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Huard guides Chiefs to rout of 49ers

Oct 1, 2006 - 8:10 PM KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- The bye week did the Kansas City Chiefs a world of good. Having the San Francisco 49ers as an opponent didn't hurt, either.

Backup Damon Huard threw a pair of first-half touchdown passes as the Chiefs smothered the 49ers, 41-0, to give coach Herm Edwards his first victory with the team.

Larry Johnson ran for two touchdowns and Dante Hall contributed a pair of TDs, including one on a 60-yard punt return, as Kansas City (1-2) shredded San Francisco's defense, which came in ranked 30th in the NFL.

Huard, making his second straight start and just the eighth of his career in place of the injured Trent Green, completed 18-of-23 passes for 208 yards.

"(The) offense did some good things today, especially in the passing game and that's good for Damon Huard," Edwards said. "They hit some big time passes. Receivers did a good job of getting open.

"We've got to clean up the run a little more. These guys did a pretty good job on us. We've got to be more efficient. But Larry kept pounding and really made a big time run on his own.

It was the first victory for the 33-year-old quarterback since guiding Miami to a 17-14 victory at Indianapolis on November 11, 2000, and he was euphoric afterward.

"Yeah, you don't win a whole lot of NFL games, 41-0," Huard said. "It was just a great culmination of all three phases working together as one and putting up a big numbers and winning big. It's a lot of fun to do that.

With Green out indefinitely after suffering a severe concussion in Week One against Cincinnati, Huard was superb in the opening half.

He connected with Hall on a 13-yard TD with 8:55 left in the first quarter and hit Eddie Kennison from 34 yards with 3:05 left in the half to give the Chiefs a 24-0 lead at the break.

Johnson, bottled up for most of the game with just 24 yards on 14 carries in the first half, finally got untracked midway through the second half and finished with 101 yards on 30 rushes and his first two touchdowns of the season.

"I've got such a great group of guys around me," Huard said. "What a great veteran offensive line, unbelievable receivers, obviously a Hall of Famer tight end (in Tony Gonzalez), plus Larry Johnson in the backfield. There are so many guys that make my job easy."

The Chiefs posted their first shutout since December 1, 2002, against Arizona. It was their 19th in franchise history and ninth at Arrowhead Stadium.

"It's pretty discouraging, it is," 49ers coach Mike Nolan said of being blanked. "That's a pretty tough loss. I would say that's the most difficult loss in the year and a half that I have been here."

Edwards said he is not surprised by his defense, which hasn't allowed a touchdown in 10 quarters.

"I told you when I took this job that we were going to learn how to play defense," Edwards said. "We've got to even play better. That's just me. I grew up a defensive guy and I expect that out of them. The expectations are very, very high here to play defense and it's just something they have to understand.

"They're gaining confidence. The thing I like about them right now is they're tackling, they're hitting people, and when you hit people and play physical football, you've got a chance to win in this league, you really do."

The 49ers (1-3) did nothing on offense. Second-yard quarterback Alex Smith, the No. 1 overall pick in 2005, managed just 92 yards on 13-of-25 passing with two interceptions. The Chiefs had five sacks.

"This team has had a lot of growth in the past few weeks and to come out like that today, we are going to have to just use it to our advantage and get better from it," Smith said.

Running back Frank Gore ran for 65 yards on 14 carries, but lost his third fumble in two weeks.

"There weren't too many holes to run in. We just made too many mistakes," Gore said. "We just weren't ourselves out there. We started out slow, we couldn't get enough offense and we couldn't be consistent."

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