KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Chiefs running back Jamal Charles took the blame.
Charles ran the wrong way on a read-option that left quarterback Alex Smith extending the ball without anyone to fake a handoff.
But Smith smartly tucked the ball in his gut and dashed 5 yards for the touchdown just before halftime that gave the Chiefs the lead for good in their 17-16 win over Houston on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
"Yeah, we made that play up," Charles said laughing. "I went the wrong way. I was moving around and all the formations were moving all day, and I just forgot which way to go.
"My mind went blank, and I'm just glad that Alex was able to execute the play and score."
It was that kind of day for Smith, who scored his first touchdown of the year rushing on a day when he failed to throw a touchdown pass for the third straight week.
So what was he thinking when he was holding the ball in the middle of the Texans defense?
"Getting the defensive end to pause and then hitting the hole," said Smith, who rushed six times in the game for 28 yards, including a 23-yard dash in the third quarter that set up Ryan Succop's 22-yard field goal that turned out to provide the margin of victory.
Smith completed 23 of 34 passes for 240 yards but said the two passes that will stick out in his mind was his overthrow of tight end Sean McGrath in the end zone on fourth and 1 and an interception on a pass intended for Dexter McCluster, both in the fourth quarter.
Smith was looking for a penalty against the Texans on the pass intercepted by Houston safety Shiloh Keh.
"I got pretty excited after that play with the refs," Smith said. "He was getting grabbed out there. He was trying to break out, and the guy was grabbing him. He got collared, and we don't get a call there. I thought it was too big of a play in the game for that, that drastic. He couldn't even run out. He's trying to break out and was getting grabbed in there.
"Those couple of plays . . . as a quarterback you're judged on winning. That's the name of the game, and you do whatever you can to win. Fortunately, special teams and defense bailed us out a little bit there at the end and got it for us."
"I was pretty upset with myself on the one to McGrath," Smith said. "I thought I was going to be able to run in and got kind of surprised when nobody was covering him."
Smith recorded his seventh straight win, joining Mike Livingston as the only two quarterbacks in Chiefs history to win their first seven starts in a Kansas City uniform, but while Livingston won his first nine starts over four seasons (1969-72) as Len Dawson's backup, Smith is the first to win his first seven in the same season.
"Unfortunately, we had the turnovers that hurt us," Smith said of his interception and a fumble by Charles, "and if we find a way to score down there on the goal line, it's probably not that close. I think the thing I look at, the turnovers and executing in the red zone, made this thing a little closer than it had to be."
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