Oct 30, 2006


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By Patrick Herb

The record-setting stat sheet didn’t tell the story of the Chiefs 35-28 shootout win against Seattle at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City dominated most aspects of the game, piling up 499 yards of offense and holding the ball for over 42 of the 60 minutes, but for the second week in a row it came down to last-minute heroics. RB Larry Johnson’s fourth touchdown of the game with 2:15 left gave the Chiefs the thrilling win and put them above .500 for the first time this season at 4-3.

Four days prior to the game Chiefs QB Damon Huard’s status was in question after he suffered a groin injury in practice. A game-time decision to play, Huard not only played, but he turned in one of the best games of his career. Huard passed for a career-high 312 yards and a TD, posting a passer rating of 124.1.

“I think Damon was a warrior today,” G Brian Waters said of the club’s gutsy signal-caller. “He played excellent, he took some hits. He’s always under pressure because he’s not Trent Green, so people’s expectations are lower. This guy is steady standing up to the pressure. He’s steady going above and beyond what people expect him to do. We expect him to play at this level because we know what type of guy he is. He really did an excellent job.” A 38-yard field goal from K Lawrence Tynes put the Chiefs ahead early, but Seattle LB Julian Peterson made the first game-changing play of the afternoon. With the Chiefs backed up deep in their own territory, Peterson beat a double-team to sack and strip Huard. DT Russell Davis then recovered the fumble at the Chiefs seven-yard line. Making his first career start, QB Seneca Wallace converted the turnover into seven points when he hit WR D.J. Hackett on a seven-yard TD pass to take a 7-3 lead.

The Chiefs answered right back with an eight-play, 74-yard drive that featured a 38-yard run from Johnson into Seattle territory. Johnson would then finish off what he started with a three-yard dive over the goal line for a touchdown and 10-7 Chiefs lead late in the first quarter. That was only the beginning of what turned out to be one of the biggest games in LJ’s career as he posted 155 rushing yards on a franchise single-game record 39 carries.

On Kansas City’s next drive Huard picked up long gains on passes to Johnson and TE Tony Gonzalez setting up another Tynes field goal to move ahead 13-7. The lead would not last long as Wallace brought the Seahawks right back down the field. The big play on the scoring march was an impressive one-handed 26-yard catch by WR Deion Branch that set up Seattle at the KC three-yard line. From there Wallace floated a play-action pass to TE Jerramy Stevens in the end zone to grab a 14-13 lead with under 5:00 left in the first half.

The back-and-forth shootout was officially underway as the Chiefs snuck in another touchdown before halftime to go into the locker room with a 20-14 lead. Huard found Kennison on gains of 19 and 18 yards before he dumped off a short pass to Johnson over the middle for a nine-yard TD pass just before halftime.

Kansas City came out of intermission and executed just the way they had hoped. The defense forced a punt on the opening possession and the offense marched off a lengthy touchdown drive to take the first two-score lead of the afternoon. Mixing it up between Johnson and backup RB Michael Bennett the Chiefs ripped off 88 yards on 13 plays consuming 6:51 off the clock. The two-back combo accounted for 63 yards on the ground including the final two on a TD dive from Johnson, giving KC a 27-14 lead.

A bizarre play turned the momentum of the game just when it looked the Chiefs were going to start putting Seattle away. CB Patrick Surtain intercepted Wallace, setting up a would-be 36-yard field goal attempt. However, P Dustin Colquitt dropped the snapped and was forced to abort the play. In doing so he rolled out and tried to flip a pass, but it was instead ruled a fumble and was returned by Seahawks CB Kelly Herndon 61 yards for a touchdown. The Chiefs challenged the ruling that it was a fumble, but the officials upheld the original call on the field and awarded the TD, bringing the score to 27-21 late in the third quarter.

Kansas City’s attempt to reclaim a two-score lead drifted wide right as Tynes misfired one a 50-yard field goal try. Chiefs CB Ty Law couldn’t hold on to a near INT moments later, giving Seattle new life. The Seahawks weren’t about to waste it as Wallace fired a 49-yard scoring strike to a wide-open WR Darrell Jackson after Law had fallen down. With that play, Seattle took their first lead since 14-13 in the first half.

With the Seahawks leading 28-27 and 6:30 remaining, the stage was set for the Chiefs late-game heroics. Huard first completed a pair of 11-yard passes before dropping a beautiful 51-yard bomb into Kennison’s (six catches for 132 yards) the outstretched arms down to the Seattle seven-yard line. From there, Johnson found the end zone for the fourth time of the day, this time on a three-yard run. Huard converted the two-point try with a pass to Gonzalez (six catches for 116 yards) giving KC a seven-point lead at 35-28 with 2:15 remaining.

“All week, Herm was preaching about team; about coming together as team and all of that individual stuff is out the window,” Kennison said after the game. “We have to play this game as a team and that’s what we did. Collectively, we were poised. We kept our head in it and we never got out of whack. We just stayed simple and we scored.” The Chiefs defense appeared to have gotten the stop they needed to ice the game when DE Tamba Hali tipped a Wallace pass into the arms of Jared Allen for an interception. However, as Allen was trying to return the turnover, he was stripped by Seahawks WR Deion Branch, inexplicably giving the ball back to Seattle with 1:58 left.

The Seahawks then made a pair of first downs but could get no deeper than the Chiefs 41-yard line. LB Derrick Johnson sacked Wallace on third down and on fourth down Law tackled FB Mack Strong short of the first down marker to preserve the Chiefs 35-28 win.