Chiefs rolling up huge chunks of points, yards

Friday, November 5th 2004, 8:20 pm
By: News On 6

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Crowd the line of scrimmage to stop the Pro Bowl running back, and passes from the Pro Bowl quarterback will find the Pro Bowl tight end.

Double cover the tight end and the running back will come thundering behind an offensive line that totals, as a group, 18 trips to the Pro Bowl.

Try to outguess them all and you're matching wits with a creative workaholic whose weekly game plans typically contain more than 300 different plays.

Yes, the Kansas City Chiefs again have the NFL's hottest offense _ an immensely talented unit that's on a great roll. In routing the Falcons and Colts in the past two weeks, the Chiefs scored 101 points. Only one team in NFL history has scored more in consecutive games.

``You're starting to see some swagger coming back,'' tight end Tony Gonzalez said after catching eight passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday's 45-35 victory over Indianapolis.

The surge followed a slow start for the team that led the NFL in scoring each of the past two seasons, and it boosted the Chiefs (3-4) to No. 1 in the league in rushing and No. 3 in total offense.

Nevertheless, quarterback Trent Green would not dare call the Chiefs unstoppable.

``That would be kind of insulting to a lot of defenses around the league,'' he said. ``But we feel good about what we're doing. We've been able to create a really good mix these last couple of weeks.''

Priest Holmes, whose 27 touchdowns set an NFL record last season, is leading the league with 833 yards rushing and is on pace to score 32 touchdowns.

Another monster year for the soft-spoken, hardworking Texan would surprise no one. Since the start of the 2001 season, Holmes leads the NFL with 5,432 yards rushing, 7,583 yards from scrimmage, 69 rushing touchdowns and 319 first downs on the ground.

He scored seven touchdowns in the last two games despite missing almost two full quarters with an ankle sprain.

``I'm just glad our offensive line is getting the recognition that it's due,'' he said. ``We have the best offensive line in the league and Tony Richardson is the best blocking fullback in the NFL.''

Wide receivers Johnnie Morton and Eddie Kennison, who were supposed to be the Chiefs weak link, are even having bounce-back years. Morton dropped two crucial passes in last year's playoff loss to the Colts but had five catches for 69 yards in last week's victory over Indianapolis.

``They made some incredible catches,'' Green said. ``There were five or six balls that had no business being caught.''

Richardson joined Green, Gonzales, Holmes, guard Will Shields and tackle Willie Roaf in the Pro Bowl last season. Now he's quietly having his best year.

``There's nothing you can ask of an offensive line that our O-line can't do,'' he said. ``And when you have skill guys like these, it gives us so much flexibility in the run, the pass, the screen and the draws. It's great.''

As orchestrated by coordinator Al Saunders, the Chiefs' offense is founded on a confusing variety of shifts, motions, play-action and misdirection.

``We typically go into a game with around 300 plays,'' Saunders said. ``That sounds like a lot. But there might be three or four plays that are exactly the same that are run from different formations, different movement and different personnel groups.''

Saunders, whose idea of a long vacation is three days, never repeats plays over the course of three or four games and typically doesn't run the same play within a single game.

``We can create some matchups that work well for us,'' Green said. ``That's where a lot of times we can cause confusion on a defense as the play's unfolding because they're not sure with all the shifting and movement where to go.''

In the end, of course, everything depends on players making plays.

``We've got a pretty good thing going now,'' said Richardson. ``We work hard. We believe in each other and we've got Trent Green, who gets everybody lined up and mentally into the game week in and week out.''