One Half of Good Football More than Enough for KC

<p>KANSAS CITY - One half of fantastic football was more than enough to give the Kansas City Chiefs a good start to its NFL season. The Chiefs blasted San Diego from the start, getting out to a 24-0 halftime lead before settling for a 27-14 opening victory over the Chargers Sunday in front of 78,048 fans at Arrowhead Stadium.

Kansas City, 1-0, had its offense purring to perfection, scoring on four of its six first-half possessions while the defense limited the Chargers to 49 total yards.

"Hopefully, we have something special started here," Kansas City head coach Dick Vermeil said. "Overall, I'm very pleased with what we did. There's a lot of things we can do better, but we can't do it much better offensively that we did in the first half."

Once and for all, running back Priest Holmes put to rest any doubts that his injured right hip has sufficiently healed, rushing for 85 yards on 18 carries with two touchdowns and catching seven passes out of the backfield for 98 yards.

"I think it was important for the coaches to see Priest to do that," guard Brian Waters said. "I don't think it was important to the players. I think Priest has assured us more than enough during the preseason that he was ready. But the coaches had to see it for themselves. We expected that from Priest."

The first drive set the tone as the Chiefs moved 68 yards on six plays in less than three minutes. Holmes accounted for 47 of the yards, following fullback Tony Richardson on a long sweep for a 24-yard touchdown to put the Chiefs up 7-0.

"They had that series all scripted," Vermeil said. "And they knew exactly what they were going to do. Very seldom when you script it and it goes like that. It may not happen again. But I hope it does. It was very well-designed by our coaching staff."

Once Kansas City took the lead, the defense began to set their sights on quarterback Drew Brees and the San Diego offense. Brees never found a rhythm, throwing two interceptions and throwing 202 yards on 18-of-33 passing.

Defensive end Vonnie Holliday, one of the heralded free-agent acquisitions for the Chiefs, had three first-half sacks.

"Vonnie Holliday is no doubt the AFC (Defensive) Player of the Week," linebacker Shawn Barber, another key free-agent signee, said. "I can make the call right now. I haven't seen what other people have done. It was tremendous to see him out there go to work."

San Diego's big free-agent pickup, wide receiver David Boston, was limited to two catches for 20 yards and LaDainian Tomlinson, the league's second-leading rusher last season, had only 34 yards on 13 carries.

"It's hard to get the ball to David Boston and find running room for Tomlinson when you have Vonnie Holliday back there all day," defensive end Eric Hicks said. "I don't want to take anything away from Drew Brees but Vonnie was definitely in his head as the game went on."

Holliday came from fan-friendly Green Bay and legendary Lambeau Field, but he definitely was impressed with the Arrowhead atmosphere.

"This was my first game and everything they say about this place is true," Holliday said. "It is the best place to play. Coming from Green Bay, I didn't think that could be true, but the fans in Green Bay just don't know what's going on here."

Holmes' 5-yard scoring run and a 20-yard pass from quarterback Trent Green to wide receiver Johnnie Morton gave Kansas City an overwhelming 21-0 lead only 20 minutes in the game.

Morten Andersen's 42-yard field goal with 4:25 left before halftime ended Kansas City's onslaught in which the Chiefs gained 281 total yards, including 204 yards passing.

The Chiefs finished with 390 total yards while San Diego, 0-1, finished with 232 total yards, 100 of that coming in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach.

"I think it's obvious that the Chiefs are a much better football team," Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "That was reflected in the outcome. I was disappointed mostly defensively.

"We knew we were going to face a powerful offense. Offensively, I think that this team is one of the best teams in the National Football League. And if there's any questions about Priest Holmes' hip, I think that has been dispelled."


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