Vermeil Not Surprised By Chiefs Performance

The Kansas City Chiefs went into the game thinking they could run effectively against Atlanta's top-ranked rush defense, just as they had done in beating Ray Lewis and the rush-restrictive Ravens earlier in the month. But no one ever imagined the Chiefs would run 49 times for 271 yards and an NFL-record eight rushing touchdowns in their 56-10 home rout of the Falcons.

"No way," Coach Dick Vermeil said Monday. "But sometimes it takes you awhile in a game to find out you can do that. We did not go into that game planning to run 49 times. But it builds up as the players lather up and begin to take charge of the game. The game plan changes then and you move into other areas."

The impulse now is to suggest that Kansas City's blocking unit; the front five linemen plus fullback Tony Richardson and twin tight ends Jason Dunn and Tony Gonzalez, develop that kind of lather for every opponent, beginning with Indianapolis this week.

Remember, a dominant running game, the best in the NFL at the start of Week Eight, was the common factor in both of the Chiefs' victories in this disappointing 2-4 season. The Chiefs pounded out 178 rushing yards on 46 running plays in a 27-24 decision at Baltimore. Two games later they ran seemingly at will over Atlanta with Priest Holmes and backup Derrick Blaylock evenly splitting the eight rushing touchdowns.

Left inexplicable is why Kansas City ran only 21 times in a 22-16 loss at Jacksonville, a setback that negated any momentum generated by the Baltimore win on Monday night.

"We let it slip last week," said tackle Willie Roaf, whose blocking on the left side cleared the road for Holmes and Blaylock all afternoon. "We can't afford any more slips."

Priest Holmes elected not to continue playing, though he says he could have gone on if necessary, after turning an ankle while falling inches short, according to the unchallenged ruling on the field, of his fifth touchdown during third quarter action against Atlanta.

Holmes figured he'd done enough in rushing for 139 yards and four touchdowns; all in the first half when the Chiefs built a 35-3 lead. He became one of six NFL players to score four rushing TD's in a half. The others were Jim Brown, Cleveland, 1962; Roland Hooks, Buffalo, 1979; Chuck Muncie, San Diego, 1981; Eric Dickerson, Indianapolis, 1988, and Shaun Alexander, Seattle, 2002.

"I could have gone back into the game, and last year, I might have," Holmes said. "But there was no need to take any chances with the way Derrick was running with the ball and the way the line was blocking. I think this is more like the expectations the fans had of us coming into this year -- scoring points and having the defense back it up," Holmes added. "We haven't had too many of these games this year."

In rushing for a career-high 90 yards and four touchdowns, backup running back Derrick Blaylock was a fantasy league winner for any player with the unique foresight to play him against Atlanta.

But then that would require insight not even Blaylock could give his own brother in a pre-game telephone call Sunday.

"He wanted to know if he should play me on his fantasy football team," Blaylock related. "I told him the Falcons had the No. 1 rated rush defense, but I felt like we could run the ball against them.

"You know, I don't know if he picked me or not but I hope he did."

Kansas City's 56 points were the second-most in team history, but the most ever scored at Arrowhead. The Chiefs scored 59 points in a 1963 game at Denver. The 46-point margin of victory was the fourth greatest in team history.

QUOTE TO NOTE:
"It's a credit to a great offensive scheme by our coaches, great blocking up front and to our wide receivers for going out on the 2- or 3-yard lines after they made some catches." - RB Derrick Blaylock, thankful for the opportunity he and Priest Holmes had to score six of their eight rushing TD's from three yards or less.


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