Archive for Saturday, October 27, 2001

Chiefs off to worst start at home in 25 years

October 27, 2001


— Clad in red from head to toe, wearing a Chiefs jersey, a Chiefs cap and a look of pure disgust, the man walked toward his car.

"Bring back Gunther Cunningham," he said. "It couldn't be worse than this."

Plenty of other fans who had just watched Indianapolis beat Kansas City 35-28 heard him. But nobody argued.

Cunningham, who became an object of public ridicule before he was fired last January, was 9-7 in his first year as the Chiefs head coach and 7-9 in his second.

That's .500. In order for the 2001 Chiefs of Dick Vermeil to reach even that modest goal, they'll have to go 7-2 the rest of the way.

The Chiefs (1-6) have lost four in a row and are 0-4 at home for the first time in a quarter of a century.

Trent Green, who was compared with Dan Fouts and Joe Montana when the Chiefs gave St. Louis a first-round draft pick for him last April, was 22-of-43 for 324 yards against the slow-starting Colts.

But he was also intercepted three times, including an end zone pick late in the fourth quarter after the Chiefs had fought their way back to within seven points. Infuriating fans even more, it was the second straight game the Chiefs lost by a touchdown when Green was intercepted in the end zone in the final seconds.

In seven games, Green has 12 interceptions. But it's not all his fault. He's been hobbled by a patched-up offensive line and a corps of receivers who lack the experience and ability needed in Vermeil's complicated offense.

"You see a lot of signs that this is going to be a good offense and it gets frustrating when you get so close every week," said Green. "For whatever reason, we're falling short every week and it gets that much more frustrating."

Vermeil, whose Philadelphia team went to the Super Bowl and whose St. Louis team won it, has started slowly for the third time in a distinguished career. But he admits he had no inkling things would be this bad in his third incarnation as an NFL head coach.

"Obviously, we're very disappointed," Vermeil said.

Despite their team's dismal start and the fact the game was originally scheduled for Sunday, many fans remain faithful. About 70,000 packed Arrowhead Stadium and witnessed the latest debacle.

"We've got to get it turned around," said defensive end Eric Hicks. "We're letting the fans down. We're letting the whole city down. They've loved their Chiefs football here for a while."

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