Hall and Tynes Saved the Day for KC

Dante Hall's long return of a bounding squib kick he fielded at his 15 came while running on a sore ankle he twisted at the Wednesday practice before the Saturday game. Hall didn't work in Thursday's final major practice and was considered questionable for the game.

"My ankle was killing me and my hamstring was tight, but I put my head down and prayed to God to give me the legs," Hall said. "We had a middle wedge call and my guys did a great job of sticking on their men. I had two or three lanes to choose from."

Facing his first game-winning field goal from 38 yards out with 26 seconds remaining should have seemed a daunting prospect for rookie kicker Lawrence Tynes, who had a 43-yarder blocked in the first half and a 50-yarder bounce off the crossbar earlier.

It wasn't.

"I was confident even though I'd missed two earlier," said the Chiefs rookie kicker. "I knew I was going to make it."

Not everyone shared that confidence, though.

"I was nervous because we have not put him in that position before," coach Dick Vermeil admitted. "We've spent three years building him into a kicker. We brought him to three training camps and sent him out twice, so it was outstanding for him to be able to do that today."

The last-minute game-winning field goal brought back memories -- unpleasant ones, actually -- of the last time the Chiefs played in a Christmas Day game.

It was the famous six-overtime battle with Miami in the 1971 playoffs in which legendary Chiefs kicker Jan Stenerud missed three field goals before Miami's Garo Yepremian ended the 82-minute marathon with a 37-yard field goal.

"Jack Steadman (the Chiefs President of the Board) looked at me after Janikowski's kick and said, 'We can't lose another one on Christmas Day!" related KC owner Lamar Hunt.

TE Tony Gonzalez had one of his best days as a Chief in matching his career high of 11 catches for 124 yards and two TD's against Oakland. He caught balls thrown high, low, way in front of his and way behind him. He caught balls with two and sometimes three Raiders all around him. He was 9-112 in the first half alone before catching only two balls in the second half. "I think we went through all my plays by halftime," he joked.

RB Larry Johnson, who burned the Raiders for 118 rushing yards in little more than a half of the Dec. 5 Chiefs win in Oakland, had his string of three 100-yard games broken by a 25-79, 2-TD effort in the Christmas win over the Raiders.

WR Eddie Kennison, in going 6-79 against the Raiders, cracked the 1,000-yard barrier for the first time in his eight-year NFL career. Kennison's string of three games with touchdowns ended. It began with an 8-149 day against the Raiders on Dec. 5 in Oakland.

WR Samie Parker continues to impress when finally given a chance in these last two weeks of his rookie season. He went 3-35 against the Raiders with a couple of tough tiptoe grabs along the sideline.

QB Trent Green had two turnovers, a first-series interception and a fumble in the final two minutes that directly set up 10 Oakland points. But he still posted a 100 passer rating that was his seventh of the season.

QUOTE TO NOTE :
"I just didn't have my legs today. But hey, there's nothing wrong with a lay up." Tony Gonzalez, on having to settle for two finger rolls instead of his customary crossbar dunks after scoring first-half touchdowns of 2 and 26 yards.


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