KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – If success this season hinges on backup quarterbacks, the Arizona Cardinals appear to be in much better shape than the Kansas City Chiefs.

Josh McCown threw two touchdown passes in the second half in relief of Kurt Warner to rally the Cardinals to a 24-17 victory over the winless Chiefs.

Damon Huard, who replaced Trent Green for Kansas City, was 1-for-12 for 11 yards and two interceptions. Huard was elevated to second team this week while regular backup Todd Collins nursed a hand injury.

In the battle of first-teamers, the Chiefs (0-2) were winners. Green hit Samie Parker with an 8-yard pass in the first quarter and engineered a 42-yard drive that resulted in Lawrence Tynes’ 31-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead that held up until the Cardinals scored 10 points within less than a minute of the third quarter.

Neil Rackers, after missing from 37 yards, hit a 27-yard field goal. Then Eric Green grabbed the first interception off Huard and sped 27 yards for a touchdown.

Warner, the former regular-season and Super Bowl MVP with the St. Louis Rams, had a second straight good outing. He hit 12 of 23 passes for 99 yards. Green was 6-of-10 for 59 yards.

It was a nightmarish game for David Macklin, who started all 16 games at cornerback for the Cardinals last year and had four interceptions. The six-year veteran was flagged three times for pass interference while trying to defend Parker. The Chiefs picked up 33 yards on the first penalty against Macklin, and three plays later Green hit Parker for the TD.

Macklin was twice guilty of pass interference a few minutes later on a 6-play, 42-yard drive that resulted in the 31-yarder by Lawrence Tynes.

“I told Eddie (Kennison) in the huddle I’m not intentionally going the other way on purpose, right now Macklin’s frustrated, and when you’ve got a frustrated corner you have to keep attacking him,” Green said. “That’s part of the game, and we got three calls and it set scoring opportunities up.”

In a play that counted for nothing but held great significance for both teams, Anquan Boldin got loose down the sideline for a 49-yard touchdown pass from Warner in the first quarter.

A holding penalty on Leonard Davis brought the play back. But it was a good sign for the Cardinals that Boldin is OK after breaking his nose during a routine drill on Aug. 4 and missing the first preseason game.

And it was a chilling reminder of how vulnerable Dexter McCleon can be. The veteran cornerback, who lost his job for poor play two years ago, is slated to replace Eric Warfield while Warfield sits out the first four games for violating the NFL’s drug policy.

It was also a bad night for the kickers. Tynes, who missed once last week against Minnesota, was short on a 38-yard attempt and wide on one from 46 yards.

After Rackers missed from 37 yards, Matt Fordyce missed from 30.

AP-ES-08-21-05 0002EDT


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