KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – The Kansas City Chiefs simply were hoping to improve one of the NFL’s sorriest defenses, not open the season with the first shutout of the New York Jets in almost a decade.

Yet that’s what they came within 29 seconds of doing. Although weakened by first-half injuries to two starters, the Chiefs’ revamped defense held the mistake-prone Jets out of the end zone until the final half-minute Sunday en route to a 27-7 victory.

Larry Johnson rushed for 110 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries and Priest Holmes added 85 yards and a touchdown for a fast-starting Kansas City offense that scored 17 points on its first three possessions.

The Chiefs’ defense then made sure that was more than enough, forcing seven fumbles and recovering two. Chad Pennington was sacked three times. Backup Jay Fiedler enabled the Jets to avoid their first shutout since Dec. 24, 1995, when he hit Chris Baker on a 23-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds to go.

Pennington, coming off shoulder surgery, was intercepted once and had several passes dropped, including one by Laveraneus Coles that might have gone for a touchdown while the game was still in doubt in the first half. Coles also dropped a pass in the end zone in the final minute from Fiedler.

On their first three possessions, the Chiefs had touchdown drives of 75 and 95 yards and a 41-yard field goal that followed Patrick Surtain’s recovery of Pennington’s fumble. Holmes had a 35-yard run on the first drive, then Johnson, who is challenging him for playing time, finished it off with a 35-yard dash into the end zone.

Johnson also had 54 yards on five runs in a 66-yard march that made it 27-0 on the first play of the fourth quarter. His 23-yard run put the ball on the 4, and he took it in on the next play.

The Jets were hurt by more kicking woes, bringing back bad memories of the two missed field goals in a three-point loss to Pittsburgh in last year’s playoffs. Mike Nugent, drafted in the second round out of Ohio State, slipped while attempting a 28-yard field goal and Eric Hicks blocked the low-trajectory ball.

Trent Green, who underwent vascular surgery on his left leg on Aug. 30, hit his first eight passes but wound up just 15-for-26 for 200 yards. Pennington was 21-for-34 for 264 yards.

Midway through the second quarter, Chiefs tackle Ryan Sims went out with a foot injury and Surtain, the former Pro Bowl cornerback and one of Kansas City’s several high-profile offseason acquisitions, was injured while returning an interception.

Holmes scored on a 3-yard run on the Chiefs’ second possession, a 95-yard drive on which Green completed all six of his passes for 87 yards. Lawrence Tynes added field goals of 41 and 38 yards for the Chiefs, both coming after Jets fumbles.

AP-ES-09-11-05 1647EDT

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