KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- People have stopped questioning Priest Holmes' future in the NFL and begun talking about his place in league history.
"It's an honor just to be blocking for the guy," said left guard Brian Waters. "Twenty years from now I'll be able to tell my kids, 'Daddy was out there."'
Offseason hip surgery had led many questions about Holmes' ability to regain the effectiveness that had enabled him to lead the NFL in yards from scrimmage two years in a row.
But he strutted into the end zone on a 1-yard run in the second quarter to break Smith's season record of 25 touchdowns rushing. And then he vaulted over the goal line in the third period for his 27th TD, breaking the overall touchdown record Faulk set in 2000.
"I feel joy, excitement," said Holmes
The Chiefs (13-3) were already locked into the No. 2 seed and guaranteed a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs.
The Bears finished 7-9 amid speculation about the job security of coach Dick Jauron, who is 35-46 in five seasons.
"We'll find that out pretty quickly, I would think," Jauron said when asked about his status.
"I've loved being here. It's a great franchise. It is the charter franchise. It's a great city to coach in, and I guess most importantly, a terrific group of guys."
As they've done all year, the Chiefs had little trouble mounting an effective defense at home, where they've won a team-record 13 straight despite a defense that's sunk to near the bottom of the league.
"Any time you hold a team 2-for-15 on third downs and shut everything down the way we did, that's a huge momentum-builder, a huge confidence-builder," said linebacker Scott Fujita.
The Chiefs went into the game hoping to get the records for Holmes while regaining their shattered confidence headed into the postseason.
"This is great for confidence," said Fujita. "Now people will look at us and say, `Well, they can play defense.' But we knew we could."
Greg Wesley's interception of Kordell Stewart's pass seemed to snap the Chiefs out of a lethargy in the third quarter, and Holmes capped the ensuing 28-yard drive with a 2-yard TD for a 21-3 lead with 58 seconds left in the period.
Stewart, who entered the game in the second quarter when rookie quarterback Rex Grossman injured his hand, was 5-for-15 for 86 yards and two interceptions.
The Chiefs made it 24-3 on Morten Andersen's 38-yard field goal after the Bears had penalties for pass interference and for arguing the call.
A defensive holding penalty helped the Chiefs sustain a 67-yard drive in the fourth quarter capped by rookie Larry Johnson's 5-yard run.
The defense, which had fallen to 30th overall, gave up only a 48-yard field goal by Paul Edinger.
"We wanted badly to finish with a strong performance," said Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil. "So we send a message to anybody who comes in here that it's going to be tough on them."
Certain to fuel Jauron's critics were two botched scoring opportunities. At the end of the first half, they had a third down on the Chiefs 8 with 12 seconds left and no timeouts.
But instead of throwing into the end zone, Stewart tossed a flare pass to Bobby Wade, who was tackled in bounds.
Another embarrassing gaffe came in the fourth quarter when Chris Chandler hit David Terrell over the middle for a long gainer.
There was no defender near him, but Terrell inexplicably cut right and headed straight for safety Shaunhard Harts, who tackled him on the 17.
"The coaches call the plays. We've got to execute them," said linebacker Warrick Holdman. "You can't put everything on the coaches."
- Holmes' second touchdown gave him the Chiefs' career record. He has 61 with Kansas City, one more than former WR Otis Taylor.
- Kansas City's offensive line -- LT Willie Roaf, LG Brian Waters, C Casey Wiegmann, RG Will Shields and RT John Tait -- started its 32nd straight game as a unit. That's the longest streak since 1971-73, when the Chargers' line started 40 straight games together.
- Bears CB Jerry Azumah took a touchdown away from Kansas City with an end-zone interception in the second quarter.
The Associated Press News Service
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