KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A story in Sunday's Kansas City Star questioning the military background of Kansas City Coach Frank Gansz helped motivate the Chiefs to a 41-20 victory over the Seattle Seahawks Sunday.
The loss dropped the Seahawks to 9-6 and they will play the Houston Oilers next Sunday at the Astrodome in the AFC wild-card game. The Chiefs finished 4-11 in Gansz's first year.
The Star's copyright story said military records and interviews did not support several stories about Gansz, including that he flew combat missions, lettered in football at the Naval Academy and earned the nickname "Crash" for piloting a stricken jet, by himself, to an emergency landing.
"It made me mad. It made everybody on this team mad," defensive back Albert Lewis said. "We think they're just trying to make Crash look bad, and it really teed us off."
Mark Adickes, who caught a three-yard touchdown pass on a tackle-eligible play, said: "I don't know what their motivation was for writing that story, but it did help get us pumped up."
Seattle's Steve Largent caught the 751st pass of his 12-year career in the second quarter to surpass Charlie Joiner's all-time NFL record of 750, and also had a 15-yard touchdown reception and gained 21 yards on an end-around.
But most of the big plays belonged to the Chiefs, including Paul Palmer's 92-yard kickoff return touchdown.
The Chiefs, who have not lost a regular-season finale in eight years and have not lost at home to Seattle since 1980, jumped to a 17-7 lead in the first quarter and had a 27-20 halftime lead. Their advantage went to 34-20 early in the third quarter when Bill Kenney executed a perfect fake to Herman Heard up the middle and lobbed the ball to Adickes in the back of the end zone.
Heard ran 37 yards for a touchdown on Kansas City's first possession, then Largent tied it, 7-7, with his touchdown reception.
Later, Carlos Carson teamed with Kenney on an 81-yard touchdown bomb, the Chiefs' longest scoring play in more than two years, to make it 17-7.
Seattle scored in the second quarter on Dave Krieg's eight-yard scoring pass to Paul Skansi, then Palmer got the points back with his 92-yard kickoff return.
Seattle's Norm Johnson had field goals of 39 and 24 yards later in the second quarter, and the Chiefs' Nick Lowery kicked a 44-yarder to make it 27-20 at halftime.
The Chiefs burned Seattle's defense with another long scoring strike early in the fourth period when Stephone Paige took a pass over the middle and beat Eugene Robinson on a 46-yard touchdown play for a 41-20 lead.
Seattle running back Curt Warner suffered a sprained ankle in the third period and did not return. His status for the playoffs has not been decided.