Chiefs Notes: Youngsters Made An Impression

Larry Johnson was not the only young player to shine on Sunday. Back-up and seldom used offensive lineman Jordan Black played right guard when All-Pro Will Shields hobbled off with an injury.

Tackle Jordan Black, a fifth-round draft pick in 2003 who played mostly on special teams in 11 games prior to Oakland, got his most extensive NFL duty Sunday at positions for which he had barely prepared. Black, who works mainly as the backup for veteran left tackle Willie Roaf, was thrust into the right guard position briefly in the second quarter when Will Shields limped off with an ankle injury.

Shields came back five snaps later, but on the first series of the third quarter, right tackle Chris Bober -- a replacement for the injured John Welbourn -- went down because of a sprained toe. Black had to finish out the game at his second different position. "That was interesting,'' said the former Notre Dame tackle. "I've been practicing all year on the left side, which is where I played in college. It's always interesting when a left-side guy ends up playing on the right in a game situation. You flip everything over in your mind. It was definitely a challenge."

A fierce hit on replacement running back Derrick Blaylock, coupled with some Raider celebrating as Blaylock lay witless on the ground, provided a couple of inspirational opportunities for the Chiefs. For one, it reminded Kansas City -- trailing 20-7 at the time -- that this was in fact still the Chiefs-Raiders rivalry, or what was left of it. "It was probably a good, hard hit, but I don't know if you hit a defenseless player like that," Hicks said of the belt Raider cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha put on Blaylock a split-second after a pass arrived.

"The ball was just getting there when he went helmet-to-helmet. That's Chiefs-Raiders, I guess, but it really irritated us."

It also gave Larry Johnson his opening.

Seeing his most extensive playing time of his short NFL career, the Chiefs' little-used first-round draft choice rushed for 118 yards and caught three passes for 56 more in playing out the second half. He had a career-long 34-yard carry in a touchdown drive and a career-long 29-yard reception.

He also had all the opening he needed to talk about his exploits afterward.

"I always had confidence in myself. I knew if I got even a little shot I could do the things I knew I could do, both as a runner and a receiver," said Johnson, who has made no secret of his unhappiness at being drafted by a team that had Priest Holmes. "In the period I've been here, I never thought I'd get the opportunity to go in and do those things. They know what I can do, it was just a matter of seeing me do it on the field. I knew I'd get the chance sometime. I'm glad it was today in a big rivalry. This is what you live for. It was like being back in college in our games with Pitt."

Johnson's first career 100-yard game made him the third Chiefs back this year to top the century mark. Holmes and Blaylock both have gone three digits. The last time Kansas City had three 100-yard runners in the same season was 1981 with Joe Delaney, Billy Jackson and James Hadnot.

"He needed that today, not just for his personal pride, but for his career," DE Gary Stills said. "That boosted him up and should get his mind where it needs to be. He showed everybody he's not a back you can keep in the doghouse."

QB Trent Green, despite practicing only once in the week leading up to Oakland, shook off his sore ribs and hip and threw for 340 yards and three touchdowns against the Raiders. It was Green's fifth 300-yard game in his past six outings,but the Chiefs won only two of those games.

Larry Johnson, after showing some indecisiveness in running for only 14 yards on five first-half carries, got into a rhythm while playing most of the second half. He looked quick, strong and decisive in finishing with 118 yards rushing on 20 carries.

RB Derrick Blaylock could have returned after being knocked silly late in the second quarter against Oakland. But backup Larry Johnson was running well and the Chiefs wanted to exercise caution with Blaylock, who carried only once for a two-yard loss in the second half.

WR Eddie Kennison had his third 100-yard day in the past five games with an eight catches for 149 against Oakland. He broke a tackle after catching the bomb that produced the game-winning 70-yard touchdown with 2:04 remaining.

TE Tony Gonzalez drew double coverage much of the day with cornerback Charles Woodson on him and was limited to three catches or 32 yards in Oakland. However, double coverage on the tight end opened up other aspects, such as the 70-yard TD throw to Eddie Kennison for the game-winner.


WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories