GOING FOR IT ALL
Oakland at Kansas City: November 6, 2005
G.U.T.S. - that was the theme of this showdown with Oakland.
Grieving QB Trent Green had buried his 58-year old father earlier in the week and both the Chiefs and Raiders were battered with injuries. It was an emotional day that sparked emotional late-game decisions and yet another classic finish between the two bitter rivals.
Green’s father was always in the stands. When Trent was a quarterback at Indiana University, Jim would attend both the home and away games. In the pros, Green’s father often made it to games even if Trent was just the backup quarterback.
When it came to Trent’s games at Arrowhead, Jim never missed.
He sat in the same seat every week – around the 30-yard line just behind the Chiefs bench and towards the west end zone. A familiar face, Jim made friends with many Chiefs fans who sat in that section each week.
“He’s never missed a game in Arrowhead, no matter if I was with the Redskins or the Rams or whoever,” Green said. “Anytime I played in Arrowhead he has been here and the fact that they have had the same season tickets now for five years and the same seats, it was just hard.”
On this Sunday, Green arrived at Arrowhead much earlier than usual. He wanted to make a trip into the stands prior to warm-ups.
Before anyone had taken the field, Green walked up to the seat that had stood out from the crowd for so long. It was always an area of comfort - a place he knew to look for regardless of the on-field situation.
“I actually wanted to make sure that nobody sat in his seat, just because I know if the seats are left open people move down and get in there,” Green explained. “I had gotten to the stadium a little bit early and put a little sign as a tribute on the seat and kind of taped the seat so nobody would sit on it.”
Green played well in his father’s honor, completing over 60% of his passes for 235 yards with a TD. But while Green had to battle mentally, the Chiefs were working without a slew of starters because of physical ailments.
Kansas City’s injury report was filled with big names throughout the week. In addition to Green, RB Priest Holmes, T Willie Roaf as well as CB Patrick Surtain and Dexter McCleon each missed practice sessions throughout the week.
None dressed on gameday outside of Green, but the Chiefs showed heart despite playing short-handed.
Operating under the standard Chiefs vs. Raiders template, a wild fourth quarter led to a game-deciding play in the closing seconds.
Trailing by three points with the ball on the one-yard line, no timeouts remaining and only five seconds left on the clock, Chiefs Head Coach Dick Vermeil had to make one of the toughest calls in football.
A chip-shot field goal would have sent the game to overtime. An offensive play would be the game’s final snap one way or another.
Along with the encouragement 79,000 Chiefs fans, Vermeil opted to roll the dice despite his backup running back lining up behind a battered offensive line.
Instead of playing for the tie, Vermeil called “20 Z Blast” – a play that put the ball in the hands of Larry Johnson. All-Pro G Will Shields and T John Welbourn would be the primary blockers with Pro Bowl G
This was an all-or-nothing moment.
“We just told Larry to get up and over the top,” Vermeil said.
Johnson took the handoff and did exactly what he was instructed to do. His leap, though not very high, was enough to carry him into the end zone and past the goal line.
“I just wanted to get my footing down and those guys did an awesome job up front,” Johnson said. “I just [planned] to jump up in there because I didn’t think a lot of people would hit me in the head. I didn’t go up very far, but I went up straight. I’m glad I landed in the end zone.”
Kansas City had claimed a 27-23 victory on the final play call that truly went for it all.
“That was a big, big call right there,” TE Tony Gonzalez said. “Normally coaches don’t make calls like that. [Everyone on the sideline] was like, ‘No, no we should go for it.’”
In the end, it was an emotional day capped off by an emotional decision.
“We gave the game ball to Trent Green’s family and, believe me [his father] was there when I made that last call,” Vermeil said. “Wow, was I scared! I just figured, ‘I’m too old to wait.’ You can do everything by the books all the time.”
FROM THE VAULT: GAME NOTES (11/6/05)
Shields Plays in 200th Consecutive Game: G Will Shields started his 199th consecutive game and played in his 200th consecutive game, extending his team records in both areas. Shields joined K Nick Lowery (212) and P Jerrel Wilson (203) as the only players in franchise history to own 200 or more regular season game appearances.
Other Starting/Playing Streaks & Notes: QB Trent Green started his 72nd consecutive game, the longest string by a QB in KC history and the fourth-longest active QB streak in the NFL. LS Kendall Gammon extended his streak of consecutive games played to 216, the longest active streak of any non-kicker in the NFL.
Chiefs Extend Winning Streak vs. Raiders: KC has won six consecutive games against the Raiders, the club’s longest streak since producing a seven-game victory string against Oakland from ’93-96. All six of KC’s victories in its current victory streak against Oakland have come by seven points or less. Dating back to ’90, the Chiefs have posted a 13-3 regular season record against the Raiders at Arrowhead. KC has now won four straight home contests vs. Oakland.
Defensive Notes: Kansas City’s defense has allowed just three points in the first quarter of four games at Arrowhead in 2005. The Chiefs allowed 162 net passing yards vs. Oakland. It marked the third time this season that Kansas City has allowed 200 or fewer net passing yards. The Chiefs allowed 137 net passing yards at Denver (9/26/05) and 192 at Miami (10/21).
Johnson’s Day: RB Larry Johnson registered his second 100-yard rushing game of the season and the fifth of his career with a 107-yard effort. Johnson scored on 15 and one-yard TD runs. It was the seventh game of his career with two or more TDs. Johnson now has six rushing TDs on the season and 16 in his career. In four games vs. Oakland, Johnson has recorded 76 rushing attempts for 345 yards and six TDs.
Green’s Fourth-Quarter Performance: QB Trent Green has led his club to victory when tied or trailing in the fourth quarter 17 times during his career. Sunday’s game vs. Oakland was his 14th game-winning fourth-quarter performance as a member of the Chiefs. Green has not thrown an INT in his last 145 attempts dating back to a contest vs. Philadelphia (10/2).
Richardson TD: FB Tony Richardson registered his first receiving TD of the season with a six-yard TD catch from QB Trent Green. It was the ninth TD reception of his career and his first since doing it vs. Oakland (10/27/02).
Wesley’s INT Streak: S Greg Wesley registered an INT for a third consecutive game, becoming the first Chiefs player to accomplish that feat since LB Donnie Edwards did it (10/3/99 – 10/21/99). It was the 23rd INT of Wesley’s career, moving him into a tie with DB Jim Kearney for 11th in Chiefs history.
Goin’ Gonzo: TE Tony Gonzalez has caught a pass in 76 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in KC history.
Sack Stats: LB Kawika Mitchell posted his second sack of the season (-13.0 yards). He now has 3.0 career sacks.
Tynes’ FG Streak: K Lawrence Tynes connected on FGs of 27 and 47 yards. He has made a FG in 11 consecutive games dating back to a 45-17 win vs. Denver (12/19/04), tying as the third-longest streak in franchise history. Tynes has made 13 consecutive FG attempts dating back to a 23-17 win vs. Oakland (9/18/05).
Injuries: CB Eric Warfield (hip pointer).