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Taunting calls open door for Kansas City

Chiefs, beneficiaries of two penalties in last :29, get FG with no time left to beat Browns 40-39.

©Associated Press
September 9, 2002

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 Chiefs a stunning 40-39 win over the Browns.

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

And unbelievable for the Browns, who had their second straight bizarre finish at home. Cleveland's home finale last season ended with angry fans throwing thousands of plastic beer bottles on the field to protest a call overturned by instant replay.

Bottles now are 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 Trent Green, had his back to the play and didn't see the quarterback flip the ball to 6-foot-6, 323-pound tackle John Tait, who rumbled 28 yards to the Browns 25.

As Rudd retrieved his helmet the officials moved the ball half the distance to the goal line for Andersen, whose kick capped a 23-point fourth quarter for Kansas City.

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

Dawson's 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.

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

With four seconds left, Green was flushed from the pocket and was about to be sacked by Rudd when he tossed the ball behind him to Tait. Tait ran 28 yards in front of Cleveland's shocked bench before being run out of bounds by safety Devin Bush.

"We're going to have to check his background to see if he was a running back at any point in his career," Green said of Tait.

Rudd was sure he had tackled Green before the quarterback got rid of the ball.

"I thought he was down," Rudd said. "When I tackled him, he rolled over on my face mask. I looked up and saw triple zeros on the clock and thought the game was over."

With the infraction against Rudd, Kansas City had an untimed play.

Andersen, who kicked a 33-yarder in the third quarter, split the uprights to give the Chiefs a stunning victory and cap a wild afternoon of scoring.

"That had nothing to do with coaching, it was all good fortune," Kansas City coach Dick Vermeil said. "I'm sure (the Browns) are all shellshocked; I have been on that side where I have lost games that I had no business losing."

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