Blast From The Past – Week 16

October 22nd 1978: Kansas City Chiefs 17 – Cleveland Browns 3

The Chiefs put up a dismal showing in 1977, with a 2 and 12 record in the last 14 game season before the NFL moved to the current 16 game schedule – the silver lining being the high draft pick which picked up star defensive end Art Still. 1978 didn’t start much better, with frustrating defeats to Denver, Houston and Tampa Bay meaning the Chiefs were at a lowly 1 and 6 when the next home game came around.

The Cleveland Browns had won 4 games so far and were comfortable favourites with the Vegas bookies to win at Arrowhead. However a grinding performance by Kansas City – in which they held their opponents to the fewest yards of any of that season’s game – sent the fans home happy for once!

It wasn’t a day for passing. Chiefs QB Mike Livingston completed only 8 passes, for 57 yards – but at the same time we held the Browns to only 67 yards of their own through the air. This was a day for pounding it home on the ground, and two Chiefs running backs combined to do the damage.

Tony Reed’s 97 yards made him the day’s top rusher. Reed spent the whole of his 5 year NFL career with the Chiefs, and 1978 was his best year, with over 1,000 rushing yards to go with 6 touchdowns. He didn’t score in this game (though he scored a touchdown against the Browns when the teams met the following season.

After a quiet opening quarter, where both teams got on the scoreboard with a field goal, the man who would make the difference on the day was Arnold Morgado. Morgado, a Hawaiian, had played college football at Michigan State, but had transferred to Honolulu University because he was homesick. He was way off the football radar and went undrafted, before being given a chance on special teams by the Chiefs. He ended up playing 50 games over four seasons and scoring 16 touchdowns – two were in this game. Late in the first half he rounded off a drive with an 8 yard run. Then, after a scoreless third quarter, he got home from even shorter range in the fourth quarter to clinch the game.

Morgado had a knack of scoring pairs: he got two touchdowns in a game against the Chargers later the same season, two more against the Raiders in 1979, and another two against the St Louis Cardinals in 1980, to help the team back from a ten-point deficit to seal a cross-state victory.

Despite this gutsy win, the Chiefs then went on to lose their next four games, as the season drifted away, and finished 4-12. Once again, the silver lining was another high draft pick, and another great defensive end – this time Mike Bell.

Elsewhere in the NFL at the time:

The Houston Oilers, led by the great Earl Campbell’s three rushing touchdowns, went on the road and beat the Steelers at Three Rivers stadium – but Pittsburgh would have the last laugh, heading to a 14-2 record for the season and a win over the Dallas Cowboys in Superbowl XIII.

Elsewhere in the world:

In the USA, Jimmy Carter signed into law the legalisation of home brewing. Meanwhile on this side of the pond, Liverpool Cathedral – the longest cathedral in the world – is finally completed, work having started way back in 1904!

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