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View Full Version : KC Star: Warfield's big play doesn't turn the tide (Carter)


FloridaChief
09-20-2004, 02:41 AM
Sloppy-ass tk13 missed one. No problem, tk--happy to pick up your slack...


Warfield's big play doesn't turn the tide

By IVAN CARTER

In jumping to a 9-0 start last season, the Chiefs always came up with a game-changing play exactly when they needed it. Against Pittsburgh, it was a Jerome Woods interception return for a touchdown. Against Baltimore and Denver, Dante Hall dazzled with big kickoff or punt returns.

Against Green Bay, Woods returned another interception for a score.

Chiefs cornerback Eric Warfield thought he had one of those plays Sunday when he read Jake Delhomme's eyes and jumped a pass intended for Ricky Proehl. Warfield returned his second interception of the day 43 yards for a touchdown, giving the Chiefs a 17-14 lead late in the third quarter.

“We had been kind of struggling along all game, so when that happened, I thought it would turn the game in our favor,” Warfield said. “That's the kind of play you hope for. I remember when we played the Steelers last year. Dante comes up with a big play. Jerome comes up with a big play. Those kinds of plays are supposed to change momentum.”

Any momentum created by Warfield lasted only as long as it took for the referees to penalize Eric Hicks and Scott Fujita for unsportsmanlike conduct. The 15-yard “celebration” penalty was enforced on the ensuing kickoff and allowed the Panthers to begin their next drive at their 44 after a 28-yard Rod Smart return.

A frustrated Dick Vermeil said he thought Warfield's return would turn the game around.

“Then we got a penalty in getting excited,” he said, “and we had to kick off 15 yards, and they got the ball near midfield. I'm not going to comment on those types of penalties.”

The entire situation created an almost surreal scene in the Chiefs' locker room after the game: Warfield stood near his locker, a towel draped over his head, and tried to put a positive spin on the Chiefs' 0-2 start. Once the whipping boy on local sports talk radio and in various Chiefs chat rooms, Warfield is playing the best football of his career and has become something of a team leader.

Thanks to off-season back surgery, Warfield, a seven-year veteran, has never felt better. And defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham has him playing more man-to-man coverage, while his predecessor, Greg Robinson, employed far more zone coverages.

Warfield's knowledge and physical ability were displayed during both interceptions Sunday. On the first, Warfield read Carolina rookie Keary Colbert's route as he came off the line and beat Colbert to the ball.

On the second pick, Warfield recognized that Proehl was running a short “option” route and was in perfect position to break on the ball and return it for the second touchdown of his career.

“We've been working hard since minicamp and two-a-days, and it's more of a struggle for me having to deal with my off-season surgery and I'm trying to bounce back,” Warfield said. “I'm glad I'm healthy, but it's disappointing to start out this way.

“We have a great team. We've got too many great players on this team to be 0-2 right now, but yet we are. We just have to bounce back.”