Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith hands the ball off during NFL football training camp Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013 in St. Joseph, Mo. (AP Photo/St. Joseph News-Press, Jessica Stewart)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Andy Reid claims there are things he still doesn't know about his Kansas City Chiefs.
That claim seems more farfetched by the day.
The former longtime Eagles coach has pulled all the right strings and orchestrated all the right moves in getting the Chiefs off to a 4-0 start. Their resounding 31-7 rout of the winless New York Giants on Sunday proved just how far Kansas City has come from a 2-14 finish a year ago.
Alex Smith was savvy and efficient at quarterback. Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe made the kind of big plays befitting his big new contract. Dexter McCluster returned a punt 89 yards for a touchdown. And a hard-hitting defense allowed just one long touchdown reception.
"There are a lot of things that I don't know, but I do know this: We're a tough bunch and we'll keep battling," said Reid, whose team joined the 1980 Detroit Lions as the only ones in modern NFL history to win their first four games after two or fewer wins the previous season.
"That's something I'm proud of them for," Reid said. "They've been that way all the way through the offseason, during training camp and then continued it on into the season."
If the Chiefs are battling, the Giants (0-4) are about ready to wave the white flag.
Their defense has allowed 69 points the last two weeks, and an offense operating with a patchwork line has managed just one touchdown over that same stretch.
The result is their first winless start this deep into the season since 1987.
"I'm depending heavily on the leadership and depending heavily on the character of the guys in that locker room," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "Pick ourselves up, have a good week of practice, go play as hard as we can and improve on this."
With that in mind, here are five takeaways from Sunday's game:
CHIEFS ARE ROLLING: Beating Jacksonville was written off as a win over a bad team. Wins over Dallas and Philadelphia? Validation that what Reid's doing in Kansas City is working. But beating a desperate Giants team to go 4-0 for the third time in franchise history means the Chiefs are on a roll. "We're confident but not complacent," tight end Sean McGrath said.
GIANTS ARE SWOONING: Just two years removed from a Super Bowl triumph, the Giants are trying to figure out where everything went wrong. They're allowing more than 36 points each game and have struggled to get into a rhythm on offense. The only TD they've scored the last two weeks came on Eli Manning's long pass to Victor Cruz on Sunday. "It's disappointing offensively not to be able to do anything. It's bad," Manning said. "We had some chances on some plays and just didn't make them."
DOMINATING DEFENSE: The Chiefs are staking their claim as the league's top defense through the first four weeks. They've given up just four touchdowns and allowed 41 points, one point more than they allowed in their season-opening loss to Atlanta last year. "I feel like that was the foundation that was built for us to do what we're doing now," safety Eric Berry said, "but we've still got a lot of work to do."
SMALL THINGS MATTER: The Giants were trailing 10-7 in the third quarter when the Chiefs successfully challenged the spot on a third-and-long conversion. Coughlin elected to punt rather than go for it on fourth-and-short, and McCluster returned it 89 yards for a touchdown. It was the start of a 21-0 second half for the Chiefs.
ADVERSITY? NO PROBLEM: The Chiefs have proven they can handle some adversity. Not only did they shut down the Giants after turning the ball over for the first two times this season, they did it without several key players. Top cornerback Brandon Flowers, starting guard Jeff Allen and top tight ends Anthony Fasano and Travis Kelce were inactive due to injuries. Right tackle Eric Fisher left the game with a suspected concussion. "I was proud of the effort that the guys gave," Reid said. "I thought they came out and did a nice job. We overcame three turnovers with three takeaways of our own, and then the defense, I thought, played well."