Work in Sports
What We Learned
Three things we know after the Rams-Chiefs game
Updated: Monday October 23, 2000 9:21 AM
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- And now there is one. Only the Minnesota Vikings (7-0) remain unbeaten in the NFL following Kansas City's shockingly easy 54-34 dismantling of the Super Bowl defending champion St. Louis Rams on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. Sports Illustrated's Don Banks checks in with three observations from the game:
Before he left in the fourth quarter with a contusion of his throwing elbow, Grbac was having another stellar game. He finished with 18 completions in 30 attempts, 266 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Grbac has now tossed a pair of scoring passes in five consecutive games, and 10 of his last 11 dating to 1999.
Grbac showed he can do more than dink and dunk his way down the field against the Rams, completing several mid-range throws to tight end Tony Gonzalez and, and receivers Derrick Alexander and Sylvester Morris. He threw a 30-yard touchdown to Morris, and a 9-yarder to Gonzalez.
Grbac's production this season is linked to the fact that Kansas City has its best trio of receivers -- with the aforementioned Morris, Alexander and Gonzalez -- in a long time. Grbac's 16 touchdown passes in seven games is the most by a Chiefs quarterback since Len Dawson had the same number through seven games in 1964. Grbac has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 13 consecutive games, only one fewer than Dawson's team record from 1964-65. Grbac's 30 attempts without an interception give him 106 consecutive passes without a pick, dating to the fourth quarter against Denver in Week 4.
X-rays of Grbac's elbow were negative and showed no breaks or tears. He has soreness and said the next couple days should determine how much he can practice this week before Kansas City's game at Seattle next Sunday. Grbac was replaced by Warren Moon, 43, who led the Chiefs to their final touchdown drive, and completed 3-of-3 for 78 yards and a scoring pass.
"I think [I'll be able to play]," Grbac said. "I'm a pretty quick healer."
2. By virtue of their 2-2 home record entering Sunday's "Show-Me Showdown" against cross-state rival St. Louis, it would have been easy to make the case that the Kansas City Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium dominance was a trend of the past. But not necessarily. In certain specific situations, the Chiefs are as unbeatable as ever at home.
The situation? When they entertain undefeated teams who are 4-0 or better. Since 1990, it has happened four times, including St. Louis' first loss of the season Sunday. The Rams entered 6-0 and hadn't lost since last year's regular-season finale at Philadelphia.
"If you look back to Chiefs history, every time a team has come into Arrowhead undefeated, we beat them," Kansas City linebacker Donnie Edwards said. "For some reason, we do extremely well against undefeated teams at Arrowhead."
For the record, New England was 4-0 in 1999 and lost to the Chiefs 16-14 at Arrowhead. In 1992, Philadelphia entered 4-0 and lost 24-17 at Kansas City. And in 1991, Super Bowl-bound Buffalo was 5-0 when they dropped a 33-6 decision at Arrowhead. In addition, the Chiefs ended San Francisco's 11-game winning streak in 1997 by winning at Arrowhead.
Rams first-year head coach Mike Martz was making his first trip into Arrowhead on Sunday. Since 1994, the Chiefs are now 16-1 against opposing head coaches making their initial regular-season visit to the stadium. Kansas City is also 10-1 against first or second-year starting quarterbacks (like the Rams' Kurt Warner) who are making their first ever trip to Arrowhead.
3. With apologies to tight end Tony Gonzalez's record-setting day -- his third 100-yard game of the season -- the best discovery that the Chiefs made Sunday was the return of their running game. Running back Kimble Anders had 102 yards on 13 carries, despite not having a carry in the first half.
For the first time in his career, Anders had two rushing touchdowns, six yards in the third quarter and four yards in the fourth quarter. His triple-digit showing was made possible by a 69-yard open-field gallop in the fourth quarter, the longest of his career.
"I knew they were a fast team," Anders said. "So when I broke through the line of scrimmage on that long run, I was kind of surprised that I was all alone. I think that when I looked behind me and I didn't see anyone closer than they were, I got so surprised that I stumbled a little bit [and got caught from behind]."
Chiefs head coach Gunther Cunningham just last week installed Anders as his No. 1 running back, shelving the rushing-by-committee approach that had gone nowhere for Kansas City this season.
Kansas City finished with 106 yards rushing on 22 attempts (4.8-yard average) despite having just one yard on seven rushes at the half. Anders' 100-yard day snapped St. Louis' streak of not allowing an individual to rush for 100 yards or more in 24 games, which was tied with Baltimore for the league high.
Gonzalez, by the way, had five catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. That gives him 201 career catches, making him the most prolific receiving tight end in Chiefs history, surpassing Fred Arbanas (198 catches, from 1962-70). Gonzalez reached 200 catches faster (54 games) than all but one receiver in K.C. history. Wide receiver Chris Burford needed just 52 games to reach that milestone. He played with Kansas City from 1960-67.