Chiefs vs Bears - Game 16Dec 22, 2003, 1:13:00 PM
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (12-3)
CHICAGO BEARS (7-8)
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2003 – 12:00 PM (CENTRAL)
ARROWHEAD STADIUM – KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
TV: FOX Regional Coverage (WDAF-4 in Kansas City) – Sam Rosen and
RADIO: KCFX-FM (101.1) Mitch Holthus, Len Dawson, Bob Gretz and Bill Grigsby.
Kansas City hosts Chicago in the 2003 regular season finale for both squads. Thirteen is the magic number for the Chiefs on Sunday. A victory over the Bears would give Kansas City 13 regular season wins for the just the third time in team history – the Chiefs previously posted 13-3 records in ’97 and ’95. A win would also extend KC’s franchise-record home winning streak to 13 games. KC is also seeking to produce just the fourth undefeated home season in franchise annals. KC also accomplished the feat in ’97 and ’95 (8-0), as well as ’71 (7-0).
The Bears have been officially eliminated from playoff contention, but have been playing well of late, winning four of their last five games, including last week’s 27-24 victory vs. Washington. The Chiefs are coming off a 45-20 loss at Minnesota. However, KC owns a first-round bye in the playoffs and can still obtain homefield advantage throughout the playoffs with a victory over the Bears AND a New England loss.
The Chiefs would like to continue their track record of success against NFC foes at Arrowhead. Dating back to the ’95 season, KC owns a 15-2 (.882) mark vs. NFC foes at Arrowhead, the NFL’s best home interconference record over that span. The Chiefs have also won eight of their last 10 games vs. current members of the NFC North. However, the Bears have a history of spoiling KC victory plans. The Bears were also the only tarnish on KC’s 7-1 home record in ’93, winning a 19-17 decision at Arrowhead (11/21/93). The Chiefs also lost their most recent meeting with the Bears, a 17-10 setback at Chicago (9/12/99).
Several substantial team and individual records are on the line this week. KC has 453 points on the season and needs just 15 more to surpass the club-record of 467 set in 2002. Meanwhile, three-time Pro Bowl RB Priest Holmes is on the verge of breaking a pair of NFL single-season scoring records. Holmes currently shares the NFL’s seasonal mark of 25 rushing TDs with Emmitt Smith, who established the standard in ’95. Holmes also needs just two more scores to break the NFL single-season record of 26 total TDs registered by Marshall Faulk in 2000.
The Chiefs are 3-5 all-time in regular season action vs. Chicago, including a 2-2 mark at Arrowhead Stadium. The Bears won the last regular season meeting between the two teams by a 20-17 count at Soldier Field (9/12/99). That ’99 Opening Day matchup marked the head coaching debuts for both KC’s Gunther Cunningham and Chicago’s Dick Jauron. KC claimed its last meeting with the Bears at Arrowhead by a 14-10 margin (11/17/96).
Sunday’s game will mark just the third time the Chiefs have met the Bears during a playoff campaign for Kansas City. Chicago was the only blemish on the Chiefs home schedule in ’93 when the Bears won a 19-17 decision at Arrowhead (11/21/93). However, the Chiefs did claim a 21-10 victory in the ’90 regular season finale at Solider Field (12/29/90) to finish the year with an 11-5 record, marking the first of six consecutive playoff berths under Marty Schottenheimer.
Perhaps the most significant Chiefs-Bears game was a preseason contest played at Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium (8/23/67). In one of the first preseason meetings between AFL and NFL teams, the Chiefs upended Chicago by a 66-24 count. A 32-point second quarter and a 99-yard Noland Smith kickoff return helped Kansas City amass the highest point total in any game – preseason, regular season or postseason – in the franchise’s history.
Although not as historically important as that ’67 preseason game, a ’96 preseason meeting between these two squads was also memorable. Monsoon-like conditions inundated Soldier Field, making scoring impossible in the second half. Play was eventually stopped with 4:20 left in the third quarter because of several lightning strikes with KC holding a 14-10 advantage (8/22/96).
THE HEAD COACHES
NFL Head Coach: 12th Year
NFL Coach Overall: 16th Year
NFL Overall: 108-98 (.524)
Regular Season: 102-94 (.520)
Postseason: 6-4 (.600)
Record w/PHI: 54-47 (.535)
Record w/STL: 22-26 (.458)
Record w/KC: 26-21 (.553)
College: San Jose State (’58)
Dick Vermeil was named the ninth head coach in Chiefs history on January 12, 2001 following head coaching stints with Philadelphia ('76-82) and St. Louis ('97-99). He is one of just four coaches in NFL history to lead two different teams to the Super Bowl and has twice been named NFL Coach of the Year.
The Calistoga, California native began his NFL coaching career with the L.A. Rams ('69, '71-73) serving as the team's special teams, RBs, and QBs coach and offensive coordinator. During his tenure as head coach in Philadelphia ('76-82), he compiled a 54-47 record. In '78, Vermeil guided the Eagles to their first playoff appearance in 12 years. He then led the '80 Eagles to a 12-4 record to earn a trip to Super Bowl XV.
Vermeil returned to the sidelines as the head coach of St. Louis for three seasons ('97-99), guiding the Rams to a 13-3 record in '99, concluding the year with a win in Super Bowl XXXIV. A standout quarterback at San Jose State from '63-65, Vermeil served as an assistant at Stanford ('65-68) and UCLA ('70) before taking over the head coaching duties for the Bruins from '74-75. In '75, he led UCLA to a 23-10 victory over #1 ranked Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
NFL Head Coach: 5th Year
NFL Coach Overall: 20th Year
NFL Overall: 35-45 (.438)
Regular Season: 35-44 (.443)
Postseason: 0-1 (.000)
NFL Playing Exp: 8 Years.
AFC West Coaching
College: Yale ‘73
Dick Jauron was named the 12th head coach in Bears history on January 23, 1999, after spending four seasons (‘95-98) as Jacksonville’s defensive coordinator. Jauron led Chicago to a 13-3 record in 2001, marking Chicago’s first NFC Central title since ’90 and earning him AP Coach of the Year honors. During his four-year tenure in Jacksonville, the Jaguars qualified for the playoffs three times.
Born in Peoria, Illinois on June 14, 1946, Jauron joined the Jaguars in ’95 after coaching defensive backs for the Green Bay Packers from ‘86-94. He originally began his NFL coaching career coaching the defensive backs for the Buffalo Bills in ’85.
Jauron entered the league as a fourth-round draftee of Detroit in ’73, spending five seasons (‘73-77) with the Lions and earning Pro Bowl honors in ’74. He concluded his eight-year pro playing tenure with a three-year stint with Cincinnati (‘78-80) before a knee injury halted his career. He finished his career with 26 interceptions, including two which he returned for touchdowns. A ’73 graduate of Yale, Jauron served as a running back and defensive back for the Bulldogs, concluding his college career as the school’s all-time leading rusher with 2,947 yards.
KC has won 15 of its last 20 games. KC is 12-3 for the third time in team annals. The Chiefs own a league-high 453 points and need 15 more to break the franchise record of 467 set in 2002. KC has scored 920 points during the 2002-03 seasons, the best two-year total in team history. KC’s five 40-point games are the most in team annals, breaking the previous mark of four (’66, 2002). KC has scored 59 total TDs in 2003, breaking the team record of 57 set in 2002. KC’s 116 total TDs in 2002-03 are the best two-year tally in team history. KC leads the NFL averaging 6.0 yards per play. The Chiefs lead the league averaging 6.57 yards on first down. The Chiefs lead the AFC and are second in the NFL with 63 plays of 20 yards or more. STL leads the NFL with 69. KC is fourth in the NFL, having a pass intercepted just once every 46.0 pass attempts. KC is fifth in the NFL, permitting a sack once every 26.3 pass plays. The Chiefs are third in the NFL, averaging 7.73 yards per pass play.
KC’s defense has allowed just 313 offensive points (20.9 ppg) in 2003 after permitting 375 offensive points (25.0 ppg) after 15 games in 2002. The Chiefs have an NFL-best +18 turnover ratio (35 takes/17 gives). Only STL (44) and NE (37) have more takeaways than KC. The Chiefs haven’t committed a turnover in four of their last six games. KC has forced two or more INTs in eight games in 2003. KC is second in the AFC and is fifth in the NFL, picking off a pass once every 22.7 pass attempts. Opponents have a 73.3 passer rating vs. KC, the fourth-lowest total in the AFC. New England leads at 56.9, followed by Baltimore (67.9) and Miami (68.5). The KC offense leads the NFL with a 77.6 Red Zone TD pct. (38 TDs on 49 trips). KC’s offense leads the league with a 98.0 Red Zone scoring pct. (48 scores on 49 trips).
KC has seven return scores (3 INTs, 2 PRs, 2 KORs), tying with NE for the NFL lead. KC leads the NFL in punt return average (17.6) and KO return average (25.1). KC is third in the AFC in average drive start after KOs (31.9). KC has been penalized just 73 times, the second-lowest total in the NFL. NYJ leads with only 65 penalties.
SHIELDS SEEKS PAYTON MAN OF THE YEAR AWARD
Chiefs nine-time Pro Bowl G Will Shields is KC’s nominee for the 2003 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, renamed in ‘99 for the Bears Hall of Fame running back. Shields is seeking to become the fourth Chiefs player to win this accolade. Previous NFL Man of the Year winners from the Chiefs include: Hall of Fame LB Willie Lanier (’72), Hall of Fame QB Len Dawson (’73) and the late LB Derrick Thomas (’93).
RICHARDSON TO RECEIVE PFW’S HUMANITARIAN AWARD
Chiefs Pro Bowl FB Tony Richardson will be presented with Pro Football Weekly’s 2003 Arthur S. Arkush Humanitarian of the Year Award by Hub Arkush prior to Sunday’s game. The award is presented annually to an NFL player who goes beyond the call of duty in terms of charitable work. G Will Shields was the award’s inaugural recipient in ’99.
Former Florida standout Rex Grossman (D1b-03) has won his first two NFL starts. Veterans Kordell Stewart and Chris Chandler are also on the Bears roster. RB Anthony Thomas (D2-01) needs 37 more yards for the second 1,000-yard rushing campaign of his three-year pro career. Three-time Pro Bowl C Olin Kreutz (D3-98) anchors an offensive front that also includes former Lions first-round pick T Aaron Gibson. The Bears own a solid receiving trio in WRs Marty Booker (D3c-99), Dez White (D3a-00) and former Dolphins TE Desmond Clark.
Chicago’s defense is headlined by four-time Pro Bowl MLB Brian Urlacher (D1-00), who has led the Bears in tackles every season since joining the club. He is joined in the linebacking corps by Warrick Holdman (D4-99) and Lance Briggs (D3-03). Former Chiefs DT Keith Traylor works on a defensive line that also includes former Seahawks DE Phillip Daniels and DE Alex Brown (D4-02), who leads the club with 5.5 sacks. FS Mike Brown (D2-00) works in the secondary with SS Bobby Gray (D5-02) and CBs Jerry Azumah (D5c-99) and Charles Tillman (D2-03). K Paul Edinger (D6-00) is in his fourth season handling the placement chores, while P Brad Maynard is in his seventh NFL campaign. CB Jerry Azumah earned his initial Pro Bowl berth as a return man this season. Azumah handles KO returns, while CB R.W. McQuarters manages the punt return duties.
Kansas City had several golden opportunities to pull out a win in the season opener, but could not capitalize as Chicago handed the Chiefs just their second Opening Day loss during the decade of the ‘90s. The Bears would hold on for a 20-17 victory despite being shutout by the Chiefs in the second half. Dick Jauron would claim his first NFL heading coaching victory, while Gunther Cunningham’s initial win would have to wait another week for the Chiefs.
The Chiefs drove 69 yards with the opening kickoff and got a 27-yard Pete Stoyanovich FG, but the first half was all Chicago. The Bears would roll off 20 unanswered points as Chicago’s quick-passing attack rolled up 322 aerial yards on the day.
Kansas City would hold the Bears scoreless in the second half and got back into the game midway through the third quarter when QB Elvis Grbac connected on an 86-yard bomb to WR Derrick Alexander to close the gap to 20-10. Chicago appeared poised to seal the Chiefs fate early in the fourth frame when the Bears fumbled on first-and-goal on the KC-6. LB Donnie Edwards scooped up the ball for a 79-yard TD return to close the gap to 20-17. KC’s defense would hold on three straight occasions, but the Chiefs offense couldn’t get into FG range.
The Chiefs couldn’t overcome an offensive explosive from the Vikings who were fighting for their playoff lives as the Chiefs fell to Minnesota by a 45-20 margin at the Metrodome. WR Randy Moss hauled in seven passes for 111 yards with two TDs, while RB Onterrio Smith racked up 146 ground yards and three TDs for the Vikings.
Minnesota’s opening possession concluded with a 30-yard scoring connection between Moss and QB Dante Culpepper. KC appeared to be poised to answer after WR Eddie Kennison hauled in a 32-yard pass which would have put the Chiefs at the Minnesota 12-yard line. A replay review upheld that a fumble forced on the play by Vikings CB Brian Willians would stand, giving Minnesota the ball back at its own three. KC was unable to penetrate Vikings territory after that until the third quarter.
Culpepper then guided the Vikings to three second-quarter scoring marches. A seven-play, 63-yard march culminated with a 21-yard TD pass to Moss. After a KC punt, Culpepper then took Minnesota on a 10-play, 82-yard drive that ended with a four-yard scoring dart to TE Jim Kleinsasser. The Chiefs went three-and-out on their next drive, setting the stage for a 46-yard FG from K Aaron Elling that gave the Vikings a commanding 24-0 advantage at halftime as Minnesota compiled 330 yards of total offense in the first half, compared to 99 for the Chiefs.
KC got the ball to open the second half, but was forced to punt. Smith plowed into the end zone from one-yard on Minnesota’s opening drive of the second half, putting the Vikings ahead 31-0. The Chiefs then turned to RB Priest Holmes, who tied Emmitt Smith’s NFL single-season record of 25 rushing TDs record in the contest. A monster, 14-play, 75-yard drive culminated with a two-yard TD dash by Holmes, the first of his three ground scores to get KC on the board.
Culpepper was intercepted two plays later by S Greg Wesley, but KC couldn’t convert that opportunity. Holmes surged into the end zone from four yards out on KC’s next possession and a 46-yard punt return by Kennison set up Holmes’ third TD of the day, a one-yard burst that cut the lead to 31-20 with 10:05 remaining. It would be as close as the Chiefs would get. Smith registered an 11-yard TD and then KC fumbled the ensuing kickoff, setting up a 10-yard Smith run that culminated the scoring and capped a 45-20 Minnesota victory.
THE POSTSEASON PICTURE
The Chiefs will host an AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Arrowhead on Saturday, January 10th or Sunday, January 11th.
1. KC would be the #1 seed if the Chiefs beat Chicago AND New England loses to Buffalo. The Chiefs (4-1) would win a tiebreaker with the Patriots (3-2) based on a better winning percentage against common opponents.
2. KC would be the #2 seed if New England defeats Buffalo. Should KC and Indianapolis tie at 12-4, the Chiefs (10-2) would win a tiebreaker with the Colts (9-3) based on a better winning percentage in conference games.
LB Mike Maslowski (knee), LB Monty Beisel (groin), WR Marc Boerigter (ankle) and DT Eric Downing (groin) DNP vs. Minnesota. Players injured vs. the Vikings included: S Jerome Woods (left hand contusion), RB Derrick Blaylock (left knee contusion), CB Eric Warfield (lower back strain), T John Tait (calf contusion) and WR LaShaun Ward (mild head trauma).
RADIO AND TV
FOX (WDAF-4) will televise the contest to a regional audience. Sam Rosen calls the action, while former Chiefs Pro Bowl defensive tackle Bill Maas handles the color. The Chiefs Fox Football Radio Network is anchored by KCFX-FM (101.1). Eight-time Kansas Broadcaster of the Year, Mitch Holthus, is in his 10th year handling the play-by-play duties, while Hall of Fame QB Len Dawson adds the color with sideline reports from Bob Gretz. The KCFX pregame show begins at 8:30 AM (CT). Chiefs Gameday, KC’s official pregame TV show airs Sundays at 10:00 AM on KCTV-5.
OTHER CHIEFS-BEARS CONNECTIONS & NOTES
KC Dir. of FB Admin. MIKE WHITE served as the head coach at Illinois from ’80-87 … KC DL coach BOB KARMELOWICZ coached at Illionis (’83-86) … Chiefs off. asst. JASON VERDUZCO was a four-year letterman QB (’89-92) and served as a DBs coach (’97-99) … KC VP of Pro Personnel BILL KUHARICH’s father, the late Joe Kuharich served as the head coach for Notre Dame (’59-62) and the Chicago Cardinals (’52) … Bears def. coor. GREG BLACHE coached at Kansas (’87) … Bears head coach DICK JAURON (’95-98) and off. asst. PETE CARMICHAEL (’94-99) both served on the JAX staff with Chiefs strength and conditioning coach JEFF HURD (’95-97) … Bears DT KEITH TRAYLOR played in 31 games (one start) for KC from ’95-96, producing with 61 tackles (44 solo), two FFs, one FR, and 2.5 tackles (-15.5 yards). He began his collegiate career at Coffeyville (Kan.) CC … KC QB TODD COLLINS was coached by current CHI LBs coach GARY MOELLER at Michigan … Bears special teams coach MIKE SWEATMAN coached at Kansas (’73-74, ‘79-82) and Coffeyville (KS) CC (’75-76) after playing collegiatey at Kansas (’64-67) … Chicago’s physical development coordinator RUSS RIEDERER, a native of Holton, Kansas, played linebacker at Kansas State (’75-78) and began his coaching career at K-State (’79-86) … CHI WR JUSTIN GAGE played at Mizzou and Jefferson City HS.
Team and Individual Records Galore on the Line in Regular Season Finale vs. Bears
by Pete Moris
KC Seeking Scoring Records in Regular Season Finale
KC currently leads the NFL with 453 points and needs just 15 points to bypass the club record of 467 set in 2002. The Chiefs are seeking to become the first AFC team to lead the NFL in scoring in back-to-back years since San Diego did it in ’81-82. Over the 2002-03 seasons, KC has already compiled 920 points, the best two-year total in team history. The Chiefs have topped the 40-point barrier in five games this season and need one more to tie the NFL record of six 40-point games shared by the ’50 Rams, the ’61 Oilers and the 2000 Rams. KC has topped the 40-point barrier against each of its last three NFC foes (ARZ, STL, DET) at Arrowhead, outscoring those squads by an average margin of 47.7 to 9.0.
Putting up points against the Bears won’t be easy, though. Over its last 12 games, Chicago has allowed just 204 points (17.0 ppg). The Bears have held 11 of those opponents to 24 points or less, with just one foe (GB, 34 points) topping the 30-point barrier. However, over KC’s 12-game home winning streak the Chiefs have outscored their opponents 402 to 181, good for an average winning margin of 18.4 ppg (33.5 to 15.1).
Another Record-Setting Season For Kansas City In
In addition to the aforementioned scoring records, KC needs just 373 yards to surpass the team record of 6,000 total yards set a year ago. That’s a reasonable goal to shoot for considering the Chiefs have averaged 375.2 yards per game in 2003. Thanks to QB Trent Green, the club owns a 62.65 completion percentage, a figure that is already ahead of last year’s record mark of 61.22. KC also has a 92.6 composite passer rating, just slightly below the 96.3 rating that has stood since ’68. The longest-standing record in jeopardy is the punt return average mark of 15.03 established in the franchise’s inaugural season in ’60. KC has averaged an NFL-best 17.59 yards per punt return in 2003.
Kansas City Aiming For The NFL’s Turnover Title, Again
The Chiefs currently lead the NFL with a +18 turnover ratio (35 takes/17 gives). KC is seeking to win the league’s turnover title for an unprecendented fifth time since ’90. KC previously led the NFL in take/give margin at +26 in ’90, +18 in ’92, +12 in ’95, and +21 in ’99. KC is also seeking to finish at +10 or better for the 10th time since ’90.
Should the Chiefs finish the year at +20 or higher, it would mark just the fourth time in team history the club has accomplished that feat. In addition to ’90 and ’99, KC also did it in ’68 when the club was +22. KC is seeking to become just the eighth team since ’90 to finish +20 or better. KC would be the only team since ’90 to accomplish that feat three times.
The Chiefs are 33-4 (.892) at Arrowhead with a positive takeaway margin dating back to ’95. KC has won 13 of its last 14 contests at Arrowhead when even or plus in the turnover column. Over its 12-game home winning streak KC owns a +15 turnover differential (27 takes/12 gives). KC is +8 in its last three Arrowhead contests vs. NFC foes.
Dating back to 2002, the Bears are just 2-12 in contests with a negative turnover ratio. However, in last week’s win vs. Washington, the club was -2. The Bears are 1-15 in road games with a negative giveaway/takeaway mark under Dick Jauron, including a string of 13 consecutive losses under those circumstances. Chicago has boasted an even or positive turnover mark in nine of its 11 victories since the start of the 2002 season.
The Arrowhead Advantage vs. NFC Opponents
Dating back to the ’95 season, Kansas City owns a 15-2 (.882) mark vs. NFC foes at Arrowhead, the NFL’s best home interconference record over that span (10-game minimum). The Chiefs currently rank just ahead of Denver (15-3, .833) and Green Bay (14-3, .824) in that department. However, Chicago has won four straight vs. AFC opponents dating back to 2002, including a 19-10 win at Denver (11/23). The Bears last interconference loss was a 27-9 setback at Miami (12/9/02).
QB Trent Green Has Enjoyed a Stellar Season Under Center
QB Trent Green earned his initial Pro Bowl berth in 2003 and has registered seven games with a 100.0+ rating, a figure that ties with CIN’s John Kitna for the most in the NFL this season. Over his last 10 starts, Green has completed 227 of 359 passes (63.2%) for 2,921 yards with 17 TDs and just five INTs. Those numbers translate into a 98.7 rating and a 3.40 TD-to-INT ratio. Only Steve McNair (3.43) has a better TD-to-INT ratio in 2003 than Green’s mark over his last 10 starts. Green is already at or near the top of several single-season passing categories in KC history.
RB Priest Holmes Within Striking Distance of NFL TD Records
RB Priest Holmes is within striking distance of sole possession of a pair of prestigious NFL single-season scoring records. Holmes’ 25 rushing TDs are tied for the league mark established by Emmitt Smith in ’95. Holmes needs just two more scores to surpass Marshall Faulk’s total TD mark of 26 set in 2000. Holmes (46 in 2002-03) is also tied with Smith (46 in ’94-95) for the most rushing TDs over a two-year span in NFL annals. Holmes has 59 total TDs as a member of the Chiefs and also needs just one more to surpass the KC record of 60 owned by WR Otis Taylor.
Holmes Is the NFL’s Most Productive RB Dating Back to 2001
If Holmes’ scoring stats weren’t staggering enough, no NFL RB owns more rushing yards (4,540), receiving yards (1,970) or total yards from scrimmage (6,510) dating back to the start of the 2001 campaign than Holmes. Miami’s Ricky Williams (4,397) is second in rushing yards, Oakland’s Charlie Garner (1,886) is second in receiving yards while SD’s LaDainian Tomlinson (5,885) is second in total yards from scrimmage. Note that both GB’s Ahman Green and OAK’s Garner will play on Monday night.
Hall Owns KC’s Single-Season Combined Net Yards Mark
WR Dante Hall has enjoyed the most prolific season in Chiefs history with 2,341 combined net yards (73 rushing, 420 receiving, 440 on punt returns and 1,408 on kickoff returns). Hall (17.60) is also in position to surpass the Chiefs single-season record for punt return average which was established by Abner Haynes during the club’s inaugural season in ’60. In addition to tying or breaking several other single-season records, Hall has established KC single-game records for punt return average (35.00 vs. Denver – 10/5) and kickoff return average (48.67 vs. Pittsburgh – 9/14).
Regular Season Finales, Visiting QBs and Coaches at Arrowhead
The Chiefs are 10-2 when their final regular season contest of the year is played at Arrowhead. KC’s only losses came in ’99 (OAK) and ‘74 (MIN). The Bears are 3-10 in regular season finales dating back to ’90 with a 1-5 mark on the road … KC has won 15 of its last 16 games against QBs in their first or second year as NFL starters who are making their initial appearance as a starter at Arrowhead. The last such QB to guide his club to victory at Arrowhead was Seattle’s Jon Kitna (11/21/99). Bears QB Rex Grossman is 2-0 as an NFL starter and is expected to open just his third NFL game at Arrowhead … Since ’94, the Chiefs are 19-4 against opposing head coaches making their initial regular season visit to Arrowhead.