When the home team plays its best game of the season and the visitors play their absolute worst, routs happen.
"Let's face it--we're not 34 points better than them," Coach Marty Schottenheimer said Sunday after his Kansas City Chiefs hung a 34-0 shutout on the Houston Oilers, who set a team record with 16 penalties.
"I have no idea why it all came together for us today--offense, defense and special teams," Schottenheimer said. "It was just our day."
The Oilers, who had won five of their previous six, fall to 7-5. They were shut out for the first time in almost three years.
Their 16 penalties resulted in 115 yards lost.
The Oilers also go into the record book as the Chiefs' most thoroughly beaten opponent since a 40-3 victory over San Diego 21 years ago.
The Chiefs, who had only 15 yards in penalties, got their first shutout since 1981.
The Oilers were making no excuses.
"We couldn't get open," Houston Coach Jerry Glanville said. "We couldn't pass protect. The defense didn't stay onside. We didn't play well. I didn't coach well."
Houston quarterback Warren Moon was pulled in the fourth quarter after completing only eight of 20 passes for 90 yards.
"I guess you can say it's not as bad as if you lost by one point," Moon said. "We got blown out."
Moon's one interception triggered a sideline brawl that resulted in 24 yards in Houston penalties and gave the Chiefs complete control of the momentum.
After Walker Lee Ashley made the interception early in the first period, Moon and rookie linebacker Derrick Thomas wrestled each other into the Chiefs' bench and sent players, coaches and officials scrambling to separate them.
Moon was given a 15-yard penalty, then Glanville was hit with another penalty for arguing.
Said Moon: "I've never had a personal foul and I didn't think I should have had one on that play. I thought there would be offsetting penalties."
The penalty yards gave the Chiefs a first down on the eight, and after a face-mask penalty against the Oilers, James Saxon carried over right guard from four yards out for a 10-0 lead.
The Oilers, who had not been shut out since losing 27-0 at San Diego on Dec. 7, 1986, broke their record of 15 penalties, established Oct. 6, 1985, against Denver.
"There is no two ways about it," Houston running back Alonzo Highsmith said. "They beat us in every phase of the game."
Steve DeBerg, who completed 15 of 25 passes for 224 yards and no interceptions, drove the Chiefs 51 yards in six plays in the third period and hit Jonathan Hayes with a seven-yard touchdown strike for a 27-0 lead.
Christian Okoye's 17-yard run up the middle capped a nine-play, 71-yard march in the fourth period. Okoye had 67 yards, pushing his season total to 1,043 and making him the Chiefs' first 1,000-yard rusher since the late Joe Delaney in 1981.
"Getting the 1,000 yards feels great, but the most important thing was how the team played," he said. "All week long we had great practices."