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Wednesday, October 15, 2003
Chiefs' unbeaten streak on line against Oakland


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It was easily the worst game the Kansas City Chiefs have played since Dick Vermeil became coach in 2001.

With Priest Holmes sidelined by a hip injury that would eventually require surgery, the Oakland Raiders put a 24-0 licking on Kansas City last Dec. 28.

The Super Bowl-bound Raiders handed the Chiefs their first shutout in 139 games, rushing for 280 yards against an embarrassing 44 for Kansas City.

How quickly things change. Monday night in Oakland, the Chiefs (6-0) will be out to win their seventh in a row and remain unbeaten while the Raiders (2-4) will be out to save their season.

"Obviously, this is a huge week for us," Oakland wide receiver Tim Brown said Monday. "They'll come in here with pitchforks and shovels looking to bury us. We've got to fight tooth-and-nail to keep that from happening."

One key for the Chiefs will be improving their run defense. Although the Chiefs' record is perfect, the team's defense has not been -- allowing 132 yards rushing per game, 27th in the league.

The Raiders are averaging a shade under 90 yards on the ground.

Green Bay's Ahman Green ran for 139 yards last Sunday before he lost a fumble that led directly to Trent Green's game-winning touchdown pass in overtime.

"We've been facing some pretty good running backs in the last few weeks," cornerback Eric Warfield said. "Jamal Lewis, Clinton Portis, Ahman Green. But there's no doubt we have to do a better job."

A major problem against the Packers was the defensive line, which had one of its worst games and allowed Green Bay blockers to get out to the linebackers.

"There's a special emphasis being made by my defensive coaches to improve the play of the defensive line. We're too talented not to play better," Vermeil said.

The 66-year-old Vermeil is the only coach to have three different teams start 6-0. In each case, in Philadelphia in 1982 and St. Louis in 1999, his teams lost the seventh game.

It will be Vermeil's first appearance on Monday night as a head coach since his Philadelphia Eagles played in Miami in 1981.

"I know emotionally they're going to be very up for this game," Brown said. "They're going to have a lot more confidence than us because of what's happened the last couple of weeks. We know they're not going to make many mistakes. But when they do, we've got to take advantage of them."