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Holmes, Gonzalez score twice each

12/1/2003

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Clinching a playoff berth is just a mere
formality now for the Kansas City Chiefs.

And no one could be happier than Tony Gonzalez, the star tight
end who's suffered through a long dry spell since the last time the
Chiefs reached the postseason.

Question on the Chiefs: Are Gonzalez and Holmes (4 TDs today) two of the hardest players to handle in the AFC?
Gonzalez and Holmes are so difficult to handle, partially because of the play of those around them. The Chiefs are stacked with players who can break big plays at any time. That makes it extremely difficult for opposing defenses to focus on just those two players.

Question on the Chargers: Are Flutie's starts an indicator that Brees might not be the long-term answer?
This is definitely a situation where the writing looks to be on the wall for Brees. It'll be interesting to see how they handle the situation during the offseason. Will this team look for another QB or will they give Brees another chance? Any way it goes, it's obvious the 41-year old Flutie isn't the long-term solution.

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

Gonzalez caught two touchdown passes, including the decisive
score, and Priest Holmes ran 31 times for 162 yards and two
touchdowns to lead the Chiefs to a 28-24 win over the San Diego
Chargers on Sunday.

"I take huge satisfaction, considering what I've been through
the last seven years here, coming in here my first year and winning
the AFC West, and then not even getting close to it since then,"
Gonzalez said.

The Chiefs (11-1), the NFL's best team, can do no worse than tie
for the AFC West title. They could have won it outright on Sunday,
but Denver won at Oakland. The Chiefs can make it official if they
win at Denver next Sunday.

"As far as I'm concerned, we're not done yet," Gonzalez said.
"We have to stay humble, stay hungry and go out there and get
ready because we've got a tough game next week out there in
Denver."

The Chiefs last made the playoffs in 1997, back when Marty
Schottenheimer was still their coach. They finished 13-3 and
clinched home-field advantage in the playoffs, only to be upset by
Denver in the divisional round.

Schottenheimer is now coach of the Chargers (2-10). This is the
first time in his 17 full seasons as an NFL head coach that his
team will finish with at least 10 losses.

"It wasn't one of our best performances, but anytime you can
get a win, especially in the situation that we're in, it does mean
a lot," said Chiefs quarterback Trent Green, who was San Diego's
third-stringer 10 years ago.

San Diego's Doug Flutie made this one interesting, until he
started turning over the ball in the final 11 minutes. Flutie
helped trim the Kansas City lead from two touchdowns to 21-17 late
in the third quarter.

But he had two turnovers in the fourth quarter. The biggest came
when he dropped a snap while in the shotgun formation, which was
recovered by Kansas City's Gary Stills at the San Diego 27 with
11:18 to play.

"It came in low and hard and caught my knee," Flutie said.
"That was a real missed opportunity."

After Holmes carried seven straight times, Green found Gonzalez
wide open for a 3-yard touchdown pass and a 28-17 lead with 6:28 to
play.

Flutie had the Chargers moving again, but was intercepted in the
end zone by safety Greg Wesley with 4:07 left.

Gonzalez was worried that Flutie might pull it out. Plus, the
Chiefs had lost four of their last five games in San Diego.

"It was a relief just because of the history of coming out
here, and we knew we were going to get their best shot," Gonzalez
said. "We know we're going to get the best shot of anyone we play
from here on out. We've got to. We've got the best record in the
NFL and teams are gunning. They want to prove something against
us."

Flutie did throw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Antonio Gates as
time expired, but as usual for the Chargers, it wasn't nearly
enough.

Green completed 17 of 30 passes for just 155 yards, with two TDs
and two interceptions, both by Quentin Jammer. Flutie was 16-of-34
for 213 yards, also with two TDs and two pickoffs. San Diego's
LaDainian Tomlinson had 106 yards and one TD on 19 carries.

"No solace in coming close," Chargers defensive end Marcellus
Wiley said. "We had opportunities to make plays. We're making
progress, we're growing, but as we grow, it's ugly."

San Diego's Steve Christie missed two field goals in the first
half. A 40-yard attempt was tipped and went wide left, and a
48-yard try was short.

Flutie's scrambling helped the Chargers pull to 21-17 in the
third quarter.

Christie connected from 21 yards. Tomlinson gained 55 yards on
the second play of the next Chargers' possession, and Flutie
finished it with a 20-yard TD pass to David Boston in the back left
corner of the end zone. Flutie made the play work by scrambling
around, which pulled cornerback Dexter McLeon off Boston.

After a slow start by the Chiefs, Holmes scored on runs of 7 and
2 yards on consecutive drives for a 14-0 lead. Tomlinson had a
6-yard touchdown run midway through the second quarter.

The Chiefs again took a two-touchdown lead when Gonzalez shook
off former K.C. linebacker Donnie Edwards to catch a 7-yard TD pass
from Green.
^Notes:@ Chargers tight end Justin Peelle sustained a mild
concussion. T Damion McIntosh, C Jason Ball and KR Leon Johnson all
sprained their left ankles. ... Chiefs LB Monty Beisel had a pulled
groin. ... The Chargers hit double digits in losses for the fifth
time in seven seasons.