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Holmes gains 122 yards, scores three TDs

9/15/2003

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- The stumbling, bumbling Kansas City
Chiefs could do nothing right.

Then Dante Hall uncorked a 100-yard kickoff return -- which an
official mistakenly tried to nullify -- and the Chiefs could hardly
do wrong, rolling to a 41-20 victory Sunday over Pittsburgh.

Question on the Steelers: Will this defense be able to stop any offense with explosive tendencies?

It's easy to read a lot into this game, but two things must be kept in mind. One, it's always difficult to play in Kansas City. Two, the defense only gave up 26 points to the Chiefs' offense. The additional 15 points were scored by special teams' mistakes and a returned interception for a touchdown.

Question on the Chiefs: What's your take on the defense after two weeks?

The Chiefs' defense looks very good, and if they can continue to play well and get a top-10 ranking for the season, this could be a dominating team.

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

Priest Holmes, showing again that offseason surgery did nothing
to slow the NFL's 2002 Offensive Player of the Year, rushed for 122
yards and three touchdowns as the Chiefs (2-0) scored on offense,
defense and special teams.

"Dante's return was the biggest play of the game for us," said
guard Brian Waters. "Easily. Our offense wasn't doing anything.
The defense was doing their best. But, man, when that play happened
it just turned the whole game around."

Hall's return, the longest for the Chiefs in almost 36 years,
came immediately after the Steelers (1-1) had taken a 10-0
first-quarter lead.

Hall fielded Jeff Reed's kickoff at the goal line, cut left and
sped virtually untouched up the sideline. Reed, the last Steeler
between him and the end zone, flicked out his foot in an obvious
attempt to trip Hall, who stumbled, regained his balance and kept
going to score.

A yellow flag flew, and referee Larry Nemmers brought a groan
from the crowd when he announced the touchdown was nullified by a
tripping penalty against Kansas City.

But as the Chiefs screamed in disbelief, Nemmers huddled with
other officials and reversed himself, giving Hall his fourth
touchdown return in less than two years.

"I wasn't worried, because I knew the guy tried to trip me and
they would get together and get it right," said Hall, who had a
45-yard punt return in the fourth quarter that led to Holmes'
4-yard TD run and a 34-20 lead.

"The blocking was terrific. We challenged those guys to step up
and did they ever."

Holmes capped the scoring with a 31-yard TD run in the fourth
quarter when he put a beauty of a move on defensive back Mike Logan
about the 5.

The Chiefs' revamped defense recovered a fumble and intercepted
three passes from Tommy Maddox, who'd been nearly flawless the week
before against Baltimore.

That's not the way things started. The first six times the
Chiefs touched the ball, they had two penalties, 4 yards rushing,
one incompletion and allowed a Pittsburgh touchdown on Chad Scott's
26-yard interception return against Trent Green.

"Everything that we'd done offensively and defensively to that
point, that one play took it out," said Pittsburgh coach Bill
Cowher. "It was one of the biggest plays of the game, because it
got them right back in it."

A few minutes after Scott's TD, Maddox hit Hines Ward for a
50-yard gain to the Kansas City 7 that set up Reed's 20-yard field
goal.

After Hall's return, the Steelers went up 17-7 when Maddox,
following James Farrior's interception, connected with Plaxico
Burress on a 33-yard TD strike.

Then, it was all Kansas City.

"We came back from some real adversity against a real good
football team," said Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil. "No one's going
to put us on top, but I think we took a giant step today."

Jerome Woods, who returned an interception 46 yards for a
second-quarter touchdown, recovered a Pittsburgh fumble in the
fourth period. Holmes quickly converted it into his third TD and a
41-20 lead.

The Chiefs had scored three touchdowns in 10 minutes on Holmes'
3-yard run, Green's 3-yard pass to Jason Dunn, and Woods' 46-yard
interception return.

Dexter McCleon knocked the ball loose just as it hit Antwaan
Randle El and Woods caught it and had an unobstructed path to his
first career TD.

"It just tipped off my hands," said Randle El. "If I get the
catch right there, that return doesn't happen."

Reed's 51-yard field goal as time expired in the half brought
the Steelers to 27-20.

Notes: Kansas City returned an interception and a kickoff for
touchdowns for the first time since a 31-17 win over Denver on
Thanksgiving Day 1969. ... Scott has the last two interception
returns for TDs against the Chiefs. He returned one 61 yards for a
score in Pittsburgh's 20-17 win Oct. 14, 2001. ... Hall's fourth
special teams touchdown tied him with J.T. Smith for second on the
Chiefs' career list. ... There has been at least one interception
run back for a score in the last three Steelers-Chiefs games. ...
In 17 career starts, Maddox is 1-7 when throwing more interceptions
than touchdowns.