October 11 1992: Kansas City Chiefs 24 – Philadelphia Eagles 17
Hopes were high for an exciting game at Arrowhead Stadium in week 6 of the 1992 season – the Chiefs under coach Marty Schottenheimer had made a great 4 and 1 start, while our guests the Philadelphia Eagles were doing better still, with an unbeaten 4 and 0 record.
The Chiefs had a solid ground game, with the double threat of Barry Word and Nigerian Nightmare Christian Okoye – but in this game coach Schottenheimer made the surprising, and successful, decision to play a pass-heavy strategy against an Eagles team which had been very good against the pass up to this point of the season. This happened right from the start, as the opening drive saw the Chiefs quarterback Dave Krieg make 5 consecutive passing plays, culminating with a 43 yard completion to JJ Birden to open the scoring.
After an Eagles field goal, the same two players hooked up once more for another KC touchdown – this time a 24 yard completion to Birden, who was standing in glorious isolation in the end zone, as the Philly defence expected a running play that never came. After being drafted by Cleveland in 1988, Birden never played a single game for the Browns, nor for his next team the Cowboys. Their loss was Kansas City’s gain, as JJ proved to be a solid contributor for us, scoring 17 touchdowns and racking up over 3,000 receiving yards in his five years in KC.
Birden’s score wrapped up the first half, with the Chiefs leading 14 to 3. In the second, the pattern of aerial bombardment continued, and the next score was a pass from Krieg to wide receiver Willie Davis – who managed to find clear space behind the Eagles defence, before taking the ball all the way home for a 74 yard score.
This game saw Krieg reach 200 passing touchdowns for his career, at the time only the fifteenth man to achieve this milestone. He came to KC after a long spell under centre in Seattle (where he was best known to us as the man who was on the wrong side of Derrick Thomas’ record breaking 7 sacks in a single game!)
With a Nick Lowery field goal early in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs now held a 24 to 3 lead and seemed assured of victory. However, a 19-6 lead had been thrown away late on earlier in the season, resulting in a 20-19 loss to Denver, so when Randall Cunningham connected with tight end Pat Beach, home fans were nervous. When Cunningham found Beach again, to make it 24-17 and bring the game back to a single score, the fans were more nervous still. But the Chiefs defence, led by pro-bowlers Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith, held firm from there till the end, to see Kansas City run out as winners.
Dave Krieg ended his career with 261 touchdown passes. Every quarterback with more TDs than Krieg is either in the Hall of Fame, or is not yet eligible – with one exception. Who managed 275 TD passes over a 20 year career but has been passed over for a place in Canton?
Elsewhere in the NFL at the time:
Washington QB Mark Rypien passed for a touchdown and rushed for two more, as the Redskins cruised to a comfortable 34-3 win over the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos offense imploded, with John Elway being picked off twice, and the running backs combining for only 26 yards in total on the ground.
Elsewhere in the world:
If you needed to calm down after the exciting football, a presidential debate between President George HW Bush and his rival candidates Ross Perot and Bill Clinton later that day might put you to sleep. Alternatively, British sports fans could snooze watching Graham Taylor’s England soccer team start their doomed qualification campaign for the 1994 World Cup with a low key 1-1 draw at home to Norway