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PRO FOOTBALL : Starter or Not, McNeil Does the Job : After Demotion Last Week, He Leads Jets Past Chiefs, 16-9

November 16, 1987| From Times Wire Services

KANSAS CITY — Running back Freeman McNeil, who lost his starting job last week prior to a Monday night game against Seattle, has now helped the New York Jets win two straight.

McNeil rushed for 184 yards in the rain Sunday and moved the Jets into position for the game's only touchdown in a 16-9 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, who lost a franchise-record eighth consecutive game.

"My attitude was to go out and be able to do the things they wanted me to do," McNeil said. "Looking over the past few weeks, it was a tough experience for me."

A steady rain kept the offense on the ground and McNeil, benched in favor of Johnny Hector last week, capitalized with Hector sidelined by an injury. His 184-yard effort is the third-best of his seven-year career.

He came off the bench last Monday night against Seattle for the first time in his career and set up two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Sunday's victory kept New York (5-4) tied for first place with Indianapolis in the AFC East.

"It was a tough day offensively with the downpour," Jet Coach Joe Walton said. "We stuck to our two tight end offense, which is a power running type offense."

Ken O'Brien's 18-yard touchdown pass to Al Toon was set up by three runs by McNeil and a fourth by Dennis Bligen. When Toon came off the line and cut to the left, cornerback Kevin Ross tried to follow but slipped on the wet turf, leaving Toon wide open to give the Jets a 13-9 lead with 11:04 left.

New York's Pat Leahy kicked field goals of 39, 24 and 21 yards to counter the kicks of 42, 43 and 18 yards by the Chiefs' Nick Lowery.

"We made a lot of adjustments," McNeil said. "We just kept going to what worked the best for us."

Frank Seurer became the fifth player to start at quarterback for the Chiefs (1-8) this season. Seurer's only previous NFL experience came on three plays at wide receiver last season and four plays on which he held kicks last week.

In his first NFL game at quarterback, Seurer completed 13 of 23 passes for 233 yards, but threw 3 interceptions.

"That's the way it goes in the NFL, there are going to be mistakes out there," Kansas City Coach Frank Gansz said. "It was (Seurer's) first NFL game. I told him, 'Frankie, just go play and keep getting better.' "

New York pushed its lead to seven points in the fourth quarter when Carl Howard intercepted a pass by Seurer. Howard returned the ball 29 yards, and eight plays later Leahy kicked his 21-yarder.

Dave Jennings of the Jets became the all-time NFL leader in punt yardage with a first-quarter kick. He has 46,284 yards in punts over his 14-year career.

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