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Thursday, November 18
Baxter Bits: Seahawks at Chiefs

By Russell S. Baxter
Special to

The Seahawks head to Arrowhead Stadium looking to narrow the Chiefs' lead in this AFC West series.

The Chiefs have nearly doubled the 'Hawks in the win column (27-14) and have really dominated this rivalry as of late, prevailing in 14 of the last 16 meetings between the clubs dating back to 1991, this after Seattle swept this series in '90.

Last season, these teams split their season series for the first time since 1994, with the home team prevailing in each instance. In Week 5 on a Sunday evening (ESPN) at Arrowhead Stadium, since-departed Chiefs QB Rich Gannon ran for one score and connected with WR Andre Rison on an 80-yard touchdown as Kansas City outslopped the Seahawks, 17-6, in a contest which featured a 54-minute rain delay midway through the second quarter, hence a combined 10 turnovers by the clubs.

Five weeks later at the Kingdome (Week 10), Seahawks RB Ricky Watters ran for 105 yards and a pair of touchdown and LB Darrin Smith returned an Elvis Grbac interception 26 yards for a score as Seattle jumped out to a 24-6 halftime lead on their way to a 24-12 win, snapping a 7-game losing streak in this series.

The Seahawks have dropped eight straight at Kansas City dating back to 1991, and are just 1-16 in their last 17 visits to Arrowhead Stadium dating back to 1981.

Numbers: In their last 14 games vs. the Seahawks (1992-98), the Chiefs' defense/special teams have scored seven touchdowns (2 interceptions, 1 fumble return, 1 punt return, 1 blocked punt for TD, 2 kickoff returns) and blocked a punt for a safety. The Chiefs are an NFL-best plus-17 (29-12) in turnover differential in 1999, and an astounding league-best plus-124 (349-225) in turnover differential in the 1990s.

In their last 25 games dating back to 1998, the Seahawks' defense/special teams have scored 17 touchdowns (10 interception returns, 2 fumble returns, 3 punt returns, 1 kickoff return, 1 blocked field goal return). Seahawks WR Joey Galloway has totaled 114 receptions for 1,786 yards and 20 touchdowns, plus returned two punts for scores, in his last 26 games dating back to '97. Since 1996, the Seahawks have given up 483 points in 30 wins (16.1 PPG), 710 points in 27 losses (26.3 PPG). Since 1996, the Seahawks have allowed 140 or more yards rushing in 21-of-57 games, 180-plus yards rushing in 8 of those contests. They have limited the opposition to 17 or fewer points in 6-of-9 contests in '99. QB Jon Kitna has thrown two or more touchdown passes in four straight games. WR Derrick Mayes has scored at least one touchdown in four straight games.

Including playoffs, the Chiefs have totaled 71 takeaways in 25 wins, 26 takeaways in 17 losses dating back to '97. The Chiefs have forced two or more turnovers in 10 straight games dating back to '98.

Things to look for: From underachievers the last few seasons to frontrunners in the AFC West, Mike Holmgren has the talented Seahawks headed in the right direction as QB Jon Kitna continues his development and the Seattle defense continues to make timely plays. But DT Cortez Kennedy and company will be severely tested by a relentless Chiefs' running game that can wear down any opponent.

Etc.: The Seahawks are 7-2 for the first time since 1984, when they opened 12-2 and finished a team-record 12-4 and qualified for the playoffs under since-departed head coach Chuck Knox. They have won four straight games in the same season for the first time since winning their final 5 games in 1986. The Seahawks are just 18-41 vs. divisional competition since 1992 (2-1 in '99). RB Ricky Watters (8,578) needs 19 yards to tie Jim Taylor (8,597) for 14th place on the NFL's all-time rushing list.

The Chiefs have won six straight home games dating back to '98.

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