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Old 10-17-2006, 12:50 PM   #1
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Default From a Chiefs forum- Replacement players doom KC


Remember 1987? Remember the players' strike? Any Kansas City Chiefs fan that does might recall a 42-0 defeat their franchise suffered that year.

Sunday was d?j? vu. And not just because of the 45-7 score.

Yes, it's true. The Chiefs played a half of football with replacement players against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. There's no other explanation.

Rumor has it the entire Chiefs team overslept, minus the coaching staff. Oh, except punter Dustin Colquitt. Obviously he showed up and had a magnificent day, averaging over 48 yards per punt. No replacement player could do that.

But the rest of those guys in the red pants at Heinz Field? Replacement players.

But give them credit. Bolstered by the euphoria and adrenaline rush of playing in an NFL game, these guys played hard - for two plays. Pittsburgh's Willie Parker was stuffed for a loss of three yards on the Steelers' first play from scrimmage. Ben Roethlisberger completed a pass on the next play for a gain of just two yards.

Why, these heroes of the common man might have actually held delusions of grandeur for a few seconds after that. And then their sparkling debut came crashing down.

Santonio Holmes took a short pass on Pittsburgh's third play of the game. If Ty Law, the Chiefs' regular starter at cornerback, had been on the field, surely Holmes would have been stopped well short of the first down.

Unfortunately, Law was snoozing in a hotel at the moment the play took place. His replacement, rumored to be a hot dog vendor pulled from the street that morning, slipped and fell. Holmes raced up the sideline for a 50-yard gain.

Pittsburgh ended its first possession with a touchdown. Now it was time for KC's replacement offense to take the field.

And again, give these guys some credit. Several of the offensive replacements appeared to have flag football experience. The Steelers were obviously shell-shocked, and allowed an offense led, quite possibly, by a Wal-Mart clerk to race 32 yards in just under five minutes.

It was there that the dream ended. The jig was up. Pittsburgh suddenly realized that there was no Law, no Larry Johnson, no Tony Gonzalez and no Jared Allen.

Roethlisberger took immediate advantage of this sudden revelation and hit wide receiver Nate Washington for a 47-yard touchdown pass. It was Big Ben's first scoring pass of the year. Yeah, no way that was the No. 2-ranked secondary from the first five weeks of NFL play out there.

The Steelers proceeded to pile it on. Roethlisberger silenced his critics with a near-perfect first half. He threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns through two quarters of play, and probably could have done it with a ruptured appendix.

The KC Replacements trailed 31-0 at the half. It was then that Kansas City's regular players sleepily arrived at the stadium. Would they rally?

The difference was apparent. Damon Huard took the Chiefs 80 yards in 11 plays midway through the third quarter. Larry Johnson, who spent way too much time partying with his Penn State buddies the night before, capped the drive with a two-yard touchdown plunge.

Law and Kansas City's defense rubbed the sleep out of their eyes and held the Steelers to just 85 yards of total offense in the second half. Pittsburgh head coach Bill Cowher was so infuriated by the stark contrasts of halves that he ordered his offense to go for it on fourth-and-goal at the end of the third quarter. Clearly, he was sending a message to his team: we're better than the Chiefs, regardless of how many lumberjacks and construction workers they may have started in the first half.

Kansas City's second-half rally fell just short. Next week, they'll set their alarm clocks.

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