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NFL Game Day: Week 12

©Associated Press
December 2, 2002

Chiefs 49, Cardinals 0

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Whether this was the worst, second-worst or 10th-worst loss in their team's long history hardly mattered to the glassy-eyed young men in the somber Arizona dressing room.

"I don't know if that makes it any more frustrating," defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said. "It just doesn't get any more frustrating."

Kansas City's defense, ranked last in the NFL, shut out the Cardinals in what is believed to be the most lopsided loss for a franchise that has played in three different cities, and in parts of three different centuries. It also was the biggest margin in the league since the Bengals beat the Houston Oilers 61-7 on Dec. 17, 1989.

"You've got to feel bad for those guys," Chiefs guard Brian Waters said.

The team's previous worst loss was on Oct. 12, 1941, when the Chicago Cardinals lost to the Chicago Bears 53-7. Records aren't available between 1898, when the Cardinals were founded, and 1920.

"Any time you've got a one-sided loss like that, it has to go directly to the head coach," Arizona coach Dave McGinnis said. "And that's exactly what I told my players."

Dante Hall added a team-record 90-yard punt return for a touchdown for the Chiefs. Kansas City's Priest Holmes scored two touchdowns and had 169 total yards, eclipsing the 122 net yards of the Cardinals.

Ravens 27, Bengals 23

CINCINNATI -- Instead of bringing the Ravens down, the young guys are giving them some late hope.

Rookies Chad Williams and Ron Johnson scored touchdowns on returns and a defense missing Ray Lewis held on at the end for Baltimore.

Salary-cap problems gutted a Super Bowl team in the offseason, and Baltimore had 19 first-year players on the roster. But heading down the stretch the newcomers are reviving the playoff talk.

"The older guys are doing the big things, and the younger guys are trying to figure out where we fit in," Johnson said. "You never want to give up on the playoffs. You never want to lose that hope."

Williams stepped in front of Corey Dillon and intercepted Jon Kitna's pass, returning it 98 yards with 19 seconds left in the first half, slipping through the quarterback's desperate attempt at a tackle.

Kitna opened by completing his first 10 passes, leading Cincinnati to a quick 13-0 lead.

Williams blocked Nick Harris' punt early in the fourth quarter, deflecting the ball to Johnson on one bounce. He ran 22 yards unchallenged, cutting the Bengals' lead to 23-21.

Then Kitna bumped into Dillon as he dropped to pass, causing a fumble. Eleven plays later, Jeff Blake eluded a rush and threw a 22-yard touchdown to Todd Heap for a 27-23 lead with 5:12 left.

Colts 19, Texans 3

INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis isn't just winning shootouts anymore. Its defense is winning games too.

The Colts converted two first-quarter fumbles into 10 points, got two field goals from Mike Vanderjagt and used a late touchdown run from James Mungro as the defense dominated against Houston.

"We were able to take control of the game and not let them beat us in anything," defensive end Brad Scioli said. "It seemed every time they got something going, we just came back and stopped them."

Indianapolis won its fourth straight and stayed one game ahead of Tennessee, setting up a showdown for the AFC South lead Sunday.

Indianapolis allowed 165 yards, forced two turnovers deep in Houston territory, sacked David Carr six times and just missed producing its first shutout since December 1997.

"Their defense has improved, I think, tremendously since we played them the first time," Houston coach Dom Capers said.

But Peyton Manning struggled, going 15-of-28 for 190 yards and one touchdown, and two-time rushing champ Edgerrin James carried 20 times for 65 yards and sat out the final few series after irritating his injured right ankle. The Colts finished with 267 yards in offense.

Houston's only points came when Kris Brown made a 34-yard field goal with 3:51 to go after Troy Walters fumbled a punt at the Indianapolis 21.

49ers 31, Seahawks 24

SAN FRANCISCO -- The 49ers are one win from reclaiming the NFC West, though you couldn't see it in their somber faces after they nearly let another win slip away.

Garrison Hearst rushed for 124 yards and a career-high three touchdowns and Jimmy Williams returned a punt 89 yards for a score as San Francisco snapped its first two-game losing streak in two years.

The 49ers took a three-game lead in the division, but it was hard to find anybody excited after the team's collapse, which ended when Matt Hasselbeck's pass was intercepted by Rashad Holman in San Francisco territory with 1:23 left.

"I want to see better things out of this offense," said quarterback Jeff Garcia, who passed for 164 yards after two early interceptions. "We all want to be better."

The 49ers swept the season series in the first meeting since Terrell Owens' pen-in-the-sock stunt seven weeks earlier in a 28-21 win at Seattle.

The 49ers took a 31-10 lead on Hearst's third score early in the fourth quarter. But Hasselbeck had 311 of his 427 yards passing in the second half, rallying Seattle to two scores, including a 3-yard score to Darrell Jackson with 1:57 left.

Orlando Huff recovered an onside kick, and the Seahawks reached the San Francisco 43. Hasselbeck threw his next pass directly to Holman, a backup safety playing because of widespread injuries in the secondary.

Packers 30, Bears 20

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Spectacular touchdown-saving plays by two backups named Walker allowed the Packers to win their first division title in five years.

Green Bay won the NFC North despite losing running back Ahman Green to a knee injury after he produced 123 yards of offense.

Rookie Tony Fisher, an undrafted free agent, ran for 91 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.

The Packers could not have done it without rookie receiver Javon Walker, who caught a cornerback headed for the end zone to prevent Green Bay's halftime deficit from reaching 15 points.

Then nose tackle Rod Walker forced a fumble from Bears center Olin Kreutz on first and goal at the Packers' 1 in the third quarter.

"The Walkers rep-re-sent-ed today!" defensive end Vonnie Holliday said.

On a cold, windy day at Lambeau Field, Brett Favre threw two second-half touchdowns and improved to 33-0 at home when the temperature is 34 or below.

The Packers trailed 14-6 when Javon Walker ran about 100 yards and chased down Roosevelt Williams as he was about to dance into the end zone at the end of the first half.

In the third quarter the Packers drove 90 yards, half by Fisher, and went ahead for the first time, 16-14, on Ryan Longwell's 27-yard field goal.

Green hurt his left knee at the end of a 29-yard run early in the third quarter. He came back for one carry.

Titans 32, Giants 29 (OT)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Maybe Steve McNair should skip every Tennessee practice.

After sitting out all week because of rib, shin and toe injuries, McNair threw three touchdowns, ran for a tying 2-point conversion and set up Joe Nedney's 38-yard field goal in overtime.

"Steve did a tremendous job of guiding the team to victory," said Titans receiver Derrick Mason, who had 12 catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. "His ribs are battered. His feet are hurting and he still scrambled to put us in position (on the tying score). To me, Steve is the best quarterback in the NFL."

McNair, 30-of-43 for 334 yards, also is the reason the Titans have won six of seven and are in the thick of the playoff chase.

The Giants' position isn't as good.

"We can't even look at the playoffs any more," running back Tiki Barber said after New York's second straight loss. "We don't control what happens any more. We have to rely on other teams to lose."

Late in the fourth quarter, the Giants had first and goal from the Titans 1. But they lost a yard in three plays and settled for Matt Bryant's 19-yard field goal to take a 29-21 lead with 2:21 to go.

McNair then drove Tennessee 81 yards in 12 plays. He hit tight end Frank Wycheck on a 9-yard score with nine seconds left. After a video review allowed the catch, McNair strolled into the end zone on a draw to tie it at 29.

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