KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Rich Gannon has beaten John Elway, Warren Moon and Steve Young in the past three weeks.

Does anyone still think the Kansas City Chiefs are in trouble with the injured Elvis Grbac on the bench?

``I like this kind of trouble,'' said defensive tackle Joe Phillips, who even got involved in the scoring derby in Sunday's stunning 44-9 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.

``Rich Gannon's a player. Rich Gannon's a winner,'' said Phillips, who was in on a safety.

Gannon is 3-1 since Grbac went out with a broken collarbone as the Chiefs not only survived the meanest stretch of their schedule, but moved to threaten Denver for the AFC West title and home field in the playoffs.

``We really dug down deep and proved we could do some things,'' said Chiefs center Tim Grunhard. ``I don't think people around the country thought we could do it. But we proved we can do some things, too.''

It was the worst loss for the 49ers, who lost running back Garrison Hearst for four to six weeks with a broken collarbone, since a 59-14 defeat by Dallas in October 1980.

The Chiefs (10-3) stunned the favored 49ers (11-2) by taking a 28-6 halftime lead.

``We needed to start fast,'' Grunhard said. ``I don't know what will happen tomorrow, but today everything went our way. But I never felt comfortable. You can block a guy for four quarters and then give up a sack and you're still the goat.''

By not allowing a second-half touchdown for the eighth straight game, the Chiefs put an exclamation mark on the lopsided victory with a safety and a touchdown return of an interception in the final 8:31.

Gannon threw three touchdown passes and Marcus Allen had another on a halfback option, the first time the Chiefs had four touchdowns passes in a game since December 1983 against San Diego.

``They did about everything they wanted to on the field,'' said 49ers cornerback Rod Woodson.

The 49ers have failed to score a touchdown in a game twice since 1991 _ in both of this season's defeats. They fell in the opener at Tampa Bay 13-6, and they built their record largely on victories over the league's lesser teams.

``In 1987, we tore through the league and got punched in the mouth,'' San Francisco quarterback Young said. ``In 1994, we got punched in the regular season. This was like three punches in the mouth.''

The Chiefs, keeping the pressure on the Broncos, have an easier schedule than Denver, which won at San Diego on Sunday night. The Broncos must travel to Pittsburgh and San Francisco, while the Chiefs have two of their last three at home.

Kansas City led 14-3 after a 2-yard touchdown pass from Gannon to Tony Gonzalez. Gonzalez then swept past Zack Bronson on the right side to block a punt by Tommy Thompson and returned the ball 12 yards to the 3. Allen scored on the next play.

After Pellom McDaniels sacked Young for a 9-yard loss a few minutes later, the Chiefs drove 57 yards. Allen, the short-yardage specialist, took a handoff and drifted right, then flipped a 1-yard touchdown pass to Ted Popson, playing his first game since suffering a concussion on Nov. 3.

Allen's sixth career TD pass and second this season made it 28-3 with 26 seconds left in the half.

The score came after Darnell Walker was called for pass interference on Gonzalez in the end zone, giving the Chiefs a first down at the 1.

Gary Anderson made two field goals from 33 yards _ one on the last play of the half _ and one from 40 for the 49ers.

Kansas City also scored on Andre Rison's 6-yard reception in the first quarter and his 29-yarder with 12:40 to play.

With 8:31 to play, Terry Kirby was tackled in the end zone by Phillips and Donnie Edwards for a safety. Then Mark McMillian intercepted Jeff Brohm's pass and returned it 12 yards for the Chiefs' final TD. Brohm had replaced Young just before the safety.