Utilizing Steve DeBerg's good hand and Nick Lowery's not-so good leg, the Kansas City Chiefs went charging into the playoffs and kept alive their chances for an AFC West title with a convincing 21-10 victory over the Chicago Bears.
DeBerg, playing the second straight game with a broken left pinky, completed 25 of 32 passes for 276 yards Saturday, setting up five Lowery field goals. Lowery hyper-extended his right knee in the previous game, was limited in practice during the week and hobbled noticeably Saturday.Christian Okoye accounted for the other Kansas City points with a 3-yard TD run.
The Chiefs finished the regular season 11-5 after winning six of their last seven games and will finish first in the division and gain a first-round playoff bye if the Raiders lose to San Diego Sunday. If the Raiders win, Kansas City will play a wild-card game at Miami next week.
"I'll have the incense and the sacrificial rights," Lowery said of the importance of Sunday's Raiders' home game. "I'm just kidding, but obviously it will mean a lot to us if we can win the division."
The Bears, 11-5, suffered their first home loss of the season, and limp into the playoffs after winning the NFC Central. After losing four of its last six, Chicago plays either Dallas or New Orleans next week in the playoffs.
"The most disappointing thing is we had a chance to enter the playoffs on a high note versus a good team, and we didn't do it," said Bears linebacker Mike Singletary.
The Chiefs ran roughshod over the Bears. They picked up 23 first downs to Chicago's six and held the ball for 41:48 on the afternoon.
"On first down, we were winning, whether it was with the run or the pass," said DeBerg, who felt some pain in the broken finger during a handoff to Okoye in the final quarter but reportedly himself to be OK. "A lot of people believe that's the most important down because that sets up everything else."
Lowery's fourth field goal, a 32-yarder, came with four seconds left in the first half and put Kansas City ahead for good, 12-10 lead.
DeBerg then directed a 66-yard scoring drive late in the third quarter, with Okoye going off left tackle for the TD, only his second carry after sitting out two games with a shoulder injury. Lowery missed the point-after attempt, leaving Kansas City ahead 18-10.
Lowery's 38-yarder with 9:12 left made it 21-10. The score followed a fumble by Bears quarterback Mike Tomczak deep in his territory.
Tomczak, starting only his second this season in place of the injured Jim Harbaugh, struggled and completed only 5 of 23 passes for 85 yards. Bears Coach Mike Ditka left open the possibility rookie QB Peter Tom Willis could make his first career start in the playoffs.
"I might very well. I haven't made up my mind," Ditka said. "Sometimes it takes dramatic things to get the job done."
Lowery, who also nailed kicks from 19, 30, and 43 yards, surpassed the previous Kansas City single-season records for points (129) and field goals , held by Jan Stenerud. He also now has kicked 21 straight field goals, surpassing the previous club record of 16 in a row held by Stenerud.
Kansas City running back Barry Word went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season with 73 yards on 18 carries, giving him 1,015 for the year.
The sole bright spot for the Bears was a 95-yard punt return for a touchdown by rookie Johnny Bailey. When Kansas City finally was forced to punt for the first time late in the second quarter, Bailey made the catch at the 5-yard line, went up the middle nearly untouched and broke free for the longest punt return in Bears history.