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Kansas City's defense doesn't offend in win over Rams

Posted: Tuesday, August 24, 2004

KANSAS CITY, Mo. The NFL's highest-scoring offense is clicking. Pressure is sure to increase on Kansas City's woeful defense to get its act together, too.

Trent Green hit 10 of 12 passes, and Priest Holmes averaged 5.2 yards on six carries Monday night as the first-team offense scored on two of its three possessions in a 24-7 exhibition victory over St. Louis.

The offensive starters, who led the NFL in scoring each of the past two years, also scored on two of their three possessions against the New York Giants last week in their preseason opener.

''I thought offensively we played very well,'' said Green, who was 10-for-12 for 94 yards. ''It was good to see a good mix of run with the pass.''

Adding to a bad night for the Rams (0-2) was starting cornerback Travis Fisher's broken arm.

Fisher, who tied for the team lead last year with four interceptions, was injured in the first half. He also tied for the NFL lead with 205 yards in interception returns in 2003.

Holmes had 31 yards on six carries and scored on a 2-yard run for a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

On the Chiefs' third possession, Derrick Blaylock scored on a 1-yard dart around right tackle. Larry Johnson set up the TD with a 14-yard run after bumping into Green and nearly fumbling the handoff.

The Chiefs' defense, which finished 29th in the league last year and has undergone a drastic scheme change under new coordinator Gunther Cunningham, shut out the Rams' regulars and even got involved in the scoring.

''I'm very pleased for our defense,'' Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said. ''We've made some progress.''

With 1:07 left in the half, linebacker Shawn Barber stepped in front of Arlen Harris, intercepted Marc Bulger's pass and returned it 60 yards for the touchdown, putting the Chiefs (1-1) up 24-0.

''I was in the right place at the right time,'' Barber said. ''We were just trying to play the whole field and be very aggressive. Sometimes you can put the quarterback in an awkward position and he thinks things are open that aren't open.''

Bulger was 8-for-15 for 67 yards and got sacked three times behind the Rams' patchwork offensive line. Marshall Faulk, playing more than normal this early in the preseason, carried six times for 16 yards.

Faulk's understudy, first-round draft pick Steven Jackson of Oregon State, scored on a 6-yard run with 7:29 left in the third quarter.

Each team's defensive reserves dominated their offensive counterparts in a sloppily played second half.

Morten Andersen, the NFL's No. 2 career leading scorer who is locked in a battle with CFL star Lawrence Tynes, connected from 28 yards in his only field goal attempt.

Holmes, who set the NFL touchdown record last year, looked particularly sharp in the opening drives. He came out of the backfield to catch Green's pass on third down and went 11 yards in the first scoring drive. He added carries for 10, 9 and two yards.

Notes: The Chiefs' Lyle West drew a 15-yard clipping penalty on the Rams' second punt and sustained a hamstring injury on the same play. ... Vice President Dick Cheney, in town for a campaign appearance on Tuesday, sat with Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt in his box. ... Backup KC safety Clint Finley had an interception chance bounce right off his chest late in the third quarter. ... KC middle linebacker Kawika Mitchell left in the second half with an ankle sprain. ... Second-year man Kevin Garrett replaced Fisher. ... With severe weather, including tornadoes and heavy rain headed in, the crowd thinned considerably midway through the fourth period.



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