The Kansas Chiefs lost five out of seven games on the road in 2002. They lost their last five in the regular season and faced a tough Texans team that had yet to set foot on their home turf. They battled and the Chiefs escaped the first half leading only 14-7 but they dominated the second half from start to finish.
Chiefs quarterback Trent Green tried his best to ease the pressure of Priest Holmes. But it was hard to avoid the man of steel as Holmes scored two more rushing touchdowns, caught four balls from Green for a total of 156 yards of offense.
Green made a point to find tight end Tony Gonzalez early in the game. He caught three balls and narrowly missed a touchdown catch in the second quarter. The Chiefs will need Gonzalez to get more action next week in Baltimore.
But Green, despite two interceptions, made the plays when they counted. With the score tied 7-7 late in the second half. Green marched the Chiefs down field with precise passes that led to Holmes second touchdown of the game with .13 seconds left in the first half.
In the second half the Chiefs buried the Texans and shut up the Reliant stadium crowd by scoring 35 unanswered points. For the second straight week, Dante Hall sparked the team for the second time in as many weeks.
After Green found Eddie Kennison on a 15-yard pass and the Chiefs prevented the Texans from gaining a first down, Hall made an electric 73-yard punt return that had the Houston fans in awe.
Hall fielded a short punt after it hit the turf. The Texans thought Hall would let the ball roll but instead he picked it up, broke two tackles and cut outside where he had a posse lead him into the end zone.
For the second straight week, the Chiefs created four more turnovers. They intercepted Texans quarterback David Carr twice and recovered two fumbles to set the tone in the second half. The Chiefs only sacked Carr when time when Vonnie Holliday made his fourth of the season in the fourth quarter. But the Chiefs put the hurt and the heat on Carr as they hit him every time he threw the ball.
With the game out of reach, Shaunard Harts scored his first professional touchdown as he picked off an ill-advised pass from Carr and ran it back 39-yards into the end zone for their final score of the day. T
he star of this team continues to be the defense. Though they gave up 107 yards rushing and 218 yards passing, the Texans were held to one big play offensively. Carr hit rookie wide receiver Andre Johnson for a 43-yard scoring strike in the second quarter. Chiefs safety Greg Wesley was late coming over the middle as Johnson beat Jerome Woods.
Hall is becoming the most feared offensive player on the Chiefs roster. He can catch the ball, run the ball, return punts or kick-offs and has the ability to score every time he touches the ball from anywhere on the field.
What's most impressive about the Chiefs win on Sunday was the fact their receivers dropped five balls, turned the ball over twice but the outcome was never in doubt. The Texans are one year removed from their expansion debut but they have talent.
The Chiefs have won three games in 2003 and they've withstood their opponents best hits and countered with scoring drives and big plays. The Chiefs for the second week in a row scored an offensive, defensive and special teams touchdown.
On February 1st the Super Bowl will be played in Houston. The Chiefs are a Super Bowl team now and they've yet to play a complete game. They took a huge step on Sunday by taking care of business in Houston.
If they can beat the Ravens next week in Baltimore, they can set the pace in the AFC West. The Ravens have the best pure running back in the NFL in Jamal Lewis. He sets the tone for Baltimore and the Chiefs will only need to shut him down to win their fourth game of the year.
The Chiefs can use the road win in Houston as preparation for the Ravens game. Kansas City took another step toward the championship with a solid road win against a team they should have defeated.
If the Chiefs are successful in Baltimore, the fan frenzy might hit a fever pitch with a victory next week. As that win will be a prelude to show down with Denver in two weeks for what could be for sole possession of first place in the AFC West.
The next two weeks will define the Chiefs 2003 season. It will also draw the attention of the rest of the NFL and make Kansas City the early favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.