Instant Classic in Kansas City

It was a game that not many Chiefs fans will ever forget. They saw history with Dante Hall's game winning 93-yard punt return that gave the Chiefs their first lead of the game. They held on thanks to their bend-don't-break defense. But in the aftermath, both NFL coaches had different perspectives about their teams.

In Denver, Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan at first clamed that Dante Hall's run was a great individual performance. But after further review looking at game film, Shanahan sent footage of Hall's return to the NFL. He claimed the Chiefs were not penalized for two clips on Hall's magnificnet return. He was right they weren't called. The umpire, who had a prefect view of the play, called nothing.

It's too bad that Shanahan wasn't a better coach. It was his decision to punt the ball to Hall. It was his decision not to kick the ball out of bounds. It was his eleven players on the field, who each had an opportunity to tackle Hall, before he ran the punt back for the game winning play.

The Denver media wanted to know why he didn't punt the ball back to OZ after the game. But Shanahan did it because his ego would not allow him to do it any other way. There is no doubt that Shanahan is the best offensive head coach in the NFL.

I say that despite his other bone head move of the game. He decided to run the ball three times from the six-yard line early in the 4th quarter when they had a first and goal. Jake Plummer was effective when they moved him outside the pocket. Despite that success, Shanahan called for three straight running plays and Denver settled for three points instead of seven.

Will he send that series to the NFL?

I doubt it.

The fact is that Shanahan's decision to kick the ball to Hall was absolutely correct in football terms. The odds that Hall would score his fourth consecutive special teams touchdown in consecutive weeks was as rare as winning the lottery with a single ticket.

But it happened.

It happened despite the Chiefs unsucessfullt tried to block the return. Denver had no excuses as seven guys had more than one opportunity to tackle the dancing Hall before he escaped his own goal line. Yes the Chiefs had some questionable blocks but that happens in every play in the NFL.

The Broncos having nothing to gripe about as their offensive lineman mauled Ryan Sims in the second half in front of the referee three times. Twice on consecutive plays late in the 4th quarter, that led to a failed field goal attempt. Then on the last drive of the game, Sims was taken down as Plummer escaped the pocket. No flag.

The Broncos offensive linemen are known for thier grips on defensive players. They are skilled, crafty and are the best at what they do.

The Chiefs have plenty of game film to send the NFL if they wanted to send a message to Shanahan and his coaching staff. But they won't. Even in a loss they would not have done it.

On Sunday, the better team won the game. The Chiefs stand 5-0 on the season because they've made the plays in the Broncos game to win the game. That's what they've done all season long.

Trent Green has been criticized in the local Kansas City media for not executing the Chiefs offense with higher success. It should be noted that the Chiefs have scored more points than any other team in the NFL through five games.

For those who question his ability, remember the pass to Tony Gonzalez. He avoided the blitz, almost had the ball knocked out of his hands and then fired a strike to Gonzalez to tie the score 7-7. He was also leveled on the play by Broncos linebacker Al Wilson.

In the third quarter after the Broncos had taken a 10-point lead, Green engineered a 77-yard drive in five plays that culminated with a perfect strike to Johnny Morton that put the Chiefs right back into the game.

Yes Green has struggled at times. He's looked uncomfortable and hurried his throws. But he stays in the pocket and gets blasted. The offensive line has run blocked really well the last three weeks but their pass blocking has been anything short of sensational. It needs to improve in order for Green to be more productive.

But even in victory, the Chiefs made no excuses. They understand where they need to improve. They along with Denver understand that this was only one game.

The victory on Sunday means the Chiefs made more plays than Denver. The game boiled down to special teams and the Chiefs made the won that counted most. The Broncos missed a late field goal that could have won the game. That's how it goes in the NFL. >But Denver is crying foul today.

Yes Denver had more yards and more to complain about in the end. But the Chiefs won 24-23, and that's the only statistic that matters in the NFL.

The Chiefs are 5-0 for the first time in franchise history and they are stand alone atop the AFC West. They also have five AFC wins and lead the rest of the AFC for home field advantage in the playoffs.

The Broncos are 4-1 in second place in the AFC West and their new quarterback Jake Plummer did not win his first real test of the 2003 season.

Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil knows his offense must improve. Shanahan, instead of praising the Chiefs, is sending tapes to the league office.

Shanahan has sunk his entire coaching career into Plummer. On the other side of the sidelines, Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil has sunk his entire career into his 2003 Chiefs roster.

The two teams meet again in the first weekend in December and nobody knows what their records will be at the time. It appears after the fifth game of the season; that the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers are all but dead in the AFC West race.

But the December match-up might not be the last between these two great AFC teams. They're likely to meet again in the playoffs.

Maybe by then Shanahan will hear back from the NFL about the clips that weren't called on Sunday. Top Stories