KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Kansas City Chiefs are 0-3, and their season could get a lot worse.
Beginning with next Monday's game at the 2-1 Baltimore Ravens, the Chiefs' four upcoming opponents are a combined 10-2.
Unless the Chiefs can get back on track immediately, they could be looking at their worst season since Carl Peterson arrived in 1989 and turned a loser into a winner. Since Peterson became president and general manager, Kansas City's worst year was 6-10 in 2001 - Dick Vermeil's first season.
"It would be fun to turn around our season on a Monday night because all the experts have probably already written us off," Vermeil said Monday. "It's understandable. But I think it would be a mistake."
The Chiefs, getting a 97-yard kickoff return from Dante Hall, were 17-10 winners at Baltimore a year ago en route to a 9-0 start to what turned into a 13-3 season. But Hall has so far this year been kept out of the end zone and the Chiefs' Super Bowl aspirations are almost certain to evaporate if they falter a fourth straight week and go 0-4.
"We know how to go there and play," Vermeil said. "In some ways we're better than we were last year when we go there, and in some ways we're not as good. But we know how to go there and play."
Sunday's 24-21 loss at home to Houston sent the Chiefs to their first 0-3 start since the 1980 squad started 0-4. Adding to the disappointment was the fact that Kansas City beat the visitors in just about everything but the final score.
The offense had its best game of the season, piling up 364 total yards. Quarterback Trent Green threw his first three touchdown passes of the year.
Priest Holmes, unable to walk on Monday, kicked off his ankle brace and rushed for an inspiring 134 yards, becoming the Chiefs' career rushing leader.
The much-maligned defense stuffed the Texans offense time after time, holding Domanick Davis to 12 yards on 10 carries, sacking David Carr three times and giving up just 296 net yards.
Tight end Tony Gonzalez had eight catches for 106 yards, Hall broke some nice returns and set up good field position. Time of possession was dominated by the Chiefs, 35:07 to 24:43.
And they were at Arrowhead Stadium, where they were unbeaten in the regular season last year.
Yet, they still lost.
Nine penalties in the first half did not help. And Marcus Coleman's 102-yard touchdown return turned a possible 21-6 lead into a 14-all tie after the 2-point conversion.
"We had such high expectations coming in, and we still do," Green said. "We're never going to give up. We have 13 games to go. Nobody's going to quit in here."
Vermeil acknowledged he made a couple of coaching mistakes. Once, he elected to run on fourth down instead of going for a short field goal. Then, near the end of the first half when Houston was driving, he called a timeout after the Texans converted on fourth down, giving them a few precious extra seconds to move in for a field goal.
"Every once in a while I think dementia is setting in early," Vermeil said. "But believe me, the one thing I wouldn't do is walk out on these guys because I know they wouldn't walk out on me."