KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - At 1-3, the Kansas City Chiefs aren't where they would like to be.
But a 27-24 victory Monday night in Baltimore has sent the Chiefs into their bye week feeling better about themselves and their chances of salvaging the season.
"All this means is that we will not be 0-16," coach Dick Vermeil said Tuesday. "There still is a lot of work, a lot of hard work to do.
"But I think last night just demonstrated that we're better than our 0-3 record that we took in there. And that we can play good football. And when we do, we can win."
Vermeil said speculation about the imminent collapse of his team was not what motivated the players to give the best effort of the season.
"The staff's ability to handle adversity properly over the last three weeks led to a positive contribution to our players handling it properly," Vermeil said. "We played a pretty good football game against a pretty good football team in a real tough environment. I salute those guys."
Priest Holmes, in the town where he started his NFL career, carried 33 times for 125 yards and two touchdowns. That pushed his season total to 476 yards rushing, tops in the NFL.
Holmes has run for more 100 yards in three of four games this season and became just the fourth running back since 1970 to reach the 5,000-yard plateau in 50 games or fewer.
On Tuesday, Holmes was selected the AFC offensive player of the week.
"What's great is having the league's No. 1 rusher back in Kansas City, leading the league in rushing," Vermeil said.
The players scattered for their week off and will be back Saturday to begin preparing for their next game, Oct. 17 in Jacksonville. When they return, they figure to have wide receiver Eddie Kennison back after a two-week absence. The only regular who might still be out is defensive tackle Ryan Sims. He pulled a hamstring Monday night diving for a ball.
For the second straight week, Kansas City dominated in first downs, total yards and time of possession. The outcome in those games, however, has been one three-point loss and one three-point win.
In losing by three points to Houston, the Chiefs outgained the Texans 366 yards to 296, hogged the time of possession 35 minutes, 7 seconds to 24:53, and had 25 first downs to 18 for the Texans.
At Baltimore, while eking out a three-point win, Kansas City had 398 yards to 207 for the Ravens, rolled up 25 first downs to Baltimore's 13. The Chiefs also were 8-of-16 on third down. The Ravens converted only once in eight tries.
In the two games combined, the Chiefs have run 147 plays while the opposition has put the ball in play only 95 times.
From looking at those statistics, it seems Kansas City should have routed both opponents.
"Sometimes when you've been a very big-play team offensively, the No. 1 thing people do in the offseason is study you and work on ways to make sure they take away some of those big plays," Vermeil said. "We came very, very close to having some big plays last night."
Meanwhile, the Chiefs released punter Jason Baker for the second time in less than a month. Baker was released right before the season opener and replaced by Steve Cheek. He was re-signed when Cheek hurt his leg, but Cheek is expected back for Kansas City's next game.