The irony of the schedule wasn't lost on Kansas City Chiefs kick returner Dante Hall. "Before the season a lot of people talked about how the first month of our schedule was supposed to be the killer, and how Washington was supposed to be an easier game," Hall said, thinking of Washington's 6-10 record last year." Well, look at them now.
"That just goes to show how you can't look ahead in your schedule more than a week at a time."
So much for getting a break after a September schedule that included games with three 2004 playoff teams (the Jets and Eagles at home, and at Denver) plus a road game in Oakland.
The supposedly easier second quarter of the Chiefs schedule could prove to be anything but. It opens Sunday at Arrowhead against a surprising 3-1 Washington team that came within a missed two-point conversion of taking Denver to overtime last week at Invesco Field -- a place where the Chiefs lost by 20 points.
After that, the Chiefs' "cruise quarter" includes back-to-back road games at 2-2 Miami (where the Chiefs haven't won in six trips since 1989) and 2-3 San Diego before finishing with a return engagement with Oakland at Arrowhead.
After emerging from the first quarter with a 2-2 record that would have been deemed satisfactory before the season -- and before the Chiefs jumped out to a 2-0 start -- Kansas City's players know they need at least a 3-1 run during this second quarter to put themselves into playoff position when the season's second half begins.
That run has to begin with a complete effort against Washington, a team that doesn't impress you with anything but its ability to win close games. Washington's last six games, dating back to the final two of 2004, have been decided by three points or less. The Skins have won four of those games, with three coming in '05.
"The image of the Redskins as great on defense and not much on offense is an illusion," said coach Dick Vermeil. "They score enough points to win, and they went well over 400 yards against Denver in the rain (last weekend)."
Not that the Chiefs don't have a great deal of concern about moving against Washington's eighth-ranked defense.
But coming off a bye week with the return of LT Willie Roaf from a 3 3/4-game absence, they like their chances of being better than their first-quarter league rankings of 15th in offensive touchdowns, 24th in third-down conversions and 18th in passing offense.
But the Chiefs also have a great deal of respect for a couple of Washington offensive players who've beaten them badly and often in previous lives with other teams.
Skins quarterback Mark Brunell once beat Kansas City routinely while at Jacksonville.
"He's playing like the Brunell we played in Jacksonville, like when he beat us right out here (at Arrowhead) with a touchdown bomb (in 2002)," Vermeil said. "I can remember that like it was yesterday."
Vermeil probably doesn't have to remind his players how Clinton Portis paraded around Invesco Field wearing a specially crafted championship boxing belt after he blistered the Chiefs for 218 yards and five TD's in a 2003 game in Denver.
"We all know what he can do since we've experienced some bad games against him," Vermeil said of Portis, who had three games of more than 130 yards in four games against the Chiefs while a Bronco.
So much for starting the easier portion of the season.
Seventh meeting. Chiefs lead 5-1 with victories in the past three games, the last coming in 2001 at FedEx Field when Dick Vermeil won his first game as the Chiefs' coach.
CHIEFS NOTES & QUOTES:
The Chiefs swear they've forgotten about that 2003 day when then-Bronco Clinton Portis donned a replica of a boxing championship belt and took a victory lap around Invesco Field after gashing the Chiefs for 218 yards and five TD's in a 45-27 rout.
"That stuff's in the past," insisted safety Greg Wesley. "We can't think about what he did at Denver. He's with Washington now and we've got to focus on stopping him. They're going to try to pound the ball on us, and we've got to be physical and hit him in the mouth!"
Added defensive end Eric Hicks: "I've honestly forgotten all about it. He's probably wasting his time talking about it. But that was his right to do it. He was the (division) rushing champ that year."
Portis, however, wonders if the Chiefs aren't being a little less than candid.
"The belt's retired, but they never got the opportunity to pay me back for that," he said in a conference call with Kansas City-area reporters. "I'm sure they're going to have some (issues) with me this week. I've got to come in with my hard hat on."
In four games against the Chiefs as a running back for the Denver Broncos, Portis has rushed 81 times for 559 yards and 10 TD's.
The Redskins are 0-2 in two previous visits to Arrowhead, but they haven't been there since 1995 when the Chiefs rushed for 178 yards. Washington has lost seven straight contests to AFC opponents and hasn't beaten an AFC team on the road since winning 17-10 at Denver in November 2001.
Chiefs kicker Lawrence Tynes pleaded no contest this week to assault charges resulting from a bar disturbance during the Chiefs training camp in River Falls, Wis. Tynes agreed to pay a $400 fine, but he still faces a civil suit filed by the club employee whose nose was broken in the fight.
Only three current Chiefs starters -- DE Eric Hicks, DT John Browning and S Greg Wesley -- were starters when the Chiefs last played Washington in 2001.
Kansas City has won 13 consecutive home games since 2002 when one of its backs rushes for two or more TD's. Priest Holmes has 10 such games, Larry Johnson has three.
BY THE NUMBERS:
17-4 Kansas City's record at Arrowhead against NFC opponents going back to 1995.
1-3 Kansas City's record at Arrowhead against its last four NFC opponents.
QUOTE TO NOTE:
"Not just a chapter, but hopefully the whole book is burned up. I've got a fresh start. I've made a lot of changes in my life, lived a whole new lifestyle in these last few months. Hopefully it's for the better and I can come back and contribute to this team." -- Cornerback Eric Warfield asked upon his return from a four-game suspension following his third DUI arrest if a sorry chapter in his life was over.
Tough Part of Schedule Behind the Chiefs?
WarpaintIllustrated.com Top Stories
Three Backfields With Question MarksEvery week, Fantasy Football Expert Mark Morales-Smith examines the most turbulent backfields in the NFL to help decipher whether or not there are any Fantasy stars in the making..…
Chiefs Put Justin Houston on PUP ListWith roster cuts looming, the Kansas City Chiefs have placed All Pro linebacker Justin Houston on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, meaning he won’t be able to return to…
Schwartz Brothers in Kansas City Makes SenseOn Tuesday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs will complete their first roster purge of the week. In order to get down to the league limit of 75 players, the Chiefs who cut eight…
Berry Signs as Chiefs Begin Roster CutsOn Sunday All Pro Safety Eric Berry, signed his one-year tender. That means today the Kansas City Chiefs coaching staff will get their first on field glimpse of their starting…