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Dante does it again

10/6/2003

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- He cut left, then right, then
stutter-stepped and actually ran backward toward the end zone.

Surrounded by Denver tacklers and just a couple of yards from
the goal line, Dante Hall cut back left, looped around to the
outside and darted 93 yards into the end zone -- and the record
book.

Question on the Broncos: Despite today's loss, is Plummer indeed the right fit?
He's definitely the right fit for this team. He offers them creativity and the possibility for broken plays to still net a positive gain. He's also done a good job of fostering the on-field relationship with his young receiver Ashley Lelie. That relationship is paying dividends as it gives the Broncos another receiving threat.

Question on the Chiefs: Are the Chiefs the team to beat in the AFC?
They are definitely the best team in the AFC. They can beat teams with a different player each week. If it isn't RB Priest Holmes, it's TE Tony Gonzalez, and if isn't Gonzalez, it's returner Dante Hall. That's the mark of a great football player.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

His NFL record fourth touchdown return in four games came with
8:20 left and gave Kansas City a 24-23 victory over Denver and the
Chiefs' first 5-0 start.

But to the other Chiefs players, the game between previously
unbeaten AFC West rivals was almost secondary. They all seemed to
want to talk about their remarkable teammate.

"He's a human highlight reel," Chiefs defensive end Eric Hicks
said. "He's like Michael Jordan. It's ridiculous. The play he
made, really nobody was blocked on the initial part of the play. My
God, I've never seen anything like that in my life."

Hall began his streak with a 100-yard kickoff return against
Pittsburgh, then had a 73-yard punt return against Houston and
followed with a 97-yard kickoff return for a score against
Baltimore. Until then, nobody in NFL history had ever had touchdown
returns in more than two consecutive games.

Now with 11 regular-season games left, Hall has already tied the
NFL's single-season record for touchdown returns.

"I was beside myself I was so excited for him," head coach
Dick Vermeil said. "I said to myself, `Oh, Dante, don't go
backwards."

The Broncos (4-1) had never trailed when Micah Knorr punted to
Hall with a little more than 8 minutes left.

When he started running backward, he feared he might be about to
get tackled for a safety and be guilty of a colossal error.

"I thought, `Oh, I've got to get out of this jam," Hall said
with a laugh.

But the Chiefs didn't have a return set up. By the time he
finally got outside, there were plenty of blockers to clear the
way.

"The first part of that return was not smart at all," Hall
said. "I caught it maybe on the 8, then I retreated back to the 5,
then the 2. I got dumber and dumber and dumber."

Dating to last season, Hall has seven touchdown returns in 10
games.

"He's the best in football," said Denver wide receiver Chris
Cole, a former teammate of Hall's at Texas A&M. "Probably one of
the best ever. One guy's not going to tackle him. You have to put
11 hats on him. You can't have a let down."

The Broncos might have had an insurmountable lead had they
scored a touchdown after getting a first-and-goal from the 4 late
in the third. But three runs netted only 2 yards and Jason Elam
kicked his third field goal, a 21-yarder, for a 23-17 lead.

On the third play of the third quarter, Clinton Portis broke
through a big hole on the right side and ran 65 yards for Denver's
longest run in almost three years, putting the Broncos on top
20-10.

Then Trent Green hit Eddie Kennison for 12 yards to launch a
5-play, 77-yard drive that pulled Kansas City to 20-17. After
Priest Holmes picked up 22 yards on a run and 6 on a shovel pass,
Johnnie Morton beat Deltha O'Neal in the end zone for a 28-yard
touchdown catch.

The Broncos took a 7-0 lead on their second possession on Jake
Plummer's 6-yard pass to Dwayne Carswell after wide receiver Rod
Smith hooked up with Portis on a 72-yard gain.

Gary Stills recovered a muffed punt on the Denver 25. And on
third down from the 20, Green threw a jump ball into the end zone
and 6-foot-4 Tony Gonzalez easily outleaped 5-11 Nick Ferguson for
the touchdown.

Morten Andersen kicked a 23-yard field goal, drawing Kansas City
even at 10 in the second quarter after Elam had kicked a 48-yarder
for Denver.

O'Neal appeared to have a 64-yard punt return for a touchdown.
But the play was called back by a holding call on Donnie Spragan.
Then on the final play of the half, Elam made it 13-10 with a
29-yarder.

Hall said he's feeling more confident than ever.

"It's kind of bringing me back to my high school days when I
was so confident and so natural that I was able to do things that I
did today," Hall said.

Game notes
Elam's 48-yard field goal moved him past former Chiefs
kicker Pete Stoyanovich for 20th place on the NFL's career scoring
list. ... Portis' 65-yard touchdown run was the longest of his
career and the longest run by a Bronco since Mike Anderson's
80-yard touchdown run against Seattle in 2000. ... Gonzalez has
caught a pass in 41 consecutive games. He tied Otis Taylor for
second on the Chiefs career receptions list with 410.