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Chavous' end-zone interception seals it

10/21/2001

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Jake Plummer built his reputation on
last-minute comebacks. This time, he watched helplessly from the
sidelines as Trent Green tried to perform a magical finish for the
Kansas City Chiefs.

Green fell 2 yards short.

Corey Chavous intercepted Green's pass in the end zone with one
second to play after the Chiefs had driven 97 yards from their own
1, and the Arizona Cardinals held on for a 24-16 victory Sunday.

"We've done that a few times," Plummer said. "I know what
it's like for Trent over there. He was just throwing it up and his
guys were making plays, but we stopped them and we got a win."

Michael Pittman rushed for 95 yards in 26 carries and caught
four passes for 42 yards. His 24-yard touchdown run put Arizona up
for good 10-9 with 9:17 left in the third quarter.

Thomas Jones ran 13 yards for the other Arizona touchdown as the
Cardinals scored on their first three possessions of the second
half to take a 24-9 lead, the first time they had been ahead by as
many as 15 points in 42 games.

Is there anything Dick Vermeil can do to turn this season around?
What Vermeil has to do is try to build on the positives and look toward the
future. The Chiefs don't have any chance this year -- so Vermeil has to
develop players and evaluate what the team's needs are and who fits into his
scheme.

The Chiefs have been hurt by injuries to their key receivers, Sylvester
Morris and Derrick Alexander. If you don't have receivers in the offense
Vermeil wants to run, you don't have anything. That's where the Chiefs have
been struggling.

This has put more pressure on QB Trent Green, and it shows in his
interceptions.

ESPN.com NFL analyst Vinny Cerrato has served as director of player
personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.


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Plummer completed 16 of 25 passes for 228 yards, including a
23-yard touchdown pass to David Boston. For the second game in a
row, he did not throw an interception. Plummer also scrambled three
times for 20 yards.

Only 35,916 watched the game in 73,000-seat Sun Devil Stadium.

"I don't know what the ticket count was, but they got their
money's worth," Arizona coach Dave McGinnis said. "This football
team is not in any position to apologize for wins. We took control
of the football game, and then gave control back to them, then we
came back and finally took it."

Green completed 21 of 43 passes for 352 yards and a touchdown,
but was intercepted twice. Priest Holmes carried 13 times for 85
yards.

"It's a frustrating thing," Green said. "There were times I
wasn't on, there were times there were drops, and there were times
we just couldn't get things done."

Kansas City lost its third straight and fell to 1-5 under
first-year coach Dick Vermeil, its worst start since opening 1-9 in
1987.

"When you're 1-5, you're not very good," Vermeil said. "I
think we're better than that, but it doesn't matter what I think.
We had a chance to play a team today that wasn't a playoff team
last year and we didn't beat them. They beat us, and it was no
fluke win."

Arizona (2-3) has won two of three.

"This football team is going to grow up this season, and today
was a big time of grow-up," coach Dave McGinnis said.

The Chiefs took over on their 1 after Arizona's punt with 1:06
to play, and Green completed passes of 24 yards to Tony Gonzalez,
43 to Derrick Alexander and 21 to Marvin Minnis. Another 9-yard
pass to Minnis put the ball on the 2, and Green spiked it to stop
the clock with seven seconds left.

On fourth-and-1, Green threw deep into the end zone trying to
hit big tight end Mikhael Ricks, but cornerback Adrian Wilson
deflected the ball into the hands of Chavous to preserve Arizona's
fifth victory in 26 games against AFC foes since 1995.

"I've got to credit Adrian on that," Chavous said. "He jumped
the route, and I just reacted to where the ball went after that."

Arizona's young defense held the Chiefs without a touchdown
until Holmes rambled 41 yards, then Green threw 34 yards to
Alexander to cut the lead to 24-16 with 3:57 remaining.

Kansas City got the ball at the Arizona 45 with 3:13 remaining
after holding the Cardinals, but Holmes and Minnis each dropped
passes, and Green threw two more incompletions.

Arizona had to punt again and MarTay Jenkins knocked the ball
out of bounds at the Chiefs 1. The Cardinals looked in great shape,
then Green mounted a drive that almost tied it, had Kansas City
scored and made the two-point conversion.

"We've come into a profile where we make a few plays at the end
and make it interesting," Vermeil said, "where if we could make
those plays earlier, it wouldn't be nearly as trying and we'd have
a victory."

The Chiefs were penalized 10 times for 107 yards.

Aided mightily by two Kansas City penalties, the Cardinals took
the second-half kickoff and went 80 yards in 10 plays. Pittman went
over right guard 24 yards for the first touchdown to give Arizona a
10-9 lead with 9:17 left in the third quarter.

The Chiefs appeared to have stopped the Cardinals when Plummer
threw the ball away on third-and-14 from the Arizona 46, but Eric
Hicks was called for roughing the passer on the play. The Cardinals
also got a first down on a defensive holding call on the drive.

The Cardinals went 95 yards in 16 plays for their second
touchdown drive, which consumed 8:51. Plummer hit Boston on a slant
play for the score. Boston, who had seven catches for 131 yards,
had dropped the pass on the same play in last week's 20-13 loss at
Chicago.

Kansas City led 9-3 after an ugly first half that featured seven
penalties for 82 yards against the Chiefs and two turnovers by
Arizona, both caused by hits from Eric Warfield.

Todd Peterson kicked field goals of 49, 29 and 33 yards in the
first half.

Game notes
Kwami Lassiter's interception, which led to Arizona's third
touchdown, was his third pick of the season. ... The Chiefs ran
three offensive plays in the third quarter. ... Boston, whose
hotdogging after a touchdown was used in an NFL video on how not to
behave, kept up his new image by calmly tossing the ball to the
referee after his score.