Priest Holmes. Dante Hall. Trent Green. Tony Gonzalez. Fans and media alike go on and on about the Kansas City Chiefs' potent offensive attack. But the fact is, the Chiefs are really a world-beating offensive line with a few shiny ornaments attached.
Priest Holmes couldn't keep a job in Baltimore. Trent Green was beaten out as a starter in St. Louis by a grocery store bagger. Eddie Kennison washed out utterly in Denver, despite being given every chance to shine.
So when the Chiefs suffer back to back injuries in the first quarter to Will Shields and John Tait on the right side of the line, it becomes very clear that Dick Vermeil is not a genius. He's just a crying on the inside kind of coach with a beat up offensive line.
With Courtney Brown single-handedly dominating the right side of the Chief's line, Vermeil opts to run Priest left. But Campo is no fool. He stacks ten guys over Willie Roaf and Brian Waters. Green audibles to a quick slant pass to Gonzo, but Gerard Warren blasts through the center so quickly that Green never gets a handle on the ball. In the ensuing rush, both the left guard and left tackle are plowed under and lost to leg injuries
And just like that, the 8-0 Kansas City Chiefs are transformed into the 2-6 Pittsburgh Steelers. With reserves manning the front, the Chiefs are forced to scramble. Gone are the five and seven step drops that fueled the long passing game. Gone are the massive gaps that allowed Priest Holmes to run up positive yardage. In their place is pain, fear and mayhem.
Priest Holmes loses 25 yards on three straight carries before leaving the game with a concussion. Trent Green struggles all day, completing just two passes (both to Tony Gonzalez) in the first half. Wide receiver Eddie Kennison becomes so frustrated by the airtight coverage that he retires from football right in the middle of an out-and-up route. The pass sails into the hands of Browns safety Earl Little for an INT—Green's ninth pick of the game.
Kennison tries to unretire before the next series, but offensive coordinator Al Saunders is having none of it. He has Kennison bound with tape and shoved into a FedEx PeoplePak™. Kennison turns up the next morning in a FedEx depot in Denver, Colorado; but local handlers are so upset over Kennison's sudden 2001 retirement from the Broncos that they relabel the package for Dien Bien Phu. It would take nearly six weeks of diplomatic wrangling to repatriate the former wide receiver.
Kennison contemplates retirement from the lonely confines of a FedEx PeoplePak™ container. Alas, angry FedEx handlers in Denver gave him even more time to mull the issue.
After scoring four times in four games early in the season, Dante Hall is suffering a scoring drought of Keyshawn Johnson proportions. Desperate to notch another score, Hall proceeds to run, duck, cut, reverse, and run some more. One return effort in the second quarter takes nearly six minutes to play itself out. Chiefs and Browns players are dropping to the turf with exhaustion. Hall himself slows up with cramps before a prone James Jackson finally grabs Hall's shoestring and slows him enough for Andre King to reach him.
Hall nets 2 yards on the return—which was twice interrupted by commercials—and spends the entire halftime receiving IVs and oxygen. Browns reserve LB Brant Boyer is so dehydrated from the effort that he receives a complete blood transfusion on the Browns sideline. Boyer would notch six tackles in the second half—three of them while clinically diagnosed as being in a coma.
By the time Brant Boyer finished covering a Dante Hall kick return, he looked—and felt—like Keith Richards.
Offensively, the Browns are finally able to find a groove, thanks to head coach Butch Davis' alert strategy of benching every starter on the offense. Nate Hybl takes snaps from Melvin Fowler, Jr. James Jackson tears through the surprised Kansas City D. CJ Jones, Frisman Jackson, and Andre King all have career days receiving as KJ, Quincy Morgan, Andre Davis, and Dennis Northcutt look on from the warm (and crowded) confines of Butch Davis' dog house.
The game is thoroughly out of hand in the fourth quarter. Even the nervous members of the undefeated 1972 Dolphins team—in KC to cheer against the undefeated Chiefs—have packed it up and headed for the parking lot. With five minutes left to play, coach Davis decides that James Jackson—despite leading all rushers in the game with 267 yards—is making too many mistakes. Davis installs rookie Lee Suggs at tailback and the 4th round steal in the 2003 draft responds with a pair of 80+ yard touchdown carries. A disappointed Davis announces after the game that Suggs will be fourth on the running back depth chart for next week's game.
Chiefs: 3And that's the way I see it. GMD