When I heard former Washington Redskins and Kansas Jayhawk running back John Riggins claim that Ahman Green was a better running back than Holmes on a national sports radio station. Green had a great year nearly 1883 yards and 20 combined touchdowns. But the man fumbled the ball seven times this season often in crucial situations.
One of those fumbles setup the Chiefs 40-34 overtime victory in Green Bay back in Week #6. Priest Holmes only put the ball on the ground one time. ONE TURNOVER! Do you know how rare that is in the NFL?
Holmes touched the ball 394 times in 2003. He ran the ball 320 times for 1420 yards and caught 74 passes and made his noise in the Red Zone. Green touched the ball 405 times with 50 receptions and 355 carries.
Riggins pointed out that Green had a problem coughing up the football but claimed that was due to the fact Green refused to carry the ball in any other hand but his left. If that's the case, then why would he list him higher than Holmes?
Holmes was the key that drove the Chiefs offense. Consider the fact that Holmes only rushed for more than 100 yards in three games in 2003. But Holmes was a touchdown machine. Of the 16 games played in 2003, Holmes missed the end zone in only three games. Green didn't score in five games.
In the NFL productivity is determined by so many things. One of them being yards gained but an impact running back is someone who scores touchdowns. Holmes had seven more touchdowns than Green and the Chiefs led the NFL in scoring average.
Green's team didn't. In fact there were games, despite his stats, that Green didn't show up at all. Sometimes he was dominating and other times he was less than average. The same could be said about Holmes as well but he was at least productive running the ball or catching the ball in each game this season. He never took a game off like Green did at times this season. Premier running backs don't have games when they only rush for 35 yards. Premier backs don't put the ball on the ground seven times.
Green has already played one playoff game. He ran for 66 yards on 23 carries against the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday and scored two touchdowns. Not a bad day but he only averaged 2.9 yards per carry against a Seattle defense that's not stellar against the run.
Holmes is set to make his playoff debut for the Chiefs this Sunday against the Colts. Kansas City unlike Green Bay has a more explosive offense. That's what makes Holmes 2003 season even more remarkable. With the NFL's best Tight End in Tony Gonzalez, capable receivers like Johnnie Morton, Eddie Kennison and Dante Hall, who can all score touchdowns, Holmes 27 touchdowns were simply an astonishing testament to his outstanding work ethic and attitude on the field.
Holmes sacrifices his body not only in running and receiving the ball but often times he's the last defense for an oncoming blitzing linebacker that he has to take out so Trent Green can complete a pass. He sells out his body. Tell me when Green did that? In Green Bay they use a three running back tandem and Green is not even in the game on long passing situations. Holmes is always ready to do battle on every play. He either gets hit or hits somebody.
So no disrespect to Riggings but he's full of crap. He must have been giddy yesterday with Joe Gibbs returning as the Redskins Head Coach. That had to sway his judgment.
You might notice that I omitted Baltimore Ravens running back Jamal Lewis. He nearly broke the NFL single season rushing record. But after his tank job against the Tennessee Titans in their AFC Wild Card game, he doesn't rank as one of the premier backs in my book.
It appears to me that Holmes won't get the credit he deserves unless he has 100-yard rushing games and numerous touchdowns in the playoffs. He should get plenty of chances against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. They stink at rushing defense and are under-sized in their defensive line and are susceptible to runs up the middle and the outside. The Chiefs and Holmes are adept at both.
The Chiefs will use a steady diet of Holmes to control the clock, sustain drives and score touchdowns. The heralded Colts offense must be kept off the field. The Chiefs did a great job with time of possession against the Bears in the season finale and I expect more of the same against Indianapolis.
Holmes had a great 2003 season and though he's never been a ‘ME' guy. The NFL touchdown record was important to him and his teammates. It was a deserving and hard earned reward for coming back from such a devastating injury.
But what made the accomplishment even more incredible was the fact that Holmes played the entire 2003 in pain and not 100%. He was not the same running back before the hip injury in 2002. But he knew the chances of the Chiefs getting to the Super Bowl were better with Holmes on the field scoring touchdowns.
Imagine what he could have done if he'd been healthy and 100%. He might have scored 32 or 35 touchdowns. Maybe then more would have taken notice or given him more of his due.
But none of that matters now as Holmes is set to embark on the only team goal left to accomplish; getting to and winning the Super Bowl. That quest starts on Sunday. That's all that matters to Holmes and the rest of his teammates now.