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23 straight road losses for Detroit

12/15/2003

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Trent Green was perfect. In their own
sad and historic way, so were the Detroit Lions.

Question on the Lions: Though Bryson had 100 yards today, do they start over at RB next year?
The Lions' personnel problems extend beyond the running back position. There's not just one area that they can point to as a weakness and build improvements around. They need to take a long look to find out exactly what they'll need to be successful. The Lions and the Cardinals are the only two teams in the league that didn't improve over the course of the year. For every other team, I can point out a couple games and find elements of their game to build on, but I can't do the same for the Lions. They've struggling across the board.

Question on the Chiefs: Is there anyway to tighten their run defense between now and the playoffs?
No. They've tried, but it looks like this is just what they do, and like the 1999 Rams, the Chiefs will have to continue to win as an offensive-minded team. From a personnel standpoint, there's just no one out there to get. Scheme-wise, they can't do much else, because they're built to stop the pass. So, they'll have to continue to put the onus on the offense to get ahead and, thus force opponents to throw the ball and play to their strength. The Chiefs' defensive is made up of opportunistic players who cause turnovers and rush the passer. They're just not a physical team. In the playoffs, there will be times when they'll need to stop someone physically -- that will ultimately hurt the Chiefs. They're a good team, but their run stopping deficiencies might keep them from getting to the Super Bowl.

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

Becoming just the second quarterback this season with a perfect
quarterback rating of 158.3, Green threw three touchdown passes in
a 45-17 victory that clinched Kansas City's first AFC West title
since 1997.

The Lions (4-10), despite their first 100-yard rushing day in
more than a year, did what they've done without fail for almost
three full seasons, losing on the road. Their 23rd straight road
loss tied the record set by the Houston Oilers in the early 1980s.

With a trip to Carolina awaiting, they're on the brink of
setting the NFL's all-time away-from-home futility record.

"It's hard, and we're one of a handful of teams that hasn't had
any luck on the road this year," said coach Steve Mariucci. "And
that happens every year. It just so happens that it's been three
years in a row here. And that's hard to deal with."

The Chiefs (12-2) set a team record with their 12th straight
home victory and got three more touchdowns rushing from Priest
Holmes. Seeming to move the ball at will, they scored on seven of
their first eight possessions, failing only when Morten Andersen
was short on a 48-yard field goal attempt at the end of the half.

"We've had days where we were good for a time, then dropped off
and then picked it back up," said Green, who was 20-for-25 for 341
yards and joined Peyton Manning as the NFL's only quarterbacks to
have a perfect rating this season.

"To be consistent those eight drives in a row, it was a pretty
special effort by the offense. That quarterback rating is
reflective of just the overall offensive effort."

Holmes' scoring runs of 14, 9 and 3 yards ran his season total
to 22, just three short of the NFL record held by Emmitt Smith. He
needs four TDs rushing or receiving in his last two games to catch
the record set by Marshall Faulk in 1999.

The 22 touchdowns, Holmes said, was a personal goal.

"So that's very personal to me to be able to translate scoring
into winning," he said. "That's what I believe I'm doing right
now. I'm really excited about what we've been able to do for the
city."

The Chiefs' scoring drives in the first half covered 264 yards
on 26 plays while going to third down only twice.

Dante Hall, trying for his NFL-record fifth touchdown kick
return, got past everybody but kicker Jason Hanson on the
second-half kickoff. His 46-yard return set up a 46-yard drive that
Holmes capped with a 3-yard run for a 35-10 lead and his
team-record 22nd TD rushing.

Green hit Hall for a 38-yard gain on Kansas City's next
possession, leading to Andersen's 35-yard field goal.

"This offense was unbelievable," Andersen said. "It was like,
well, what do we want to do to get 10 yards now?"

Shawn Bryson, on a 1-yard run, got the Lions' fifth TD rushing
of the season to make it 38-17. Then back came the Chiefs, soaring
77 yards in just six plays. Tony Gonzalez caught touchdown passes
of 9 and 27 yards and Derrick Blaylock turned a short pass into a
63-yard scoring play.

The Lions finally got their offense on track late in the third
and Hanson kicked a 29-yard field goal.

Shawn Bryson rushed for 105 yards, including a 39-yard burst in
the fourth quarter, giving the Lions their first 100-yard rusher
since James Stewart got 122 against Green Bay on Nov. 10, 2002.

Still, the Lions stopped themselves with penalties and mistakes,
including two turnovers.

"It's nothing new," Harrington said. "It's nothing different.
We do have a long way to go. It's tough to play from a situation
when you're always in a long-yardage situation."

The Lions shaved the halftime lead to 28-10 when Harrington hit
Az-Zahir Hakim on an 8-yard TD pass on fourth down.

"We've got to put a team on the airplane that is well-schooled,
well-coached and talented and capable of winning on the road,"
Mariucci said. "That's what we've got to do to snap that streak."
^Notes:@ Chiefs LB Mike Maslowski missed his fourth straight game
with a knee injury. ... Gonzalez has caught a pass in 50 straight
games. ... The paid attendance was 77,922, but Arrowhead was at
less than capacity, with fans staying home after a weekend
snowstorm. ... Lions DT Luther Elliss and LB Barrett Green suffered
concussions during the game. ... The field was brand new. The
grounds crew installed new turf following the Big 12 championship
game between Kansas State and Oklahoma last Saturday.