The Chiefs entered the fourth quarter on Sunday having scored one offensive touchdown in the previous 11 quarters. The only other touchdown in that span was scored by the defense.
It’s a wonder Albert Wilson knew where to go when he found himself with the ball and no purple jerseys in the vicinity.
But he did, a straight shot to the end zone, outrunning the defense to finish a 42-yard touchdown and close the gap against the Vikings.
The Chiefs lost 16-10, but Wilson’s first professional score had given his team life and changed the game’s momentum.
Wilson took a wide-receiver screen near the line, got some terrific blocking and ran through some interference.
“Part of our offense is running screens, and the guys on the perimeter did a great job of blocking,” Wilson said. “The big guys got to the next level, and once that happens on an outside screen, it looks good.”
The call on third and 10 with 9 minutes to play was ideal. The Vikings were bringing pressure. Once Wilson shifted though blocks, he was gone.
“It was a great play call,” Vikings cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. “It beat the defense. Credit to them.”
Wilson, a second-year pro from Georgia State, was appearing in his fourth game. He was inactive the previous two weeks, against the Bears and Bengals, nursing a shoulder injury.
He caught three passes in the opening-game victory at Texas but had none since then until Sunday, and rookie Chris Conley had worked his way into the starting lineup.
“It was a blessing to get back on the field,” Wilson said. “The opportunity came today and I just took advantage of it. The veterans on the team reminded it’s a long season and to just keep fighting forward.”
More chances may await. Leading wide receiver Jeremy Maclin suffered a concussion in the fourth quarter.
Before the touchdown, Wilson had a 9-yard reception for a first down and a 6-yard catch on first down. The score was his longest reception of the season, and quarterback Alex Smith had zeroed in on Wilson on the Chiefs’ final possession. But the pair couldn’t connect on third and fourth down from the Chiefs’ 32.
“The third-down one, the route has a lot of adjustments,” Smith said. “He ran a good route. I let it go and felt really good about it, but you have to hit it.”
Smith didn’t give himself a chance on the fourth-down play with a low throw to Wilson in front of the Chiefs’ bench.
The outcome was sealed. Wilson had given the Chiefs a spark, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a fifth straight loss.