Game Scout: Chiefs v. Rams

The Chiefs can feel good about winning with a backup quarterback and a patchwork offensive line. Beating the Chargers was big. And the offense appears to be hitting a rhythm.

But the itch the team - heck, the franchise - cannot scratch is its road record. The Chiefs' only road win this season is over lowly Arizona.

"Right now on the road we're minus four (in turnovers)," Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said. "We haven't scored a lot of points on the road either. I think we've scored 36 points and given up 74, so that doesn't match very well going on the road."

Despite Edwards' often-repeated emphasis on road games, the Chiefs, who won only about 40 percent of their road games under Dick Vermeil, have continued to look like a different team on the road.

The first one, a 9-6 Week 2 loss at Denver is easily explainable. It was Edwards' first road game as Chiefs coach and Damon Huard's first start since 2000. The Chiefs then beat Arizona, though they needed a last-second miss by Cardinals kicker Neil Rackers to seal it.

There is no explanation for a 45-7 loss at Pittsburgh, however.

"We got out butts waxed," Edwards said.

That game was a total collapse of the Chiefs' pass defense, which ranks seventh in the NFL. Edwards knows the Rams are the kind of team that can create a blowout quickly.

"As far as the Rams, they play good at home. Have a very, very potent high-powered offense," he said. "The crowd can get very loud especially if you get behind. It's noisy and it's difficult for the offensive tackles to hear the snap count. They've got some great rushers to rush the quarterback. We've got our hands full, no doubt about it."

So far, the Chiefs have beaten the teams they were supposed to beat and lost to the teams they were supposed to lose to. Sunday is a chance to make the leap.

"We dug ourselves out of a hole and if we're going to continue to go in a direction that you need to go at this point and time you've got to win games - all of them are important," Edwards said. "We've got one road win and this is a winning team and you've got to beat these teams if you're going to become a playoff team. It'll be a good test for us."

SERIES HISTORY: Ninth meeting. The series is tied 4-4, though Kansas City has won the last three including two blowout wins. A 54-34 Chiefs win in 2000 marked the most points ever scored at Arrowhead Stadium.


--Chiefs president-general manager Carl Peterson takes his share of heat for his personnel decisions in Kansas City, but he has nailed the last three first-round picks. In 2003, with Priest Holmes in his prime, Peterson controversially drafted Larry Johnson. The Chiefs had no first round pick in 2004, then took LB Derrick Johnson (a no-brainer) last year and DE Tamba Hali (widely considered a reach) this season. Derrick Johnson is the team's leading tackler and shares the team sacks lead with Hali at 3.5.

--If anyone remembers the last meeting between the Rams and Chiefs, it's Dante Hall, who on Dec. 8, 2002 in Arrowhead became the first player in NFL history to return a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown in the same game. Kansas City won 49-10.

BY THE NUMBERS: 103 -- points the Chiefs have scored, combined, in their last two meetings with St. Louis, including a 54-34 win in 2000 and a 49-10 romp in 2002.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I just have jerseys of different guys who are in the Hall of Fame or are about to be in the Hall of Fame stitched into the seats of my truck. I've got Walter Payton, Lenny Moore, D.J. Dozier, Ernie Ladd, Ed Sprinkle, Tony Dorsett, Eric Dickerson, Jim Brown... the list goes on and on." -- Chiefs running back Larry Johnson, an avid NFL Films fan, on the upholstery in his car.


The Chiefs are experimenting with using DE Tamba Hali from a two-point stance and dropping him into coverage. Hali did so in the preseason and early in the regular season, then seemed to have scrapped the idea until last week, when Hali dropped back on a couple of occasions.

Hali's athletic ability has had the Chiefs, who've used a 4-3 scheme for all of relevant memory, toying with the idea of running a 3-4 with Hali as the rush end/outside linebacker. It's unlikely they'll do so this season, but they're clearly looking for multiple ways to use their No. 1 draft choice.


--QB Damon Huard will face a quarterback with a passer rating higher than his own (as a starter) for the first time this season Sunday in Marc Bulger, the NFL's top-rated passer with a 101.3 mark. Huard is third with a 100.4 rating.

--TE Tony Gonzalez will in all likelihood pass Priest Holmes as the Chiefs' all-time leader in yards from scrimmage Sunday. Holmes has a 28-yard lead on Gonzalez.

--RB Larry Johnson's 39 carries last week, in addition to being a franchise record, was the highest total in the NFL this season. The 24 points he scored tied Chargers LaDainian Tomlinson for the league high.

--DE Tamba Hali, who led the Chiefs in tackles after two games, is still near the top, his 38 stops ranking second on the team.

--DT Ryan Sims has been mostly irrelevant this season. Sims, whom the Chiefs drafted sixth in 2002, has four tackles and one QB pressure.

GAME PLAN: This has all the markings of a vintage Herm Edwards "don't get behind early" game -- it's on the road, in a loud stadium, against a good offense. So the Chiefs offense will look a little less like the one that throttled Seattle and San Diego, and more like the one that scored a combined 13 points at Denver and Pittsburgh. The Chiefs clearly are comfortable and in a rhythm with Damon Huard, so the play-calling won't be restricted at all based on him.

On the other side, it's the Tampa 2 defense vs. the Don Coryell offense, a matchup that tends to favor the offense. The Rams give up a lot of sacks, so the Chiefs would be wise to take advantage.


Rams WR Torry Holt vs. the Chiefs secondary. Kansas City owns the NFL's No. 7 pass defense, but has been prone to allowing big plays, Holt's specialty.

Chiefs TE Tony Gonzalez vs. the city of St. Louis. It may take all of St. Louis to tackle Gonzalez, who is suddenly running mad after the catch. Gonzalez has had consecutive huge games heading into St. Louis as the Chiefs had admittedly made a concerted effort to get him the ball. And oh, by the way, it's also a contract year for Gonzo.


--CB Benny Sapp is practicing, though probably won't play this week. Sapp had been a regular contributor at nickel back, but even before he went down with an ankle injury, Kansas City had been using Patrick Surtain as its nickel corner and playing Lenny Walls opposite Ty Law.

--OT Kevin Sampson sat out of practice Wednesday with a foot problem, though he is expected to start and play at or near full strength Sunday.

--QB Damon Huard, who had the best game of his career on a strained groin last week, has fully recovered. The Chiefs dropped QB Casey Printers back to the practice squad. Top Stories