Becoming just the second quarterback this season with a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3, Green threw three touchdown passes in a 45-17 victory that clinched Kansas City’s first AFC West title since 1997.
The Lions (4-10), despite their first 100-yard rushing day in more than a year, did what they’ve done without fail for almost three full seasons, losing on the road. Their 23rd straight road loss tied the record set by the Houston Oilers in the early 1980s.
With a trip to Carolina awaiting, they’re on the brink of setting the NFL’s all-time away-from-home futility record.
“It’s hard, and we’re one of a handful of teams that hasn’t had any luck on the road this year,” said coach Steve Mariucci. “And that happens every year. It just so happens that it’s been three years in a row here. And that’s hard to deal with.”
The Chiefs (12-2) set a team record with their 12th straight home victory and got three more touchdowns rushing from Priest Holmes. Seeming to move the ball at will, they scored on seven of their first eight possessions, failing only when Morten Andersen was short on a 48-yard field goal attempt at the end of the half.
“We’ve had days where we were good for a time, then dropped off and then picked it back up,” said Green, who was 20-for-25 for 341 yards and joined Peyton Manning as the NFL’s only quarterbacks to have a perfect rating this season.
“To be consistent those eight drives in a row, it was a pretty special effort by the offense. That quarterback rating is reflective of just the overall offensive effort.”
Holmes’ scoring runs of 14, 9 and 3 yards ran his season total to 22, just three short of the NFL record held by Emmitt Smith. He needs four TDs rushing or receiving in his last two games to catch the record set by Marshall Faulk in 1999.
The 22 touchdowns, Holmes said, was a personal goal.
“So that’s very personal to me to be able to translate scoring into winning,” he said. “That’s what I believe I’m doing right now. I’m really excited about what we’ve been able to do for the city.”
The Chiefs’ scoring drives in the first half covered 264 yards on 26 plays while going to third down only twice.
Dante Hall, trying for his NFL-record fifth touchdown kick return, got past everybody but kicker Jason Hanson on the second-half kickoff. His 46-yard return set up a 46-yard drive that Holmes capped with a 3-yard run for a 35-10 lead and his team-record 22nd TD rushing.
Green hit Hall for a 38-yard gain on Kansas City’s next possession, leading to Andersen’s 35-yard field goal.
“This offense was unbelievable,” Andersen said. “It was like, well, what do we want to do to get 10 yards now?”’
Shawn Bryson, on a 1-yard run, got the Lions’ fifth TD rushing of the season to make it 38-17. Then back came the Chiefs, soaring 77 yards in just six plays. Tony Gonzalez caught touchdown passes of 9 and 27 yards and Derrick Blaylock turned a short pass into a 63-yard scoring play.
The Lions finally got their offense on track late in the third and Hanson kicked a 29-yard field goal.
Shawn Bryson rushed for 105 yards, including a 39-yard burst in the fourth quarter, giving the Lions their first 100-yard rusher since James Stewart got 122 against Green Bay on Nov. 10, 2002.
Still, the Lions stopped themselves with penalties and mistakes, including two turnovers.
“It’s nothing new,” Harrington said. “It’s nothing different. We do have a long way to go. It’s tough to play from a situation when you’re always in a long-yardage situation.”
The Lions shaved the halftime lead to 28-10 when Harrington hit Az-Zahir Hakim on an 8-yard TD pass on fourth down.
“We’ve got to put a team on the airplane that is well-schooled, well-coached and talented and capable of winning on the road,” Mariucci said. “That’s what we’ve got to do to snap that streak.”
Chiefs LB Mike Maslowski missed his fourth straight game with a knee injury. … Gonzalez has caught a pass in 50 straight games. … The paid attendance was 77,922, but Arrowhead was at less than capacity, with fans staying home after a weekend snowstorm. … Lions DT Luther Elliss and LB Barrett Green suffered concussions during the game. … The field was brand new. The grounds crew installed new turf following the Big 12 championship gamebetween Kansas State and Oklahoma last Saturday.