|11-17-2007, 04:08 PM|
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THIS WEEK IN CHIEFS HISTORY
THIS WEEK IN CHIEFS HISTORY
Nov. 17, 2002
KANSAS CITY 17, BUFFALO 16
Chiefs' gambles pay off against Bills
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- With the steely nerve of a riverboat gambler, Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Eric Warfield took one of the bigger risks of his NFL career.
As Buffalo quarterback Drew Bledsoe prepared to let fly with the potential game-winning touchdown pass, Warfield deliberately let Peerless Price, one of the league's most dangerous receivers, get a step on him deep.
On a dead run, Price put out his hands. But at the last second, Warfield leaped high for a perfectly timed interception with 4:14 left to preserve the Chiefs' 17-16 victory over the Bills on Sunday.
"Instead of trying to make a break earlier, I let Drew think he had the lead on me. Right at the last minute, I just broke underneath. He thought he thought he had a step on me. Yet he didn't."
"Eric Warfield won the game for us," linebacker Scott Fujita said.
Chiefs quarterback Trent Green, not known for his mobility, darted 9 yards up the middle for the go-ahead touchdown with 4:45 to play.
"A lane opened up, so I took off," he said. "Then I saw those guys closing hard. So I just closed my eyes and dove as hard as I could."
After Warfield's interception, Priest Holmes gained 49 yards on six carries to help the Chiefs (5-5) run out the clock.
In describing his clinching play, Warfield said he'd stopped a similar pass toward Price earlier in the game and recognized this one immediately.
"I kind of knew his speed from covering him throughout the game," Warfield said. "I didn't figure he would run past me. That's when I gave him the step."
Bledsoe agreed Warfield made the play of the game.
"I should have brought Peerless across the field more than I did, rather than taking him straight up the field," he said. "That guy made a great play on the ball."
Mike Hollis kicked three field goals for the Bills (5-5), whose high-powered offense failed for the second game in a row to get two touchdowns.
Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil began to weep when he talked about all the criticism Warfield has taken in what's been a rough season for the fifth-year cornerback.
"I would say it's his best game, because he competed against what we all gave credit to as the league's finest skilled receiving tandem," Vermeil said.
Buffalo, which started the day tied with Miami and New England in the AFC East, took a 16-10 lead on Hollis' 27-yarder late in the third period.
Bledsoe was 24-of-36 for 225 yards and became just the fifth man in NFL history to pass for more than 3,000 yards in his first 10 games.
Holmes, who finished with 104 yards on 31 carries, gave Kansas City a 7-0 lead in the first quarter with a 4-yard run.
The Bills had first-and-goal from the 5 early in the second period, but Hollis wound up kicking a 23-yarder.
Buffalo then took the Chiefs completely with an onside kick. But again the Bills blew a great touchdown opportunity after getting a first down at the 11 and having a 9-yard pass to Eric Moulds that was first ruled a touchdown overturned on review.
The Bills then settled for Hollis' 33-yarder that made it 7-6.
A 15-yard facemask penalty on Buffalo defensive lineman Pat Williams helped set up Morten Andersen's 38-yard field goal with 6:40 left in the half as the Chiefs took a 10-6 lead.
Moulds beat backup cornerback Corey Harris on a 7-yard TD pass with 32 seconds left to give the Bills a 13-10 lead. Harris had come into the game a few minutes earlier after cornerback William Bartee went out with an ankle injury.
Hollis' third field goal capped a frustrating 71-yard drive, after the Bills failed to overcome 30 yards in penalties, including a 15-yard unnecessary-roughness call on Price for shoving Warfield after Price caught a 9-yard reception.
"If that's a personal foul, then this game has gotten real soft," said Price."
NFL FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL --- --- --- --- ----- BUFFALO 0 13 3 0 16 KANSAS CITY 7 3 0 7 17 FINAL TEAM STATISTICS BUF KAN -------- -------- FIRST DOWNS 21 22 Rushing 6 8 Passing 14 9 Penalty 1 5 3RD-DOWN EFFICIENCY 7-13 4-11 4TH-DOWN EFFICIENCY 0-0 2-2 TOTAL NET YARDS 344 320 Total plays 64 58 Average gain 5.4 5.5 NET YARDS RUSHING 133 128 Rushes 26 37 Average per rush 5.1 3.5 NET YARDS PASSING 211 192 Completed-attempted 24-36 12-20 Yards per pass 5.9 9.6 Sacked-yards lost 2-14 1-5 Had intercepted 1 0 PUNTS-AVERAGE 3-42 2-35 RETURN YARDAGE 0 32 Punts-returns 0-0 3-13 Kickoffs-returns 3-58 2-31 Interceptions-returns 0-0 1-19 PENALTIES-YARDS 13-139 5-39 FUMBLES-LOST 0-0 0-0 TIME OF POSSESSION 31:41 28:19 PLAYER STATISTICS Missed field goals: KANSAS CITY (Morten Andersen 45). BUFFALO rushing: Travis Henry 24-126, Drew Bledsoe 2-7. KANSAS CITY rushing: Priest Holmes 31-104, Trent Green 4-19, Johnnie Morton 1-4, Eddie Kennison 1-1. BUFFALO passing: Drew Bledsoe 24-36 for 225 yards, 1 INT, 1 TD. KANSAS CITY passing: Trent Green 12-20 for 197 yards, 0 INT, 0 TD. BUFFALO receiving: Josh Reed 4-44, Peerless Price 4-40, Travis Henry 4-38, Eric Moulds 4-36, David Moore 3-24, Larry Centers 3-19, Jay Riemersma 1-16, Phillip Crosby 1-8. KANSAS CITY receiving: Eddie Kennison 3-93, Johnnie Morton 3-52, Priest Holmes 3-23, Tony Gonzalez 2-17, Marc Boerigter 1-12.
Old JoPo article I saved...
Holmes is the Chiefs' quiet giant
By JOE POSNANSKI
He never said a word. Priest Holmes doesn't talk in the huddle.
All game long, he never once said, "Man, I'm tired," or "Block for me, guys," or "Give me the ball," or "I can't feel my left arm."
He never said a word. He never does.
"This is you again, Priest," Chiefs quarterback Trent Green said.
Priest just nodded. All his life, Priest Holmes has dreamed about being the guy. The main running back. He has thought over and over about what that means. You have to credit your offensive line every chance you can. They are your soul. You have to get stronger as the game goes along. You have to get up no matter how hard the defender hits you. Get up. Never let them see you hurt. Make them believe you are indestructible.
More than anything, though, you have to be there when it matters.
With 4:14 left, the Chiefs got the ball back. They led Buffalo by one. They needed to run out the clock. It mattered.
Priest Holmes ran right, skipped by a defender, pulled away from another and picked up 15 yards.
"You again, Priest," Trent Green said.
He nodded slightly. Of course he hurt. Nobody will ever know how much Priest Holmes hurts. By the time this game ended, he had carried the ball 31 times and caught three passes -- with most of that action coming in the second half -- against a Buffalo team that sent safeties flying at his ribs and cornerbacks tumbling at his legs while defensive linemen grabbed and twisted his ankles and linebackers gnawed on his face mask.
"Man, they sure wanted to stop Priest," Chiefs offensive lineman Brian Waters said in awe. "Man."
So, yeah, Priest Holmes hurt. He hurt deep. You couldn't tell from his face, though. Holmes got the ball, waited for his blockers to mash open a hole, slid behind them and picked up 12 yards.
"You again, Priest," Trent Green said.
He nodded slightly. There was nothing fancy left to do. The Chiefs had tried their fancy running. They shifted and ran guys in motion and tried all sorts of things to confuse the defense. None of that worked all that well.
"It was time to hit somebody," Chiefs left tackle John Tait would say.
Holmes got the ball, ran left, leaped over a linebacker who lurched toward his legs, sprinted past another, picked up 8 yards.
"You again, Priest," Trent Green said.
He nodded. There were no rah-rah speeches. Nobody screaming, "We got them just where we want them!" or "Come on, dig a little deeper!" That's movie stuff. What you had were 11 exhausted guys trying to get a few more yards against 11 exhausted guys. Green's ankle throbbed. Tony Richardson's body ached. Every single member of that offensive line would have given up his paycheck for 10 minutes in a whirlpool.
But this is the time when good teams win football games.
The Chiefs are trying to become a good football team.
Priest Holmes took the ball up the middle, through a nice hole, fought his way through, picked up 9 more yards.
And that's when the cheering turned up. An announcement was made: Priest Holmes had gone over 1,000 yards for the season. That made him the first Chiefs player ever to run for 1,000 yards two straight seasons. Another record. He already had broken the record for most rushing touchdowns, most consecutive games with a touchdown, fastest Chiefs player to 1,000 yards, on and on. Before it all ends he'll have a dozen more.
Teammates patted him on the helmet. Fans stood and applauded.
The blank look on Holmes' face never changed.
"You again, Priest," Green said.
And Priest Holmes nodded once more. He ran the ball again. The Chiefs did run out the clock and win the game, thanks to a nice catch by Johnnie Morton -- nice to see him back -- and a gutsy run by Green and, mostly, because of the immense will of Priest Holmes. He ran and dived and stretched for 104 yards -- 49 of those on the last drive -- and he took at least one shot for every yard.
He's had better games. He's never had a gutsier game.
"I'm fine," he said when it all ended. His body told a different story.
He limped slowly to his locker, though calling it a limp wouldn't be quite right because he sort of hobbled equally on both legs. His shoulders sagged. His arms drooped. He... reached... up... slowly... for... his... toothbrush (A lesson for you kids: Just because your body feels like a giant bruise is no reason to ignore your teeth).
He looked as if he had been hit about 478 times by men roughly the size of Chrysler LeBarons. Which, of course, he had.
"You have to be a warrior," he said. "Because it's not a matter of if you will get hit. You know you will get hit."
After he brushed his teeth, people with tape recorders and cameras asked him to talk about those last few minutes. But there were no words to describe the pain and the exhaustion and the necessary will to run hard again and again. So, Priest Holmes did what he always does. He credited his offensive linemen. He said that records, while nice, don't mean very much. He thanked the fans for cheering.
And when he was done, there was a man in white waiting for him. The man waits for him every week.
"Time to see the doctor," the man said.
And Holmes, his face still as blank as an empty window, nodded.