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Best of Tynes: Kicker Lifts Chiefs to Victory

Chiefs 31, Raiders 30

Associated Press
Sunday, December 26, 2004; Page E08

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Dec. 25 -- As the Kansas City Chiefs moved into position for the game-winning field goal, Lawrence Tynes was wishing he had washed his car.

That had always been the game-day good luck charm for Kansas City's rookie kicker. But he went ahead and drilled a 38-yarder with 22 seconds left, lifting the Chiefs to a 31-30 victory Saturday over the Oakland Raiders.

Kansas City's Lawrence Tynes (1) reacts after kicking a 38-yard field goal with 22 seconds left, a play set up by teammate Dante Hall's kick return. (Charlie Riedel -- AP)

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"It was too cold this morning [to wash the car]," Tynes said after booting his first game-winning field goal in the NFL. "I was thinking I should have washed it."

No matter how filthy Tynes's transportation might be, he probably would never have gotten on the field if not for Dante Hall's 49-yard kickoff return after Sebastian Janikowski's third field goal, a 46-yarder, put the Raiders on top 30-28 with 1 minute 3 seconds to play.

Hall waited as the expected squib kick bounced perfectly into his arms and then set sail behind some excellent blocks.

"Most teams in situations like that tend to squib-kick them," Hall said. "It was just a matter of catching it, finding the right bounce."

It was the fourth win in a row for the Chiefs (7-8), whose Super Bowl hopes were dashed by a 1-3 start and a four-game losing streak in November.

Janikowski scored the last nine points for Oakland (5-10) on three field goals, including a 45-yarder that made it 28-27 with 3:49 left.

"This is very frustrating," said Oakland running back Amos Zereoue. "You can't ask for much more than we gave out there."

Hall was not stopped until Janikowski got him on the Raiders 36-yard line. Then Trent Green, whose fumble had led to Janikowski's go-ahead field goal, hit passes to Chris Horn and Tony Gonzalez and Tynes trotted onto the field.

"Anybody who says they're not nervous in a situation like that is lying," said Tynes.

"My mom's been sick and she was here for the first time. It's pretty special. It's pretty cool."

Holding for Tynes, who missed from 50 yards and had another attempt blocked, was punter Nick Murphy, who was signed at midweek.

"We knew it was going to come down to stopping them on defense one more time," Oakland defensive tackle Warren Sapp said. "We just couldn't get the little fella [Hall] down. He made an excellent return."

For much of the game, two of the worst defenses in the NFL seemed bent on proving statistics don't always lie.

But it looked like the last crucial mistake belonged to the Kansas City offense when Ted Washington recovered Green's fumble on the Oakland 43 with 1:42 to play and Janikowski converted a field goal. He also had a 40-yarder that put the Raiders on top, 24-21, in the final seconds of the third quarter.

"Thanks to the special teams for saving me today," Green said.

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