Archive for Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Woeful, winless Chiefs have tough road ahead

September 28, 2004


— The Kansas City Chiefs are 0-3, and their next four opponents, beginning with Monday's match at the 2-1 Baltimore Ravens, are a combined 10-2.

Unless the Chiefs get back on track immediately, they could be looking at their worst season since Carl Peterson arrived in 1989 and turned a loser into a winner. So far since Peterson became president and general manager, the worst year was 6-10 in Dick Vermeil's first season in 2001.

"It would be fun to turn around our season on a Monday night because all the experts have probably already written us off," Vermeil said Monday. "Which is fine. It's understandable. But I think it would be a mistake."

The Chiefs, getting a 97-yard kickoff return from Dante Hall, were 17-10 winners at Baltimore a year ago en route to a 9-0 start to what turned into a 13-3 season. So far this year, Hall has been kept out of the end zone, and the Chiefs' Super Bowl aspirations are almost certain to evaporate if they falter a fourth straight week and go 0-4.

"We know how to go there and play," Vermeil said. "In some ways we're better than we were last year when we go there, and in some ways we're not as good. But we know how to go there and play."

After Sunday's 24-21 loss at home to Houston, Kansas City is 0-3 for the first time since the 1980 squad started 0-4. Adding to the disappointment was the fact the Chiefs beat the visitors in just about everything but the final score.

The offense had its best game of the season, piling up 364 total yards. Quarterback Trent Green threw his first three touchdown passes of the year.

Priest Holmes, unable to walk Monday, kicked off his ankle brace and rushed for an inspiring 134 yards, becoming Kansas City's career rushing leader.

The maligned defense stuffed Houston's offense time after time, holding Domanick Davis to 12 yards on 10 carries and letting the Texans have only 296 net yards while sacking David Carr three times.

Tight end Tony Gonzalez had eight catches for 106 yards. Hall broke some nice returns and set up good field position. Time of possession was dominated by the Chiefs, 35:07 to 24:43.

Here are the Chiefs' next four opponents, with records after Sunday:at Baltimore (Monday) 2-1at Jacksonville (Oct. 17) 3-0Atlanta (Oct. 24) 3-0Indianapolis (Oct. 31) 2-1

They had a big crowd and were at Arrowhead Stadium, where they were unbeaten in the regular season last year.

Yet, Kansas City still lost.

Nine penalties in the first half did not help. And Marcus Coleman's 102-yard touchdown return of an interception was an absolute killer, a 15-point swing after the Texans made the two-point conversion and tied it 14-all.

"We had such high expectations coming in, and we still do," said Green. "We're never going to give up. We have 13 games to go. Nobody's going to quit in here."

Vermeil admitted to a couple of coaching mistakes on his part. Once, he elected to run on fourth down instead of going for a short field goal. Then, near the end of the first half when Houston was driving, he called a timeout after the Texans converted on fourth down, giving them a few precious extra seconds to move in for a field goal.

"Every once in a while I think dementia is setting in early," Vermeil said. "But believe me, the one thing I wouldn't do is walk out on these guys because I know they wouldn't walk out on me."

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