Nelson was again flagged for holding on a failed Jets 2-point conversion attempt, and his teammate Marcus Peters was called for unsportsmanlike conduct after throwing the referee’s flag into the stands. Peters, who mistakenly thought he was ejected, headed straight for the locker room. He returned later without his socks.
Elijah McGuire ran it in moments later to convert the 2-point play to make it 38-31.
“Probably a little frustration there,” Reid, the Chiefs’ coach, said after the game. “I’m not saying that they shouldn’t have been called. I’ve got to look at the tape on that. You’re down there and competing, and we’ve had a few of those games where we’ve had that. It’s a bit frustrating.”
McCown finished with 331 yards passing and a touchdown to Matt Forte, and ran for two scores — including the game-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 they still had to hold their breath at the end.
After Tyreek Hill’s 40-yard catch put the ball at the Jets’ 23, quarterback Alex Smith completed a 4-yard pass to Travis Kelce, whose two early touchdowns had given Kansas City a 14-0 lead. But Smith then threw incomplete on three straight passes to turn the ball over on downs.
“It’s big, good to win one,” Jets Coach Todd Bowles said. “You can breathe a sigh of relief before you move on to next week.”
The loss by the Chiefs (6-6) spoiled the return of cornerback Darrelle Revis, who made his debut after joining Kansas City 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.
“It was great to be back out there,” said Revis, who had five tackles. “I haven’t played a football game in 12 months, so I think that’s why coach made that call in the second half.”
After opening the season 5-0, Kansas City has dropped six of its last seven, but remains in the A.F.C. West playoff hunt.
“I go on to the next game,” Reid said. “I go on to what I can help to control. You look back, correct the mistakes, and pick the urgency level up and get ourselves better.”
The Jets kept their faint playoff hopes alive by finally holding on to a fourth-quarter lead. The Jets had blown fourth-quarter leads in three of their last four losses.
“To come out and win one of these finally,” Bowles said, “it’s refreshing.”
Hill had given the Chiefs a 31-30 lead with just more than nine minutes left with a 40-yard touchdown catch, his second score of the game. He also scored on a 79-yard catch in the third quarter, part of a six-catch, 185-yard performance
Smith finished with 366 yards passing and four touchdowns.