Kansas City quarterback Bill Kenney, battered as he was, still managed a smile. "It's fun to throw the football," he said after tying a team record with 46 passes in a 27-12 loss to the Redskins at RFK Stadium yesterday.
"The trouble comes when you have to throw it every time."
All of those passes resulted in 20 completions for 330 yards, but no touchdowns as Kenney was sacked five times--all in the second half--and threw two interceptions.
All of the Chiefs' points came in the first half, off four field goals by Nick Lowery, one a 58-yarder.
Kenney was 16 for 33 for 275 yards in the first half as the Chiefs led, 12-0. But in the second half, he had little time to find his receivers.
"In the second half, they put more pressure on me and I had to get rid of the ball a lot quicker," said Kenney. "The only thing they did differently was blitz a lot on first down."
The Chiefs ran only 17 times for 33 yards.
"I had planned to throw all along," said first-year Coach John Mackovic. "We have to go with our strength and right now that's the passing game. We'll throw from anywhere because that's our game."
The Chiefs ran into trouble every time they got close to the Washington goal line. Unable to get touchdowns, they turned instead to Lowery, from St. Albans School here.
"We had only 12 points in the first half and we should have had 30," said cornerback Gary Green. "It was discouraging going in at halftime up by only 12, and when they started making those big plays, we couldn't get anything going."
It was one of Lowery's best days. His first kick was the 58-yarder; it was the third-longest kick in National Football League history and tied the AFC record set by Baltimore's Dan Miller.
Mackovic said he simply asked Lowery if he could kick one from that far and when the answer was yes, he believed him.
"During the pregame warmups I told him (Mackovic) I was going to be good from 57," Lowery said.
Lowery, who was with the Redskins briefly in the preseason of 1979, made four of five kicks for the game.
"The team has to win for me to feel too good," he said, "but I am pleased with the record kick. I guess I let that long one go to my head, though, because I missed the next one, even though it was only from 47 yards."
Defensively, the Chiefs controlled the Redskins for a half, but no more.
"They come out and run basic plays and try to lull you to sleep, and then hit you with the big plays," said former Maryland player Lloyd Burruss, now the Chiefs' starting strong safety. "We were expecting it, but it still happened."
Mackovic credited the Redskins for making "some great plays" that repeatedly gave them possession deep in Kansas City territory.
"It's difficult to go against a team as explosive as the Redskins and keep giving them the ball in your territory, and then trying to prevent them from scoring," he said. "They took advantage of their opportunities a lot better than we took advantge of ours."
The play that probably settled the result was a 39-yard touchdown pass from Joe Theismann to tight end Clint Didier, which gave the Redskins a 24-12 lead with 9:20 left.
"We were expecting them to run (John) Riggins, but they faked it to him and we bit," said Burruss. "That's the kind of thing that can happen when you have a good running game."