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Chiefs Keep Heads in Game

September 09, 2002|From Associated Press

CLEVELAND — In a matter of seconds, Dwayne Rudd lost his head, his helmet and the game.

Rudd drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for throwing his helmet in celebration, setting up Morten Andersen's 30-yard field goal with no time showing Sunday and giving the Kansas City Chiefs a stunning 40-39 win over the Cleveland Browns.

"I'm sick," Brown Coach Butch Davis said. "To have something like that happen at the end is inexcusable."

And unbelievable for the Browns, who also had a bizarre finish in their home finale last season when angry fans threw thousands of plastic beer bottles on the field to protest a call overturned by instant replay.

Bottles are now banned in Browns Stadium. Rudd's lone projectile cost Cleveland this time.

"I shouldn't have taken it off," Rudd said. "It's against the rules. I thought we had won."

Rudd, thinking he had sacked Kansas City's Trent Green, had his back to the play and didn't see the quarterback flip the ball to 323-pound tackle John Tait, who rumbled 28 yards to the Brown 25.

As Rudd retrieved his helmet--which he tossed 15 yards down field--the officials moved the ball half the distance to the goal line for Andersen, whose game-winning kick capped a 23-point fourth quarter for Kansas City.

Priest Holmes matched a team record with four touchdown runs--three in the final 9:06--and rushed for 122 yards for the Chiefs, who trailed, 30-17, with 11:19 left after Cleveland's Phil Dawson kicked a 34-yard field goal.

"Right then, we've got to shut the door," Davis said.

Kelly Holcomb, who started at quarterback for the injured Tim Couch, completed 27 of 39 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns for the Browns.

Dawson had four field goals for Cleveland, which lost three games on the final play in 2001.

Dawson's fourth field goal with 29 seconds left extended his streak to 19 in a row dating to last season and put the Browns ahead, 39-37.

However, Cleveland holder Chris Gardocki was called for taunting on the kick, forcing Dawson to kick off from his own 15, and the Chiefs returned it to the 35.

On first down, Green ran for 12 yards and quickly lined up the offense before spiking the ball with four seconds left.

The Chiefs sent all their receivers into the right side of the end zone to try a "Hail Mary" play. Green was flushed from the pocket and was about to be sacked by Rudd when he alertly tossed the ball behind him to Tait.

Seconds later came a reprieve, the penalty on Rudd.

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