2003 Kansas City Chiefs season
|2003 Kansas City Chiefs season|
|Head coach||Dick Vermeil|
|General manager||Carl Peterson|
|Home field||Arrowhead Stadium|
|Division place||1st AFC West|
|Playoff finish||Lost Divisional Playoffs (vs. Colts) 31–38|
|Pro Bowlers||QB Trent Green|
RB Priest Holmes
FB Tony Richardson
TE Tony Gonzalez
OT Willie Roaf
G Will Shields
S Jerome Woods
KR Dante Hall
ST Gary Stills
The season resulted in a 13–3 winning record, beginning with a nine-game winning streak—the franchise's best start in their 40-year history. The Chiefs won the AFC West and clinched the second seed in the playoffs to end a five-season playoff drought. Kansas City lost in an offensive shootout at home in the AFC Divisional Playoffs to the Indianapolis Colts 38–31, a game noted for involving no punts from either team's kicking squad.
The season is best remembered for the Chiefs' record-breaking offense. On December 28, running back Priest Holmes broke Marshall Faulk's single-season rushing touchdown record by scoring his 27th rushing touchdown against the Chicago Bears. Quarterback Trent Green threw for 4,000 yards and kick returner Dante Hall returned four kicks for touchdowns. However, the Chiefs' defense would prove to be too big a weakness, as they failed to stop the Colts in the 2003-04 playoffs. The Chiefs offensive line from the season has frequently been considered one of the best offensive lines in NFL history. Two members of the offensive line, Will Shields and Willie Roaf, have been inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame along with the tight end from the team, Tony Gonzalez.
2003 NFL Draft
The Chiefs originally had the 16th pick in the 2003 NFL Draft. Vermeil was intent on selecting a defensive player, but felt that there were no defensive players available with their pick, and traded the pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers for the 27th pick, as well as the Steelers third and sixth-round picks. With the 27th overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs selected running back Larry Johnson from Penn State.
|1||27||27||Larry Johnson||Running back||Penn State|
|2||15||47||Kawika Mitchell||Linebacker||South Florida|
|3||28||92||Julian Battle||Defensive back||Tennessee|
|4||16||113||Brett Williams||Offensive tackle||Florida State|
|5||18||153||Jordan Black||Offensive tackle||Notre Dame|
|6||16||189||Jimmy Wilkerson||Defensive end||Oklahoma|
|7||16||230||Montique Sharpe||Defensive tackle||Wake Forest|
|7||38||252||Willie Pile||Linebacker||Virginia Tech|
|HOF||vs. Green Bay Packers||W 9–0||1–0||Fawcett Stadium (Canton)||Recap|
|1||San Francisco 49ers||L 6–24||1–1||Arrowhead Stadium||Recap|
|2||Minnesota Vikings||W 26–16||2–1||Arrowhead Stadium||Recap|
|3||at Seattle Seahawks||L 31–42||2–2||Seahawks Stadium||Recap|
|4||at St. Louis Rams||W 22–6||3–2||Edward Jones Dome||Recap|
After beginning the 2003 season 9–0, the Chiefs finished the regular season with a record of 13–3. The Chiefs' offense topped the NFL in almost all statistical categories and Kansas City became favorites to win Super Bowl XXXVIII.
The Chiefs clinched their first AFC West title since 1997 with a 45–17 win against the Detroit Lions, as QB Trent Green became the first player in team history to register a "perfect" 158.3 passer rating in a game.
Kansas City concluded its 13–3 regular season with a 31–3 victory vs. Chicago (December 28), marking a perfect 8–0 a record at home and the club's 13th consecutive regular-season victory at Arrowhead Stadium. In that win, Priest Holmes set a trio of TD records. He finished the season with 27 rushing scores, establishing NFL single-season records for both rushing TDs and total TDs. Holmes (61) also bypassed WR Otis Taylor (60) for the most career TDs scored by a player in Chiefs history.
The Chief's five-win improvement from the previous season tied as the best mark in franchise history. Kansas City became the first AFC team to lead the NFL in scoring in consecutive seasons since San Diego in 1981–1982 as the club produced a franchise-best 484 points. The team also led the NFL with a +19 turnover differential.
|1||September 7||San Diego Chargers||W 27–14||1–0||Arrowhead Stadium||Recap|
|2||September 14||Pittsburgh Steelers||W 41–20||2–0||Arrowhead Stadium||Recap|
|3||September 21||at Houston Texans||W 42–14||3–0||Reliant Stadium||Recap|
|4||September 28||at Baltimore Ravens||W 17–10||4–0||M&T Bank Stadium||Recap|
|5||October 5||Denver Broncos||W 24–23||5–0||Arrowhead Stadium||Recap|
|6||October 12||at Green Bay Packers||W 40–34 (OT)||6–0||Lambeau Field||Recap|
|7||at Oakland Raiders||W 17–10||7–0||Network Associates Coliseum||Recap|
|8||October 26||Buffalo Bills||W 38–5||8–0||Arrowhead Stadium||Recap|
|10||November 9||Cleveland Browns||W 41–20||9–0||Arrowhead Stadium||Recap|
|11||November 16||at Cincinnati Bengals||L 19–24||9–1||Paul Brown Stadium||Recap|
|12||November 23||Oakland Raiders||W 27–24||10–1||Arrowhead Stadium||Recap|
|13||November 30||at San Diego Chargers||W 28–24||11–1||Qualcomm Stadium||Recap|
|14||December 7||at Denver Broncos||L 27–45||11–2||Invesco Field at Mile High||Recap|
|15||December 14||Detroit Lions||W 45–17||12–2||Arrowhead Stadium||Recap|
|16||at Minnesota Vikings||L 20–45||12–3||Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome||Recap|
|17||December 28||Chicago Bears||W 31–3||13–3||Arrowhead Stadium||Recap|
Note: Intra-division opponents are in bold text.
Week 1 vs. San Diego Chargers
The Chiefs hosted San Diego and raced to a 24-0 lead behind two Priest Holmes rushing scores and a Trent Green touchdown to Johnnie Morton. Drew Brees of the Chargers was intercepted twice in the 27-14 Chiefs win.
Week 2 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers scored first on a Chad Scott interception, but after leading 10-0 Pittsburgh was torched by Dante Hall’s 100-yard kick return score. Priest Holmes ran in three touchdowns while Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox was intercepted three times in a 41-20 Chiefs win.
Week 3 at Houston Texans
The Chiefs made their first trip to Houston since September 1996, now playing in Reliant Stadium next door to the Astrodome. Kansas City’s aggregate winning streak against Houston NFL teams reached five as Houston was hammered 42-14 despite two Trent Green interceptions. The Chiefs rushed for 168 yards and three touchdowns.
Week 4 at Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens held the Chiefs to 265 yards of offense and out-rushed them 202 yards (Jamal Lewis accounted for 115 yards and the tying touchdown in the final six minutes) to 129, but Dante Hall raced in the winning score (17-10 Chiefs) on the kickoff following Lewis’ score and Kyle Boller was intercepted at the Chiefs 2-yard line in the final minute. Ex-Raven Priest Holmes had 25 touches (22 carries and four catches) for a combined 103 yards.
Week 5 vs. Denver Broncos
Dante Hall’s signature touchdown came in the fourth quarter with the 4-0 Chiefs trailing 23-17 against the 4-0 Broncos. In the final nine minutes, he caught a punt, was chased back to his three-yard line, then cut left, and stormed past the Denver punt coverage unit to score. Jason Elam missed a Broncos field goal attempt but Priest Holmes fumbled at the Broncos eight-yard line. Jake Plummer advanced the Broncos to their 28 but went no further.
The Chief's 24-23 win came despite being outgained in yardage 468-262 and despite two turnovers to one by Denver.
Week 6 at Green Bay Packers
This edition of the rematch series from the first AFL-NFL World Championship Game became one of the most competitive games of the season. The Packers raced to a 14-0 lead before two Trent Green touchdowns tied the game. The Packers scored seventeen straight points in the second and third quarters but early in the fourth Priest Holmes scored. Brett Favre was then intercepted by Jerome Woods at the Chiefs 21 and Woods scored. Exchanges of field goals (Morten Anderson’s 31-yard kick came with one second left) left the game tied 31-31. The Chiefs in overtime called eight straight Holmes rushes before trying a 48-yard field goal; the kick was blocked by Cletidus Hunt. On the Packers possession Ahman Green was immediately stopped by Woods and Woods forced the fumble recovered at the Chiefs 49; Trent Green then unloaded deep to Eddie Kennison and Kennison scored, thus ending a 40-34 Chiefs triumph.
Week 8 vs. Buffalo Bills
Despite 124 rushing yards from Travis Henry and getting a safety on a Kansas City punt, the Bills were humiliated 38-5. Drew Bledsoe was intercepted three times and Alex Van Pelt two more while Trent Green had two touchdowns and 273 yards.
Week 9 - Bye week
Week 10 vs. Cleveland Browns
Trent Green had 368 yards and three touchdowns, Priest Holmes added two scores on the ground, and the Browns were limited to 199 yards of offense in a 41-20 Chiefs win.
Week 11 at Cincinnati Bengals
An undefeated season (attending Miami’s overtime win over the Ravens members of the 1972 Dolphins kept a close watch on this game) would not transpire as the Bengals surged to their fifth win, fulfilling a pregame prediction by Chad Johnson (seven catches, 74 yards) of a Bengals win. Jon Kitna’s 77-yard strike to Peter Warrick effectively ended the 24-19 Bengals upset despite a late Trent Green score.
Week 12 vs. Oakland Raiders
The 3-7 Raiders refused to go quietly as they erased a 21-7 Chiefs lead. Jerry Rice scored for the first time all season but the Chiefs broke a 24-24 tie on Morten Anderson’s field goal with four seconds left.
Week 13 at San Diego Chargers
The Chiefs reached eleven wins leading wire to wire at Qualcomm Stadium despite two Trent Green interceptions to go with two Green touchdowns. Priest Holmes exploded to 162 rushing yards and two scores.
Week 14 at Denver Broncos
The Chiefs suffered their second loss of the season 45-27. The game lead tied or changed six times in the first three quarters but after taking a 24-21 lead the Broncos added 21 more points. Clinton Portis ran in five touchdowns for Denver.
Week 15 vs. Detroit Lions
The 4-9 Lions were crushed 45-17 as Trent Green threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns while Priest Holmes added three scores of his own. It was Steve Mariucci’s only career loss to the Chiefs. This is Detroit's most recent visit to Kansas City, and the Lions are not scheduled to return until 2023.
Week 16 at Minnesota Vikings
Having clinched the AFC West the Chiefs were vying for a playoff bye. The top conference seed slipped away in this Saturday game as the Vikings forced four Chiefs turnovers, raced to a 31-0 lead, and didn’t look back despite a three-touchdown barrage by 10:05 to go in the fourth. Despite the 45-20 loss, the Chiefs gained for a bye on Denver’s win over the Colts the next day.
Week 17 vs. Chicago Bears
With New England’s shutout win over the Bills the previous day the Chiefs could only secure a playoff bye as the second conference seed. They did so 31-3 on three rushing scores while the 7-9 Bears used three quarterbacks who combined for two interceptions.
|Wild Card||First-round bye|
|Divisional||January 11, 2004||Indianapolis Colts (3)||L 31–38||0–1||Arrowhead Stadium||Recap|
This offensive shootout became the second game without a punt in NFL playoff history, and first since the Buffalo Bills played the San Francisco 49ers in 1992. Colts quarterback Peyton Manning threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns, while Edgerrin James ran for a career postseason high 125 yards and two scores. On the Kansas City side, Dante Hall caught a touchdown and returned a kickoff for another; and Priest Holmes, who set the regular-season rushing touchdown record, rushed for 176 yards, caught 5 passes for 32 yards, and scored twice. Kansas City quarterback Trent Green threw for 212 yards and a touchdown while also rushing for 18 yards in his first career postseason game. The Chiefs defense failed to stop the Colt's offense. Kansas City's defensive coordinator Greg Robinson was asked to resign the following week.
- IND – Stokley 29 pass from Manning (Vanderjagt kick)
- KC – FG Andersen 22
- IND – James 11 run (Vanderjagt kick)
- KC – Hall 9 pass from Green (Andersen kick)
- IND – Lopienski 2 pass from Manning (Vanderjagt kick)
- IND – FG Vanderjagt 45
- KC – Holmes 1 run (Andersen kick)
- IND – Wayne 19 pass from Manning (Vanderjagt kick)
- KC – Hall 92 kickoff return (Andersen kick)
- IND – James 1 run (Vanderjagt kick)
- KC – Holmes 1 run (Andersen kick)
|(2) Kansas City Chiefs||13||3||0||.813||5–1||10–2||484||332||W1|
|(6) Denver Broncos||10||6||0||.625||5–1||9–3||381||301||L1|
|San Diego Chargers||4||12||0||.250||1–5||2–10||313||441||W1|
- So there they were with the 16th pick... Retrieved October 4, 2010,
- Kansas City Chiefs 2003 season – Database Football Archived December 8, 2006, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved December 18, 2006.
- Zimmerman, Paul. The Race to XXXVIII Sports Illustrated, November 17, 2003.
- Chiefs history: 2003 Archived June 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine KCChiefs.com, retrieved December 18, 2006.
- . Retrieved 2020-Jul-07.