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Johnson's Scrambling Gives Bills a Leg Up

November 20, 2000|From Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Who says Rob Johnson can't scramble?

Nobody on the Kansas City defense, at least not anymore.

When Buffalo Coach Wade Phillips benched popular, nimble-footed Doug Flutie and announced Johnson would start Sunday, it figured to benefit the Chiefs. After all, Kansas City lost the two previous weeks to shifty quarterbacks at Oakland and San Francisco.

But Johnson threw two touchdown passes and got the go-ahead score on a Flutie-like scramble in the fourth quarter to lead the Bills to a 21-17 victory.

"I don't know what [the Chiefs] estimated me as, scrambling-wise," said Johnson, who sat out four games because of a shoulder injury while Flutie went 3-1. "If they didn't think I could scramble, then that was good."

With the Bills (7-4) trailing 17-14 with about three minutes to play, Johnson was sacked for a five-yard loss on second down at the Kansas City 12. Then, again under pressure, he scrambled out of the pocket and jumped to the end-zone pylon.

Officials first ruled that Marvcus Patton and William Bartee shoved him out of bounds on the one-yard line. But the Bills got the call reversed, making it 21-17 with 2:58 left.

"The receivers were covered, and he just found a way," said Bartee.

Buffalo wide receiver Eric Moulds was put in for defense and he batted away Elvis Grbac's pass into the end zone as time expired on the third consecutive loss for the Chiefs (5-6).

"It is very big getting a win like that here," said Johnson, who was 21-for-36 passing for 196 yards and two touchdowns in addition to scrambling five times for 41 yards. "It hurts them in the playoff race. It helps us."

Grbac had given the Chiefs a 17-14 lead with 7:55 remaining in the game with his second touchdown pass to tight end Tony Gonzalez, a nine-yard play that capped a 13-play, 65-yard drive.

But the Bills went 67 yards in 11 plays for the winning touchdown that got them off to a rousing start to the toughest stretch of their schedule--Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Miami and Indianapolis in consecutive games.

The Chiefs failed to get a turnover for the third consecutive game, the first time in franchise history they have gone that long without one.

The Bills, meanwhile, came up with big plays. Pat Williams, who blocked a short field-goal attempt at the end of the first half, recovered a Grbac fumble at the Chief 37 early in the frantic fourth quarter.

After Buffalo got a first down at the 24, there were penalties on four consecutive plays--three on the Bills. Then, on first-and-goal from the 18, Johnson's pass went through the hands of linebacker Donnie Edwards straight to tight end Jay Riemersma in the end zone with 13:35 left.

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