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Chiefs deny Bledsoe down the stretch

11/17/2002

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- With the steely nerve of a riverboat
gambler, Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Eric Warfield took one of
the bigger risks of his NFL career.

Question on the Bills: What's happened to their offense in the past two games?
It's difficult to keep up offensive momentum when the season changes from October to November to December. No matter where you play (except for San Diego or a domed stadium), you'll face weather conditions that will challenge your productivity. Also, teams are preparing better for the Bills. But the change in weather will affect many offenses as the season continues.

Question on the Chiefs: What's been the key to their turnaround on defense?
They've stuck with and believed in their system. In recent weeks, the Chiefs have tackled well, especially in the secondary. They're getting good pressure on the QB. They've kept it simple -- blitzing some, but mainly playing a zone that allows receivers to make catches in front of the defensive backs. And then they've come up and made tackles.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

As Buffalo quarterback Drew Bledsoe prepared to let fly with the
potential game-winning touchdown pass, Warfield deliberately let
Peerless Price, one of the league's most dangerous receivers, get a
step on him deep.

On a dead run, Price put out his hands. But at the last second,
Warfield leaped high for a perfectly timed interception with 4:14
left to preserve the Chiefs' 17-16 victory over the Bills on
Sunday.

"Instead of trying to make a break earlier, I let Drew think he
had the lead on me. Right at the last minute, I just broke
underneath. He thought he thought he had a step on me. Yet he
didn't.''

"Eric Warfield won the game for us,'' linebacker Scott Fujita
said.

Chiefs quarterback Trent Green, not known for his mobility,
darted 9 yards up the middle for the go-ahead touchdown with 4:45
to play.

"A lane opened up, so I took off,'' he said. "Then I saw those
guys closing hard. So I just closed my eyes and dove as hard as I
could.''

After Warfield's interception, Priest Holmes gained 49 yards on
six carries to help the Chiefs (5-5) run out the clock.

In describing his clinching play, Warfield said he'd stopped a
similar pass toward Price earlier in the game and recognized this
one immediately.

"I kind of knew his speed from covering him throughout the
game,'' Warfield said. "I didn't figure he would run past me.
That's when I gave him the step.''

Bledsoe agreed Warfield made the play of the game.

"I should have brought Peerless across the field more than I
did, rather than taking him straight up the field,'' he said.
"That guy made a great play on the ball.''

Mike Hollis kicked three field goals for the Bills (5-5), whose
high-powered offense failed for the second game in a row to get two
touchdowns.

Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil began to weep when he talked about all
the criticism Warfield has taken in what's been a rough season for
the fifth-year cornerback.

"I would say it's his best game, because he competed against
what we all gave credit to as the league's finest skilled receiving
tandem,'' Vermeil said.

Buffalo, which started the day tied with Miami and New England
in the AFC East, took a 16-10 lead on Hollis' 27-yarder late in the
third period.

Bledsoe was 24-of-36 for 225 yards and became just the fifth man
in NFL history to pass for more than 3,000 yards in his first 10
games.

Holmes, who finished with 104 yards on 31 carries, gave Kansas
City a 7-0 lead in the first quarter with a 4-yard run.

The Bills had first-and-goal from the 5 early in the second
period, but Hollis wound up kicking a 23-yarder.

Buffalo then took the Chiefs completely with an onside kick. But
again the Bills blew a great touchdown opportunity after getting a
first down at the 11 and having a 9-yard pass to Eric Moulds that
was first ruled a touchdown overturned on review.

The Bills then settled for Hollis' 33-yarder that made it 7-6.

A 15-yard facemask penalty on Buffalo defensive lineman Pat
Williams helped set up Morten Andersen's 38-yard field goal with
6:40 left in the half as the Chiefs took a 10-6 lead.

Moulds beat backup cornerback Corey Harris on a 7-yard TD pass
with 32 seconds left to give the Bills a 13-10 lead. Harris had
come into the game a few minutes earlier after cornerback William
Bartee went out with an ankle injury.

Hollis' third field goal capped a frustrating 71-yard drive,
after the Bills failed to overcome 30 yards in penalties, including
a 15-yard unnecessary-roughness call on Price for shoving Warfield
after Price caught a 9-yard reception.

"If that's a personal foul, then this game has gotten real
soft,'' said Price.''

Travis Henry had 126 yards on 24 carries for the Bills.

Game notes
Chiefs K Morten Andersen was wide left on a 45-yard field
goal attempt with just over 12 minutes left in the game. It was
only the second miss in 22 attempts for Andersen, the NFL's
second-leading career scorer. ... Kansas City TE Tony Gonzalez
caught two passes for 17 yards, moving him past Kimble Anders into
fifth place on the Chiefs' career receptions list. Gonzalez has 378
and needs 47 more to pass Henry Marshall for the most catches in
team history.