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Holmes' two early TDs set pace

9/8/2003

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Priest Holmes ended any doubts about his
recovery from an injured hip. The Kansas City Chiefs' running back
is just fine, thank you.

Showing no ill effects from offseason hip surgery, Holmes rushed
for two touchdowns and had 183 yards in total offense Sunday to
lead the Chiefs past the Chargers 27-14.

"Priest got us," San Diego linebacker Ben Leber said. "We did
a poor job of tackling him. But he had a lot to do with that."

Holmes had TD runs of 5 and 24 yards and 159 total yards in the
first half alone as the Chiefs built a 24-0 lead against their AFC
West rivals.

"Nothing Priest does surprises me," Chiefs guard Brian Waters
said. "I heard the rumors last winter like everybody else that
Priest might be done for. But when I talked to the man himself and
he told me he was going to be OK, I believed him. Now I bet
everybody else will believe him, too."

Holmes, who has led the NFL in yards from scrimmage each of the
past two years, seemed confident from the beginning, showing his
full repertoire of moves. He was the offensive player of the year
for 2002 despite missing the final two games because of the hip
injury.

Holmes refused to speak with reporters, but everybody else was
talking about him.

"If there's any questions about Priest Holmes' hip, then I
think that has been dispelled," San Diego coach Marty
Schottenheimer said.

In another encouraging sign for the Chiefs, newcomer Vonnie
Holliday sacked Drew Brees three times in the first half, supplying
the outside pass rush Kansas City so sorely lacked while finishing
last in total defense in 2002.

"Their front four put a lot of pressure and made me move around
a lot and throw on the run," Brees said.

Holmes, who agreed to a lucrative four-year contract extension
on Wednesday, took a swing pass from Trent Green on the Chiefs'
first drive of the second quarter and sped 31 yards to the 20.

Green, picking on the Chargers' revamped and inexperienced
secondary, found Johnnie Morton all by himself in the end zone on
the next play for a 21-0 lead. Green finished 21-of-32 for 282
yards and one TD.

The Chargers' defense often looked as if it missed 12-time Pro
Bowl linebacker Junior Seau, who was traded to Miami for a
conditional draft pick.

Question on the Chargers: How effective will Boston be in this offense?
Because of Boston's size and speed, he's capable of turning any cornerback into mincemeat. But to accomplish that he must be on the field and he wasn't out there enough today.

Question on the Chiefs: With a healthy Holmes, do the Chiefs have the most explosive offense?
This isn't the most explosive offense, but it's right up there. Priest Holmes makes this offense and Trent Green looks so good that he should be a perennial MVP contender.

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

The Chiefs went 68 yards on six plays in their opening
possession, capped by Holmes' 24-yard scoring run around left end.

In a 59-yard touchdown drive a few minutes later, Holmes went 14
yards on second-and-10, juking linebacker Zeke Moreno. On first and
goal from the 5, Holmes took a wide pitch and outran Moreno to the
corner of the end zone.

Holmes carried 18 times for 85 yards and caught seven passes for
98 yards.

The Chiefs' rebuilt defense, with five new starters, was
dominant in the first three quarters. LaDainian Tomlinson, who had
131 yards rushing in Kansas City last year, had only 34 yards on 13
carries. On a key fourth-and-1 deep in Chiefs territory in the
second half, he was thrown back by Eric Hicks and Greg Wesley.

Wide receiver David Boston, the Chargers' biggest offseason
acquisition, had only two catches for 20 yards.

"As soon as I got here, I could tell there were a lot of good
defensive players," said Holliday, signed as a free agent from
Green Bay. "I suppose a lot of people were probably surprised by
how well this defense played today."

Brees finally got the offense moving midway through the third
quarter, hitting Josh Norman with a 21-yard TD pass to make it
24-7. With about 4{ minutes left in the game, Eric Parker made a
great leaping catch of Brees' 20-yard toss into the end zone.

But the Chargers' momentum was halted with 1:56 left when
Shaunard Harts intercepted Brees' pass on the San Diego 39.

Morten Andersen, 43, had a 42-yard field goal near the end of
the half and a 46-yarder to put the Chiefs on top 27-7 toward the
end of the third.

  • Notes: Morton's 10-yard catch from Green in the third quarter was
    his 500th career reception. ... Chargers CB Tay Cody hurt his left
    hamstring early in the fourth quarter and did not return. He is
    listed as day-to-day. ... The 13-point spread was more than twice
    the combined margins of victory in the last three previous games.
    Those games were decided by a total of six points -- wins of 20-17
    and 24-22 by the Chiefs at Arrowhead, and San Diego's 35-34 home
    victory last year.

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