Vermeil's Chiefs spoil Schottenheimer's Redskins debut

Monday, August 13th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Maybe Dante Hall hasn't wrecked his NFL career after all.

The second-year running back, deep in the doghouse after pulling his hamstring during a foolish training camp stunt, broke loose for a 92-yard punt return Sunday night in Kansas City's 20-0 exhibition victory over Washington.

``I've been saying prayers, having my mom say prayers,'' he said. ``I was just so nervous about reaggravating it and setting myself back even more.''

On Aug. 3, without telling coaches, Hall and receiver Dave Klemic staged a two-man race to establish once and for all which one was the fastest man in camp. Hall wound up with a pulled hamstring.

Coach Dick Vermeil graciously took the blame for the incident, but Hall insists, ``It was mostly my fault.''

``As long as everything works out for the better, then it won't matter,'' he said. ``It's one of those things where it was dumb, but if things work out, it won't matter.''

Taking the ball on his own 8, Hall weaved almost untouched through a scattered-out mass of would-be tacklers.

Near the 10, Justin Skaggs got a hand on Hall's ankle, but he kept his balance and went into the end zone.

``It opened up like the Red Sea,'' he said. ``It opened up so beautifully.''

The Chiefs had 412 total yards to just 99 for the Redskins, who were without their starting quarterback and both of their starting defensive ends. It was Kansas City's first exhibition shutout since 1992 and spoiled the debut of Marty Schottenheimer as the Redskins' head coach.

``I don't think I'm embarrassed by any effort,'' said Schottenheimer, who coached the Chiefs from 1989-98.

``This football team worked hard tonight. The football team we played was better than us.''

Vermeil, lured out of a one-year retirement to lead the Chiefs, saw both good and bad.

``I was very pleased with our execution in every phase of the game,'' Vermeil said. ``We're also aware that the Redskins came in without their starting quarterback and without some of their starting defensive people.''

The Redskins had only 32 net yards as the Chiefs took a 20-0 halftime lead.

Trent Green was 6-of-11 _ including one drop _ for 97 yards and one touchdown. Priest Holmes averaged almost 10 yards on three carries, including a darting, weaving 17-yard run that helped set up Todd Peterson's 23-yard field goal.

On the Chiefs' next possession, Green completed a 33-yarder to Mikhael Ricks and then found Derrick Mayes, who beat Donovan Greer on a 29-yard scoring pass.

``When you bring in a new offense as complex as this one, it's great to see guys in the right place, and the protection I had,'' Green said. ``I can't say enough about those first three series we ran. I thought the guys played real well.''

Backup quarterback Todd Collins hit three third-down passes during a 16-play, 70-yard drive later in the second period. Rookie free agent Lawrence Tynes capped it with a 22-yard field goal.

Incumbent kicker Todd Peterson had an attempt blocked by Ifeanyi Ohalete, a rookie defensive back from Southern Cal.

Redskins rookie Sage Rosenfels found Darnerien McCants for 33 yards to the 5 on third-and-9 late in the fourth period. But Andre O'Neal preserved the shutout by breaking up Rosenfels' pass on fourth-and-4.

``We just need to look at the film and work on the mistakes we made,'' Washington receiver Kevin Lockett said. ``I think that we're a better team than we showed today.''