KANSAS CITY, MO., DEC. 16 -- After burning a good Kansas City defense for the second-greatest passing day in NFL history, Houston's Warren Moon made no attempt at false modesty.
"I am very proud of myself," said Moon, whose 527 yards in today's 27-10 Oilers victory fell 27 yards shy of Norm Van Brocklin's 39-year-old record.
"To hear what people were saying about me as a quarterback coming out of high school and college, I really feel good about where I've gotten."
Moon went to the Canadian Football League from the University of Washington when he knew he was going to be ignored in the 1978 NFL draft, and spent six years with the Edmonton Eskimos. Since, he's thrown for 22,701 regular season yards for the Oilers, including a league-leading 4,401 this year.
His work today, 27 of 45 for three touchdowns and no interceptions, against one of the league's top defensive units, kept Coach Jack Pardee's Oilers (8-6) tied with Pittsburgh atop the AFC Central Division and dropped the Chiefs (9-5) out of their AFC West tie with the Los Angeles Raiders -- and from locking up an AFC playoff wild card.
It also put wide receiver Haywood Jeffires in the books with the greatest receiving day of the 1990 season to date. Jeffires' 245 yards included an 87-yard touchdown play on which he beat cornerback Stan Petry to give the Oilers a 17-7 lead early in the third period.
"I want to thank Warren," Jeffires said, "for the day he gave me."
The 61,000 who filed into Arrowhead Stadium hoping to see the Chiefs clinch at least a wild-card berth for only their second playoff appearance in 19 years saw instead, in the words of Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas, "one of the most unbelievable, incredible, awesome displays any quarterback ever put on."
The shellshocked Chiefs, who had won four in a row to tie the Raiders for the AFC West lead, tried everything in a futile effort to stop Moon and Houston's run-and-shoot offense.
"I would have bet my house that Warren Moon wouldn't throw for 500 yards against our defense," Chiefs Coach Marty Schottenheimer said. "I'm glad I didn't."
"I think they have the best secondary in the league. I think they have the two best cornerbacks in the league," Moon said. "When you can throw the ball against a secondary like that for 500 yards, you've really accomplished something."
Chiefs cornerbacks Kevin Ross and Albert Lewis, both Pro-Bowlers, were practically speechless.
"It's shocking," Ross said. "We blitzed him. We played zone. We played man. He saw everything today. And those guys made plays for him. What more can you say?"
"That's a pretty awesome display of skill," Lewis said. "What can you say? The man threw for 527 yards."
Moon knew on his last possession that he was within striking distance of the record Van Brocklin set in 1951 for the Los Angeles Rams against the New York Yanks.
"But I was not going to throw the ball just so I would have gotten the record," he said. "Records are not important to me."
Moon easily erased the Houston team record of 464 yards, by George Blanda against Buffalo in 1961.
His ninth 300-yard game tied Dan Marino's NFL mark for a season.
Chiefs quarterback Steve DeBerg broke a finger on his left hand. His status for next week is in doubt.
In addition, DeBerg was intercepted by Richard Johnson in the end zone with 2:20 left, ending his string of consecutive passes without an interception at 234, second greatest in NFL history and just 50 away from Bart Starr's NFL record.
DeBerg had left the game for almost a full quarter. "Basically, what they said was, 'If you can deal with the pain, then you can play.' "