TEMPE, Ariz., Oct. 21 (UPI) -- The Arizona Cardinals had a 15-point lead for the first time in three years Sunday, but it took an interception in the end zone by cornerback Corey Chavous with one second left to preserve the a 24-16 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Kansas City (1-5) marched 97 yards in just over 61 seconds, reaching the Arizona two. But on a fourth-down play in the final seconds, Trent Green floated a pass into the end zone and Chavous made a diving interception off a deflection to seal the win for Arizona (2-3).
"It was tough for us to be in that position at the end of the game," Chavous said. "We were in a position where we were playing some guys deep, trying to prevent the big play and they didn't have any timeouts left."
"It was one of those things where they were bringing a lot of pressure," Green said. "I tried backpedaling to buy time but they did a good job of defending."
The Cardinals had a 24-9 lead with 9:43 remaining in the game after a 13-yard touchdown run by Thomas Jones, marking the first time since Nov. 22, 1998 at Washington that they had managed a lead of at least 15 points.
Jake Plummer threw for 228 yards and a touchdown, completing 16 of 25 passes, and Michael Pittman ran for 95 yards and a score on 26 carries as Arizona defeated an AFC opponent for just the fifth time in franchise history.
The Chiefs opened the scoring with just 39 seconds remaining in the opening quarter when Todd Peterson booted a 49-yard field goal.
Rookie Bill Gramatica answered with a 30-yard field goal 1:52 into the second quarter, tying the game 3-3.
Peterson added a pair of field goals in the second, a 29-yarder with 6:19 left and one from 33 yards as time expired.
After the Cardinals received the opening kickoff in the second half, Pittman capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive with a 24-yard run. Three plays earlier, the Chiefs appeared to have forced Arizona to punt, but defensive end Eric Hicks was penalized for roughing Plummer at the Arizona 46.
"He took me down," Plummer said. "Big play for us, bad for them."
Arizona added to its lead when Plummer hit David Boston from 23 yards out, capping a 16-play drive which the Cardinals drove 95 yards and converted on all three of their third-down plays.
"We had a couple of third and longs (on that drive)," Plummer said. "It was a big drive, we kept at it."
The Chiefs drove to the their own 42 on the next series, but Green's intended pass to tight end Tony Gonzalez was intercepted by safety Kwamie Lassiter at the Arizona 38 and returned to the Kansas City 40. Three plays later, Jones took a handoff from Plummer and ran to the left side into the end zone.
Kansas City capped the scoring with 3:57 left when Derrick Alexander caught a 34-yard pass in the end zone after Priest Holmes broke off a 41-yard run.