Holmes helps Chiefs stay grounded in win

Ex-Raven leads way with 2 TDs, 125 of K.C.'s 178 rushing yards

October 05, 2004|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

Kansas City running back Priest Holmes was absolutely correct. The team that won last night's Ravens-Chiefs game was the team that ran the ball better.

That team was the Chiefs and it wasn't even close.

With 33 carries, Holmes had 125 of Kansas City's 178 rushing yards - to go along with two touchdowns - in the Chiefs' 27-24 win last night at M&T Bank Stadium.

Meanwhile, the Ravens got just 80 rushing yards as Jamal Lewis, who was once an understudy to Holmes when the two were teammates in 2000, was held to 73 yards on 15 attempts.

The Chiefs' dominance on the ground added to their 39:43 to 20:17 advantage in time of possession.

"It feels good," said Holmes, who wasn't signed by the Ravens because they thought he was too small to carry the ball 30 times a game and Ravens coach Brian Billick questioned his passion for the game. "It was just power football. I am blessed to be running behind one of the best offensive lines in football."

Holmes broke the Ravens' nine-game streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher. Former Miami Dolphin Ricky Williams was the last back to reach the 100-yard mark before Holmes. Williams hit it on Nov. 6 last year.

"We were coming off the ball, just knocking the heck out of them," said Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil. "It wasn't too fancy. That's a good football team, but I thought we showed good patience and executed."

The Ravens came into the game with the 10th-best rushing defense in the league, allowing 95.7 yards per game. The Chiefs, led by Holmes' 77 yards on 22 carries, had 105 yards by halftime.

And things didn't get much better in the second half.

The Chiefs took the opening kickoff of the second half 60 yards, resulting in a 38-yard field goal by Lawrence Tynes and a 20-17 Kansas City lead. On that drive, Holmes rushed four times for 24 yards, including a 16-yard run behind right tackle John Welbourn.

It was Holmes' 2-yard run three plays later that put him at 101 yards, a total that would continue to rise as Kansas City often ran right at Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis with linemen like Willie Roaf and Will Shields leading the way.

"You have to run right at Ray Lewis and make him take on blocks," said Roaf. "That's what worked for us. And once it started working, we just stayed with it."

On the Chiefs next scoring drive, Holmes teamed with backup Derrick Blaylock (six carries for 28 yards) to carry the load. Three straight Blaylock carries gained 17 yards and after Trent Green's 14-yard completion to Chris Horn, Holmes got the ball three consecutive times.

The last carry resulted in a leaping 1-yard touchdown run and a 27-17 lead, an advantage the Chiefs would never give up.

Holmes entered Week 4 second in the NFL in rushing, with 351 yards on 74 carries. Kansas City averaged 148 yards a game on the ground, the sixth-best total in the NFL, but they eclipsed that last night.

"I just felt that we wore them down with our offensive line," said Vermeil. "We were just getting chunks of yardage."

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