Chiefs Crush Defenseless Rams

A broken little finger on Kurt Warner's right hand could sideline the NFL passing leader 4-6 weeks, the St. Louis Rams say.

Nonsense, says Warner, whose team also might be without Marshall Faulk .

"I'm going to be at home praying to try to get back next week," said the NFL's top passer, who was injured right before halftime of Kansas City's 54-34 victory over the previously unbeaten Super Bowl champs. "I'm not saying I'm going to be out for four weeks."

Warner, last season's NFL and Super Bowl MVP, was hurt on what Rams coach Mike Martz said was the key play of the game. Trailing 27-14, the Rams (6-1) had driven to the Kansas City 8. But the ball was fumbled on the center snap and Kansas City (4-3) recovered.

Warner said the ball hit his finger in an unusual way, causing the fumble and what he first thought was a dislocation.

"The ball came up and came off my fingers," Warner said. "I popped it back in but they X-rayed it and it was broken. I just didn't have any strength in it."

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  • Faulk injured his left shoulder in the second half, but returned to the game.

    "Marshall unfortunately may be down," said Martz. "I'm really concerned about him. They said it was a bruise, but he was in a lot of pain after the game."

    Although backup Trent Green passed for 205 yards and three touchdowns, the suspect defense coughed up 37 points in the second half as the Rams lost in Game 7 after starting 6-0 for the second straight year.

    "We thought we had the momentum moving our way right before the half and we fumbled that ball. That took the wind out of our sails," said Martz.

    "Football is a game of momentum. I think the critical play was when we fumbled right at the end of the half.

    The Chiefs lost quarterback Elvis Grbac to a bruised right elbow on their last play of the third quarter. But he was luckier than Warner, and hopes to be back next week.

    "The X-rays were negative," said Grbac, who was 18-of-30 for 266 yards and two TDs. "I can move it around a little bit and we'll see what it does the next couple of days."

    The 54 points were the most the Chiefs have scored at Arrowhead Stadium and the game total of 88 was second-most in team history.

    "We're obviously a lot bigger than they are," said Chiefs coach Gunther Cunningham, who walked around the locker room hugging every player. "There were a lot of collisions out there."

    While losing to Tennessee 24-21 last year in the seventh game, also their first game of the year on grass, the Rams fell behind 21-0 in the first quarter.

    In this one, they trailed 20-0 before a raucous sellout crowd of 79,142.

    "I said all week that we could match up with them," said cornerback James Hasty, who intercepted Warner's second pass of the game and got the runaway started. "It was nose-to-nose. It was a street battle, really."

    Green came into the game trailing 34-14 after the Chiefs scored on their first possession of the second half. Grbac was replaced by 43-year-old Warren Moon, who was 3-for-3 for 78 yards and one TD.

    Warner, the NFL's top-rated quarterback leading an offense averaging more than 500 yards, was 15-for-25 for 185 yards, with one TD and interceptions in two of the Rams' first three possessions.

    In their first three possessions, the Chiefs got the ball on the St. Louis 25, 49, and 36, and came away with Frank Moreau's 2-yard touchdown run and field goals of 20 and 34 yards by Todd Peterson.

    Mike Cloud then scooped up a blocked punt on the 6 and half crawled, half ran into the end zone, shocking the Rams and probably even themselves with a 20-0 lead with almost three minutes remaining in the quarter.

    The Rams recovered early in the second quarter with an 80-yard drive capped by Faulk's 1-yard run on fourth down. But the Chiefs came right back with a 71-yard march, aided by a 47-yard pass interference penalty on Todd Lyght and capped by Grbac's 9-yard pass to Tony Gonzalez.

    That made it 27-7, then Tony Horne's 34-yard kickoff return helped set up Warner's 18-yard touchdown pass to Torry Holt.

    Grbac's 30-yrd TD pass to Derrick Alexander put the Chiefs on top 34-14 on their first possession of the second half. But Green connected with Roland Williams for a 31-yard score before Greg Wesley intercepted Green's pass and ran it back 28 yards, leading to Kimble Anders' 6-yard TD run.

    Horne's 66-yard kickoff return led to Green's 22-yard TD pass to Isaac Bruce, then Moon threw 31- and 39-yard completions to set up a 4-yard TD run by Anders that put the Chiefs on top 47-28.

    "It was a scoring orgy," said Chiefs center Tim Grunhard.

    A few minutes later, Anders' 69-yard run from scrimmage set up Moon's 8-yard TD pass to Troy Drayton. The Rams' last TD came on Green's 4-yard pass to Bruce.

    Warner became the third starting quarterback knocked from the game this year by the Chiefs, who also took out Tennessee's Steve McNair and San Diego's Moses Moreno.

    "It's a habit I hope we can continue," said linebacker Lew Bush.

    Notes

  • The late Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan was honored with a moment of silence before the game. Carnahan would have been at the game, but was killed Monday night in a plane crash.
  • The Rams were the only NFL team never to lose a regular-season game in Arrowhead Stadium.
  • The 20-0 first quarter broke the Rams' record of scoring in the first quarter in 31 straight games.
  • The Chiefs have had 100-yard receivers in five consecutive games for the first time.
  • Kicker Pete Stoyanovich, signed by the Rams last week after being cut by the Chiefs, was booed while kicking extra points and laughed at when one kickoff got only to the 20.


    ©2000 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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