<
>

Chiefs wait for second-round home game

12/28/2003

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- People have stopped questioning Priest
Holmes' future in the NFL and begun talking about his place in
league history.

Kansas City's muscular running back scored twice Sunday,
knocking Emmitt Smith and Marshall Faulk out of the record book and
leading Kansas City to a 31-3 victory over the Chicago Bears.

"It's an honor just to be blocking for the guy," said left
guard Brian Waters. "Twenty years from now I'll be able to tell my
kids, `Daddy was out there."

Offseason hip surgery had led many questions about Holmes'
ability to regain the effectiveness which had enabled him to lead
the NFL in yards from scrimmage two years in a row.

But he strutted into the end zone on a 1-yard run in the second
quarter to break Smith's season record of 25 touchdowns rushing.
And then he vaulted over the goal line in the third period for his
27th TD, breaking the overall touchdown record Faulk set in 2000.

"I feel joy, excitement," said Holmes

The Chiefs (13-3) were already locked into the No. 2 seed and
guaranteed a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.

The Bears finished 7-9 amid speculation about the job security
of coach Dick Jauron, who is 35-46 in five seasons.

"We'll find that out pretty quickly, I would think," Jauron
said when asked about his status.

"I've loved being here. It's a great franchise. It is the
charter franchise. It's a great city to coach in, and I guess most
importantly, a terrific group of guys."

As they've done all year, the Chiefs had little trouble mounting
an effective defense at home, where they've won a team-record 13
straight despite a defense that's sunk to near the bottom of the
league.

"Any time you hold a team 2-for-15 on third downs and shut
everything down the way we did, that's a huge momentum-builder, a
huge confidence-builder," said linebacker Scott Fujita.

The Chiefs went into the game hoping to get the records for
Holmes while regaining their shattered confidence headed into the
postseason.

"This is great for confidence," said Fujita. "Now people will
look at us and say, `Well, they can play defense.' But we knew we
could."

Greg Wesley's interception of Kordell Stewart's pass seemed to
snap the Chiefs out of a lethargy in the third quarter, and Holmes
capped the ensuing 28-yard drive with a 2-yard TD for a 21-3 lead
with 58 seconds left in the period.

Stewart, who entered the game in the second quarter when rookie
quarterback Rex Grossman injured his hand, was 5-for-15 for 86
yards and two interceptions.

The Chiefs made it 24-3 on Morten Andersen's 38-yard field goal
after the Bears had penalties for pass interference and for arguing
the call.

A defensive holding penalty helped the Chiefs sustain a 67-yard
drive in the fourth quarter capped by rookie Larry Johnson's 5-yard
run.

By midway through the fourth quarter, the Chiefs had benched
Holmes and quarterback Trent Green, whose 7-yard TD pass to Eddie
Kennison put the Chiefs on top 14-0.

The defense, which had fallen to 30th overall, gave up only a
48-yard field goal by Paul Edinger.

"We wanted badly to finish with a strong performance," said
Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil. "So we send a message to anybody who
comes in here that it's going to be tough on them."

Certain to fuel Jauron's critics were two botched scoring
opportunities. At the end of the first half, they had a third down
on the Chiefs 8 with 12 seconds left and no timeouts.

But instead of throwing into the end zone, Stewart tossed a
flare pass to Bobby Wade, who was tackled in bounds.

Another embarrassing gaffe came in the fourth quarter when Chris
Chandler hit David Terrell over the middle for a long gainer.

There was no defender near him, but Terrell inexplicably cut
right and headed straight for safety Shaunhard Harts, who tackled
him on the 17.

"The coaches call the plays. We've got to execute them," said
linebacker Warrick Holdman. "You can't put everything on the
coaches."

Game notes
Holmes' second touchdown gave him the Chiefs' career
record. He has 61 with Kansas City, one more than former WR Otis
Taylor. ... Kansas City's offensive line -- LT Willie Roaf, LG Brian
Waters, C Casey Wiegmann, RG Will Shields and RT John Tait --
started its 32nd straight game as a unit. That's the longest streak
since 1971-73, when the Chargers' line started 40 straight games
together. ... Bears CB Jerry Azumah took a touchdown away from
Kansas City with an end-zone interception in the second quarter.