Cowboys Take Control in Second Half

For the second straight game, the third stringers let a lead and the game slip away as the Dallas Cowboys behind a dominant third quarter performance defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 24-20.

The game started out slow for the Chiefs defense after they gave up a 10-play, 70-yard scoring drive that culminated in an Eddie George 3-yard run. But the defense stiffened and rebounded on the next defensive stand as Jerome Woods made a diving interception that stopped the Cowboys. That play sparked the offense as Trent Green and company got the offense cranking.

Dante Hall who is firmly entrenched as one of the opening day starters, hauled in a beautiful 13-yard touchdown pass from Green. Hall caught the ball in the corner of the end zone, quickly got one foot in bounds and dragged his back foot for the touchdown. Initially the referees signaled that Hall was out of bounds but after the Chiefs challenged the call and the call was reversed.

That was the end of the day for the teams first offensive unit but the reserves kept the beat going. Back-up quarterback Todd Collins came in and was nearly perfect. After hitting wide receiver Chris Horn on a 25-yard gain. He came back and hit rookie Richard Smith on a beautiful crossing pattern that the free agent from Arkansas ran untouched into the end zone for a 53-yard score. That made the score 14-10 at halftime and it appeared the Chiefs were on their way to a victory.

"We got started off kind of slow, mainly because of the penalties. Every time we seemed to get something going, a penalty set us back. We (the first unit) never really got into a rhythm until the final drive." Quarterback Trent Green said. "We were able to convert some third downs. I thought Derrick Blaylock ran the ball extremely well to convert some big plays for us. Then we got the catch by Dante (Hall) in the end zone."

But the second half was a different story as third string quarterback Damon Huard played most of the second half the best he could do was lead the offense despite good filed position to two Lawrence Tynes field goals. Now Huard did not have much to work with since most of the starters and back-ups were on the bench. The Cowboys for the most part despite playing three days earlier had nearly half of their starting defensive unit playing well into the fourth quarter.

Still the Chiefs had bright spots as back-up quarterback Todd Collins continues to shine on offense. He was a perfect five for five in his duty and the Chiefs have to feel more confident that he can run the offense if called upon. The throw to Smith was not only impressive but he showed a lot of patience waiting for Smith to break into the clear before delivering the ball. Chiefs starter Trent Green for one was impressed with Collins and Smith.

"It was great. That's a play we were working on at training camp, but we haven't had a lot of work on it since. The fact that Richards a young guy and was given an opportunity, T.C. (Collins) put it on the money." Green said after the Cowboys game. :It was nice to see Richard finish it. That's something that Al (offensive coordinator Al Saunders) really emphasizes to the guys to finish every play. He got some key blocks downfield and was able to break it."

Despite the loss the Chiefs did have one injury that left them concerned. Rookie tight end Kris Wilson injured his ankle when his foot was caught in the turf after being sandwiched between two Dallas defenders. The Chiefs hope the injury is not serious because they are counting on Wilson to make a significant contribution this season.

Kansas City may have finished the preseason with a 1-3 record but they could have just as easily won all four games. All three losses were contributed to the play of third and fourth stringers who likely will be out of football all together.

In other Chiefs News:
It looks like Morten Andersen will be either traded or released. Lawrence Tynes made two field goals on Thursday night including one from 48-yards. Both the Jacksonville Jaguars and Minnesota Vikings have their sites set on Andersen.

Say goodbye to punter Jason Baker. After the impressive performance of recently acquired punter Steve Cheeks. He had good hang time and several booming punts that had to make Chiefs Head Coach Dick Vermeil very happy.

Running back Larry Johnson had his worst game of the pre-season and based on his performace on Thursday, Derrick Blaylock has become the Chiefs primary back-up to Priest Holmes. It could be another long year for Johnson who might be in peril of being cut despite the rookie contract he signed a year ago.

It was good to see Jerome Woods back in the lineup. His interception and touchdown saving tackle showed why he is so important to the Chiefs defense.

Expect the Chiefs to make some of their roster cuts today.


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