Meanwhile the Chiefs were doing nothing with the Chicago defense, led by Dick Butkus at middle linebacker. Then suddenly it started to happen. "We figured out what they were doing defensively, and we started to catch them with our fast counts as they were shifting their defenses," said Chiefs' Quarterback Lennie Dawson. "And they were covering Otis Taylor real close. I don't think they knew our personnel, because otherwise they would have known that you can't cover Otis too close or else he'll be gone all the time."
Taylor was. Flaring out to either side in a variation of the I the Chiefs call the Cock-I, the flanker back seemed to move at will. Toward the end of the first quarter, Dawson rolled right at his own 30 on one of the Chiefs' play-action passes, stopped and fired to Taylor down along the sidelines. He was standing alone when he caught the ball, and in a matter of moments he high-stepped away from Bennie McRae, who had rushed up, and was gone for a touchdown. The Chiefs scored touchdowns the next four times they had the ball, with Dawson passing for three of them and Mike Garrett running for the fourth. They led 39-10 at the half. The Bears' only touchdown came when Dick Gordon returned a kickoff 103 yards.
"I figured," said Dawson, "that once we got them playing our type of game we could do everything we wanted. Then it got like any game that is out of hand—a little ridiculous." The Chiefs simply were a better team, deeper and smarter, and they had an offense that the Bears had never seen in a game before and probably hope they will never see again. "It was easier to win," said Hank Stram, "than to explain why we didn't."
Two nights later in Buffalo Joe Collier had some difficulty trying to explain why the Bills had lost to the Washington Redskins in the final 45 seconds, while next door Joe Kuharich was saying, "We were the ones who lucked out at the end this time."
The Bills and the Eagles were a close match. Buffalo's defensive line, the best in the AFL and somewhat comparable to the front four of the Los Angeles Rams, and linebackers—Mike Stratton, Harry Jacobs and John Tracey, who have started 72 straight games together—harnessed the Eagles' running game, but the Bills' secondary was weak against Snead's passes, especially to Tight End Ditka. The Eagles' left side on defense, Don Hultz, Floyd Peters and Linebacker Mike Morgan, forced the Bills to concentrate the other way, and Scarpati in the secondary helped to compensate for some of Taft Reed's mistakes. "The longest night of my life," said Reed, trying to explain how Powell and Dubenion caught all those passes.
If anything, the interleague exhibitions so far have proved that American League football, in general, is still behind the NFL on a collective basis, although Kansas City, for one, could play any NFL team today with an equal chance of winning. The Chiefs' overpowering victory impressed everyone except, perhaps, Buffalo's Collier.
"What does it prove?" he asked. "What do they all prove? Chicago wasn't that good, and these are exhibitions. They mean a lot to the fans, maybe, but not really that much to the players and the coaches. The only way to find out how good the respective leagues are is to play during the regular season, when you use your best offensive and defensive personnel the entire game. Then you can learn something."
Maybe so, but as Mike Pyle, the offensive captain of the Chicago Bears, reflected on the debacle in Kansas City: "We didn't get beat by a bunch of plumbers."