KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)—There is a way to hold onto the ball for two-thirds of the game, move it some 500 yards, get your best player in the end zone four times and still nearly lose the game.
Just ask the Kansas City Chiefs.
At the end of their wild 35-28 victory Sunday over the depleted Seattle Seahawks, the Chiefs were feeling more lucky than good, more grateful than boastful.
“That goes to show you what happens in the National Football League,” Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said, “when you miss opportunities and turn the ball over in the wrong area of the field and give up big plays.”
Larry Johnson, Tony Gonzalez, Damon Huard and Eddie Kennison all had outstanding days for KC (4-3), which went over .500 for the first time all year. The Chiefs had 499 total yards to 240 for Seattle and 42 minutes, 15 seconds of possession time compared with Seattle’s 17:45.
But outrageous mistakes let the Seahawks (4-3) score two unanswered touchdowns and grab a 28-27 lead with about 6 minutes left.
“We just made some silly mistakes, including myself,” said Huard, who was a game-day decision because of a sore groin.
“When you’ve got a chance to jump on people, you’ve got to do it. And we didn’t.”
Larry Johnson had the biggest hand in preventing the Chiefs’ self-destruction, rushing for 155 yards and scoring four touchdowns, three on the ground. He got the go-ahead score with 2:15 to play with a 3-yard run after Huard connected with Eddie Kennison on a 51-yard pass play.
“We made it hard on ourselves at the end, but came back and overcame some obstacles and put it away,” Johnson said. “We gave them more chances than they needed.”
Seneca Wallace, making his first NFL start in place of injured Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, put Seattle on top 28-27 with a 49-yard TD pass to Darrell Jackson after cornerback Ty Law fell down. A few plays before that, Law dropped a sure interception.
Law said he just “tripped over my own feet” on the touchdown pass, and would have had clear sailing to the end zone had he held onto the interception.
“It was one of those days for me,” he said.
Late in the third period, Seattle’s Kelly Herndon returned a fumble 61 yards for another touchdown when Kansas City holder Dustin Colquitt, after mishandling the snap on a field goal attempt, tried an ill-advised pass.
“I said it last week and I’ll say it again—it’s about your will, and ours was good enough to win,” said Edwards.”
About half the team the Seahawks took to the last Super Bowl seemed either suspended, demoted or lame. Besides Hasselbeck the Seahawks were missing league MVP running back Shaun Alexander, wide receiver Bobby Engram and starting guard Floyd Womack, who were all injured.
In addition, starting right tackle Sean Locklear was suspended this week for violating NFL personal conduct policy; strong safety Michael Boulware, who had two interceptions during last season’s playoff run, was bumped to the second team for poor play.
“It was a tough ball game. We battled our hearts out and came up a little short,” said Seattle coach Mike Holmgren.
Gonzalez, the Chiefs’ Pro Bowl tight end, caught six passes for 116 yards and Kennison had six receptions for 132. Huard, who has played well in place of the injured Trent Green, was 17-for-25 for 312 yards and one TD.
The groin pull, he admitted, did hurt—at least until the adrenaline kicked in.
“In the back of the mind, you’re like, `Are you really going to pull your groin in practice and not play?”’ he said. “I was going to play.”
Wallace was 15-for-30 for 198 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
“Once I relaxed and calmed down, it was just like another game for me,” Wallace said. “It has been a while since I’ve played a full game.”
Lawrence Tynes hit two field goals for the Chiefs and Johnson, with a team-record 39 carries, scored on runs of 3, 2 and 3 yards in addition to his 9-yard TD catch.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” said Herndon. “We’ve got to go back and look at the film and see what’s going on.”
Johnson has 12 multi-touchdown games. … Gonzalez has 17 100-yard receiving games. It was the second week in a row the two both went over 100 yards. … Colquitt was charged with two fumbles on the play where Herndon scored. … The Seahawks have lost three of their last four. … The Seahawks are hopeful of getting Alexander back for this week’s game against Oakland.
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