from scrimmage, Smith finding Hill, who zipped past Rashard Robinson in coverage, for a 79-yard touchdown to tie the game.
Catanzaro booted a 47-yarder on New York’s next possession. He added a 38-yarder early in the fourth quarter to make it 30-24.
Smith and the Chiefs got things going early, marching 75 yards on five plays — capping the drive with a 22-yard touchdown catch by a wide-open Kelce 2:38 into the game.
ESPN reported before the game that Chiefs coach Andy Reid was handing the offensive play-calling duties to coordinator Matt Nagy, and it appeared to work well early. Smith found Kelce — wide open, again — to make it 14-0 less than five minutes in.
The Jets showed some signs of life, though, with Bilal Powell scoring on a 1-yard run in the opening quarter one play after McGuire’s 9-yard touchdown run was overturned by video review, which showed that the rookie running back’s left foot stepped out of bounds at the 1.
New York had another impressive drive to tie it at 14 late in the opening quarter, capped by McCown’s sneak from 1 yard.
Smith helped set up a field goal for the Chiefs when he scrambled out of trouble on second-and-10 from the 14 for a career-best 70 yards late in the second quarter. It was the Chiefs’ longest run of the season, but not the best ever by a Kansas City quarterback. That was Steve Bono’s 76-yarder against Arizona in 1995.
New York linebacker Darron Lee was a surprise inactive, which Todd Bowles called a coach’s decision. Also, defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson was benched for most of the first quarter — also a coach’s decision — before entering with 39 seconds left before the second period.
Butker was wide right on a 38-yard attempt that grazed the right upright in the second quarter. It ended Butker’s franchise record of 23 straight field goals made. Butker’s only previous miss was a 46-yarder against Washington on the first attempt of his NFL career.
Chiefs: Center Mitch Morse was carted to the locker room with an unspecified injury. Zach Fulton replaced him and Bryan Witzmann took over Fulton’s spot at left guard.
Chiefs: home vs. Oakland next Sunday.
Jets: at Denver next Sunday.