CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Forgive Herm Edwards if he may want to avoid his old college buddy from now on. Every time he coaches against John Fox, the Carolina Panthers are playing their best.
Kansas City Chiefs' Tony Gonzalez (88) is tackled by Carolina Panthers' Jon Beason, right, after a catch in the second quarter in an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Oct. 5, 2008.
(AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
DeAngelo Williams had 123 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns and Panthers handed the Kansas City Chiefs their first shutout in nearly six years, 34-0 on Sunday.
The Panthers (4-1), who have missed the playoffs the past two seasons, are off to their best start since reaching the Super Bowl in the 2003 season. It was one of their most dominating performances since they crushed the Edwards-coached New York Jets 30-3 in 2005 on the way to reaching the NFC championship game.
Kansas City's only highlight in a miserable day was a personal milestone.
Tony Gonzalez caught a 6-yard pass from Huard late in the first quarter to move past Shannon Sharpe for the NFL's career leader for receiving yards for a tight end. But that catch came on third-and-16, leading to one of Dustin Colquitt's seven punts.
A week after the Chiefs (1-4) ended a franchise-record 12-game losing streak with a stunning win over Denver, Edwards gave his former San Diego State teammate a bear hug on the field before the game.
But it didn't take long for Fox and the Panthers to show the rebuilding, youthful Chiefs had no shot for their first two-game winning streak in two years.
Williams and Jonathan Stewart ran through a woeful defense that also couldn't stop the pass. Steve Smith caught six passes for 96 yards, Muhsin Muhammad had a 47-yard touchdown catch and the Panthers moved to 3-0 at Bank of America Stadium after going 2-6 at home last season.
The Chiefs were never in it, and the Panthers again stopped one of the league's top running backs.
Larry Johnson, who had rushed for 319 yards in the past two games, had 2 yards on seven carries. That forced Damon Huard to throw — or at least try to.
Huard completed only 10 of 21 passes for 86 yards and two interceptions. He also lost a fumble and the Chiefs didn't pick up their second first down until the Panthers had a 24-0 third-quarter lead.
Huard was pulled for Tyler Thigpen early in the fourth quarter — after Jake Delhomme had already given way to Josh McCown after throwing for 236 yards and two scores.
In their first shutout since blanking St. Louis 15-0 in 2006, the Panthers held the Chiefs to 127 yards. The Panthers had three sacks, Jon Beason and Ken Lucas had interceptions and Kansas City failed to score for the first time since losing 24-0 to Oakland in the final game of the 2002 season.
The Panthers were without starting offensive tackles Jordan Gross (concussion) and Jeff Otah (ankle), but it didn't matter. Despite Frank Omiyale making his first NFL start and Jeremy Bridges also filling in, the Panthers opened giant holes for Williams and Stewart, who rushed for 72 yards.
It helped Carolina's makeshift line went against the NFL' worst rushing defense. Coming in giving up an average of nearly 177 yards on the ground, the Chiefs were abysmal at clogging lanes.
Even a staple for the conservative Fox — the draw on third and long — ended with cheers instead of boos when Williams scampered untouched up the middle for a 32-yard TD in the final minute of the first half to make it 21-0.
Williams also had a 10-yard TD run and caught a 25-yard TD pass from Delhomme in a dominating first half that saw the Chiefs manage one first down and 29 yards.
The Panthers, who haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher despite facing LaDainian Tomlinson, Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson and Michael Turner, gave Johnson no room to run.