Record day for Chiefs’ Holmes

Kansas City running back sets NFL season touchdowns marks.
Monday, December 29, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 9:38 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 17, 2008

KANSAS CITY — Priest Holmes moved an NFL record across Missouri.

Holmes helped the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Chicago Bears 31-3 on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. It wasn’t his 50 yards rushing on 20 carries, but his two touchdowns that gave him sole possession of four records.

His second touchdown came on fourth-and-1 from the 2. Holmes took the ball and leapt over the goal line for his 27th touchdown of the season.

The third-quarter score broke Marshall Faulk’s overall touchdown record, which Faulk set with the St. Louis Rams in 2000. Holmes also set the Chiefs’ record for career touchdowns with 61.

Holmes first touchdown of the game, a 1-yard run on a sweep to the left in the second quarter, broke Emmitt Smith’s record of 25 rushing touchdowns in a season and bettered Smith’s mark of 46 rushing touchdowns for two seasons.

Fullback Tony Richardson said coach Dick Vermeil wanted to kick a field goal before Holmes second touchdown, but the players talked Vermeil into going for the touchdown.

“I’m not going to take the credit, but I was over there yelling and screaming, ‘Hey, we’ve got to go for this,’” Richardson said. “It seemed like the play was in slow motion.”

The score gave Kansas City a 21-3 lead and control of the game.

Holmes’ first score gave the Chiefs a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter. Holmes waited for his blockers and walked across the goal line after picking up a final block from Richardson.

Setting the touchdown record was one of Holmes’ goals at the start of the season and he said owning the record outright was important to him.

“It’s like walking up to a door and you get to the door and you don’t actually go inside,” Holmes said. “So getting the opportunity to score the 27th touchdown (means) it’s my house.”

Vermeil said Holmes’ running style is the reason he’s had success this season.

“He’s a violent runner,” Vermeil said. “He has absolutely no concern for his body. There are a lot of people who are great backs that are always slipping and sliding. He’s a violent runner when he gets (in the red zone).”

Although the win was nice for Kansas City, (13-3) most of the players agree Holmes’ records were important for everyone.

“That’s huge,” tight end Tony Gonzalez said. “We’re talking about the history of the NFL. The (Jim) Browns, the Emmitt Smiths, the Walter Paytons and all these people. He’s scored more touchdowns than all these guys and you have to take some pride and get excited about that, not just Priest, all of us.”

The Chiefs, AFC West champions, had secured a first-round bye in the playoffs and home-field for the AFC divisional game, but the Chiefs wanted to regain confidence after Minnesota beat them 45-20 on Dec. 20. Kansas City, after starting 9-0, had lost three of the last six entering the regular season finale.

Although Kansas City had struggled, defensive lineman Eric Hicks said the team had no problems with its chemistry.

“Everybody knows we weren’t doing well,” Erick Hicks said. “Our chemistry never wavered. It was widely reported we had some arguments last week, but obviously it wasn’t as serious as everybody reported. We came in and we played as a family today.”

The defense, which had been the main concern entering the game, kept the Bears (7-9) out of the end zone and allowed only 84 yards rushing. Stopping the run was a concern because Kansas City was allowing 150.7 rushing yards per game.

Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman had a rough start in his road debut. Grossman was 6-for-10 for 31 yards and left in the second quarter with an injured middle finger on his right hand after Gary Stills hit him as he threw downfield.

Kordell Stewart replaced Grossman and didn’t fare much better, going 5-for-15 for 86 yards and two interceptions.

Vermeil said he thought Grossman’s injury was unfortunate for Kansas City because it had struggled against mobile quarterbacks.

“We were disappointed,” Vermeil said. “We didn’t want Kordell Stewart in there because he’s so mobile. I’m not slighting Grossman at all, but he’s not a movement guy.”

The game could have been closer except Chicago missed several opportunities.

The Bears failed to capitalize on a Trent Green interception late in the first half. After the turnover, Chicago drove to the Kansas City 8 with 12 seconds left and no timeouts. Stewart completed a pass to Bobby Wade, who failed to get out of bounds and time expired.

Chicago also threw two interceptions and missed a field goal attempt.

Bears coach Dick Jauron’s job might have gone full-circle after the loss. Jauron’s first win as the Bears head coach was against Kansas City in 1999, a 20-17 victory in Chicago. Jauron might be fired after a disappointing season.

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