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Archive for Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Chiefs’ hapless defense ruins Holmes’ exquisite performance

November 26, 2002

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— A day after Priest Holmes played one of the greatest games in team history, people were still trying to console him.

"I hurt for Priest Holmes," Kansas City coach Dick Vermeil said Monday, a grim look on his face.

Holmes was in no mood to talk about his extraordinary day in Seattle, where he had 307 yards of total offense - only to see his defense collapse and waste it all in a 39-32 loss.

The defending NFL rushing champion, who often tries to sidestep the spotlight in both good times and bad, politely declined to speak with a reporter as he left Arrowhead Stadium on Monday.

Vermeil said he'd had a heart-to-heart talk with his star running back, who would have traded all his yardage "for a 7-0 victory."

"He's a special human being. I felt very bad for him," Vermeil said.

The Chiefs (5-6) dropped to the edge of elimination in the playoff picture. But Holmes vaulted back ahead of San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson in the NFL rushing race - 1,209 yards to 1,098 - with a game that came within a whisker of erasing three team records.

His 197 yards rushing were 3 short of Barry Word's record set in 1990. His 307 rushing and receiving yards were 2 short of Stephone Paige's club standard set in 1985.

His three touchdowns, including one on a 64-yard screen pass, gave him 20 for the year and toppled the mark of 19 set by Abner Haynes in 1962, when the franchise still played in Dallas.

"Every time he does something, it's better than it's ever been done in the history of this franchise," Vermeil said.

His teammates obviously were disappointed not only with the loss, but the wasting of such a wonderful effort.

"You feel like you want to reward a guy like that with a victory," said fullback Tony Richardson.

Holmes, who won the NFL rushing title last year with 1,555 yards, said after the game he was not thinking of personal goals.

"Individual (accomplishments) count at the end of the year. Right now, it's a team game," he said.

Many Chiefs fans, however, were buzzing not about a play Holmes made but a play he was not even asked to make.

In the final minute of the first half when they led 17-14 and had a first and goal from the Seattle 1, the Chiefs

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