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Holmes and (surprise!) defense spark Chiefs

10/27/2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Kansas City's sad-sack defense turned in
an atypical performance, bringing the Chiefs a rare win over the
Raiders.

Question on the Raiders: What happened to the offense that was putting up 40 points per game?
It's easy to pass the ball when the weather is good. To be a dominant team, you have to run the ball and establish the run early. Injuries have wreaked havoc with the Raiders' offensive backfield and defensive backfield. And now the youth is showing. They're going to have lots of questions to answer the next few weeks, because their schedule doesn't get any easier. And without DT Sam Adams, the defensive front becomes smaller, and opponents are running right at them. Until they stop the run, they'll continue to have these problems.

Question on the Chiefs: What were some of the noticeable defensive adjustments that were made Sunday?
Defensively, the Chiefs tackled better, and that was a big key. You know the Raiders will catch and complete some passes, but the Chiefs weren't tackling well in the first four or five weeks of the season. On Sunday, they tackled well. They didn't allow the Raiders many yards after the catch, and that was pivotal in their victory.

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

Instead of giving up points in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs
helped create them. Instead of getting embarrassed by the NFL's top
offense, its lowest-ranked defense allowed only one touchdown and
led Kansas City to a 20-10 victory Sunday.

"We shut up our critics, for a while anyway,'' said defensive
tackle Derrick Ransom, who blocked Sebastian Janikowski's 44-yard
field goal attempt in the first half. "We're professionals. We
have our pride. All that stuff people were saying, you just have to
let it go in one ear and out the other.''

The defense, which had blown double-digit fourth-quarter leads
in bitter losses two weeks in a row, set up the clinching touchdown
when linebacker Mike Maslowski forced a fumble by Jerry Rice and
recovered the ball with 4:39 left.

"I just came underneath and ripped it,'' said Maslowski. "We
knew they were going to make short catches. We just couldn't let
them get away from us.''

Less than two minutes later, Trent Green hit Tony Richardson
with a 4-yard TD pass, giving the Chiefs (4-4) their first victory
over Oakland in six games.

After looking like one of the league's best teams a few weeks
ago, the Raiders (4-3) have lost three straight.

"Hats off to the defense,'' said Richardson. "All year long,
people have criticized them.''

Before Sunday, those so-called critics had ample evidence to
predict a basketball-like score between the AFC West rivals.

The Chiefs had been giving up 441 yards and 32.9 points a game,
and although the Raiders were missing starters at running back
(Tyrone Wheatley) and in the secondary (cornerbacks Phillip
Buchanon and Charles Woodson), they still were averaging almost 33
points a game.

But Oakland's only touchdown came on a 1 yard-pass from Rich Gannon to Doug Jolley in the first quarter.

Nevertheless, Gannon was 35-of-55 for 334 yards and joined Steve
Young and Kurt Warner as the only players in NFL history to pass
for more than 300 yards in six straight games.

"I thought we had a good plan,'' Gannon said. "All I can tell
you from being out there is that there were too many mistakes
offensively. You can't expect to beat a good team on the road when
you make the mistakes we did.''

Priest Holmes totaled 184 yards running and receiving for the
Chiefs, including a 3-yard TD run that made it 13-7 late in the
third.

Altogether, Holmes had 91 yards on 23 carries and caught six
passes for 93 yards.

"We studied film all week on him,'' said Oakland safety Rod Woodson. "And we kept saying, 'Find Priest Holmes. Find him. Find
him. If he's your guy, hug him.' But for three and a half quarters,
we didn't do that. That little guy was all over the place.''

Gannon hit Rice over the middle for a first down when Maslowski
forced him to fumble.

"I put both my arms around the ball,'' said Rice. "But somehow
it popped out.''

Tim Brown, who hinted that he was tired of not getting the ball
enough, caught 13 passes for 144 yards.

Less than four minutes into the quarter, Janikowski kicked a
32-yard field goal to make it 13-10. He had missed four in a row,
counting Ransom's block.

"Our defensive coaches have been criticized, ostracized, blamed
and all of those things,'' said Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil. "Today,
they did a pretty darn good job. I'm really pleased for the whole
football team.''

Morten Andersen kicked field goals of 46 and 22 yards for the
Chiefs in the first half. The Raiders scored their TD when an
unnecessary-roughness penalty on linebacker Glenn Cadrez gave them
a first down.

A 15-yard chop-block penalty on Marc Boerighter wiped out
Holmes' short TD run in the first quarter, and the Chiefs settled
for Andersen's 46-yarder. Janikowski hit a 32-yarder to make it
13-10 with 11:34 to go.

Game notes
At halftime, the Chiefs inducted retired OT John Alt into
their Ring of Fame and honored the members of the Dallas Texans'
1962 AFL championship team. Curtis McClinton, a member of that
team, sang the national anthem. ... Raiders DT Sam Adams, who
continues to struggle with chronic knee problems, was a game-day
scratch. He will undergo an MRI on Monday. ... Ransom had Kansas
City's first blocked field goal since Tom Barndt blocked one
against Pittsburgh on Dec. 18, 1999. ...Buchanon's roster spot was
taken by CB Brandon Jennings.