But despite getting 126 rushing yards from Johnson, Kansas City managed only two field goals in dropping a 9-6 overtime decision in Denver that left the Chiefs with an 0-2 record heading into an early bye week.
The low point production was not completely unexpected, given that for the first time in 82 games, the Chiefs opened without veteran quarterback Trent Green, the victim of a severe concussion from the previous week. Even so, the Chiefs' offense -- the NFL leader in total yards the past two years -- has managed only one touchdown in its first two games.
But even though Kansas City thinned down the game plan for backup Damon Huard, the Chiefs still missed on a couple of prime scoring opportunities that might have given them their first win in Denver since 2000.
Johnson himself blew a prime opportunity on the team's second possession when he fumbled at the Broncos 5 to blunt a 7 1/2-minute drive.
Then in the third quarter of a 6-0 game, Kansas City blew a scoring opportunity following a big 37-yard pass to Eddie Kennison to the Denver 34. On the next play Huard caught his own deflected pass and immediately fumbled.
It was to the credit of the revamped Kansas City defense -- one that swarmed the Broncos for much of the day -- that it held the Broncos to field goals after Denver reached a first down at the 8 in the third quarter and the 1 with seven minutes left in the game.
Denver managed only 276 yards and three field goals. The only real Kansas City defensive breakdowns, though, were critical. Denver had drives of 12 and 14 plays for the two field goals in regulation, and the Chiefs couldn't get a stop on the Broncos' 9-play, 63-yard march for the game-winning field goal after winning the coin toss to start the overtime.
"It seems like we did everything to win," said safety Greg Wesley, whose interception at the Denver 30 set up one Chiefs field goal. "This was a heartbreaker, but if we give a (defensive) performance like that every week, we'll win a lot of games"
Trailing 6-3 with 13:10 remaining, the Broncos hit big plays of 15, 14, 12 and 19 yards in their 76 yard drive for the game-tying field goal with 5:54 remaining.
But they looked as if they'd get more than that after getting a first down at the 6, then later at the 1 after a personal foul. But the Chiefs held on the next three downs -- a stuffed run by Sammy Knight and two incompletion -- to force the field goal.
The Chiefs weren't as fortunate after losing the coin toss in overtime. Jake Plummer hit David Kircus for 14, Tatum Bell broke a run for 20 and Plummer found Javon Walker for 24 to set up Jason Elam's game-winner from 39 yards.
--RB Larry Johnson, after seeing his string of 100-yard games dating back to last season snapped at nine in the Cincinnati opener, got back on track with a 27-126 rushing game against Denver. His effort was marred, however, with a fumble at the Denver 5 on KC's second possession.
--QB Damon Huard, seeing his most extensive action since leading Miami to a Thanksgiving Day win in 2000, hit his first seven passes and 16 of his first 19 in the 9-6 loss at Denver. Throwing generally short, quick passes, he was sacked only once after being dropped four times in the Cincinnati opener when he replaced injured starter Trent Green.
--P Dustin Colquitt had a dream day in nailing two punts out of bounds at the Denver 1 and 2 in the 9-6 loss to the Broncos. Colquitt 46.8 yards gross on six punts with three inside the 20.
--S Greg Wesley got Kansas City's first interception of the season with his third-quarter pick of Jake Plummer at the Denver 30. It set up Kansas City's second field goal and gave the Chiefs a 6-0 lead.
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