HOUSTON (AP)—Dante Hall fed off a trip to Mom’s kitchen.
Hall had a 73-yard punt return for a score in his return to Texas and Priest Holmes had 156 total yards and two touchdowns to lead Kansas City to a 42-14 victory over Houston on Sunday, giving the Chiefs their first 3-0 start in seven years.
“The guy that gave us the spark was Dante Hall. We are going to give the game ball to his mother,” Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said, noting Hall is from Houston. “She cooked for him last night and we are going to bring her home with us.”
The Texans (1-2) trailed 14-7 late in the third quarter when Houston rookie Tony Hollings, getting his first playing time at running back this season, fumbled after a jarring hit by safety Jerome Woods. The Chiefs’ Dexter McCleon recovered at the Houston 32.
The Texans went three-and-out on their next series, and Hall made them pay.
Hall took the punt at the 27-yard line, escaped Jason Simmons and darted around the right end where he juked punter Chad Stanley. Then he picked up his blockers and cut back untouched across the goal line for a 28-7 lead.
It was Hall’s fifth punt or kickoff return for a touchdown in his last eight games.
“I looked at this game on the schedule and I saw that it was on my birthday at home, and I was like, `Luck can only take you so far. That has to be something from up there, lining it up,”’ Hall said, pointing toward the heavens. “Then for me to go out and score, it was unbelievable.”
Texans coach Dom Capers said Hollings’ fumble hurt their momentum.
“We went out and fumbled the football, they went down and scored and everything turned around,” Capers said. “The game got away from us.”
By then Holmes, who grew up in San Antonio and played at Texas, was resting on the sideline after gaining 89 yards rushing and 67 yards on four receptions. His backup, Derrick Blaylock, scored on a 20-yard TD run in the final quarter, the first of his career.
“When you give guys from Texas a chance to come home, we do everything big in Texas. Just look at (Reliant Stadium),” Holmes said, adding that he’d like to return for the Super Bowl.
Vermeil said he removed Holmes, who was listed as questionable this week with a variety of nagging injuries, to preserve him for the NFL grind.
“What can you say? He is a complete football player,” Vermeil said. “He is a great individual and an inspiration to our football team.”
The Chiefs went up 42-7 when Shaunard Harts returned David Carr’s second interception 39 yards, hurdling Carr at the goal line. Carr left the game and had an ice pack applied to his right calf, though he said his exit was not related to his slight injury.
The Chiefs went to the air early as Green guided them down the field on their second possession, gaining 31 yards on an outlet pass to Holmes to the Houston 6. Holmes scored on the next play, sprinting around the right end and into the end zone.
Houston drove past midfield when Carr hit rookie Johnson in stride for a 43-yard scoring play, capping the longest TD drive in the team’s short history.
Kansas City then turned to Holmes, who had one catch and seven runs on the ensuing 14-play drive that ended with Holmes outrunning safety Matt Stevensaround the left end for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead.
Hollings, who played along with starter Stacey Mack, was the Texans’ leading rusher with 41 yards on seven carries. Mack had 39 yards on 13 carries. … The Texans’ final touchdown allowed them to avoid tying the franchise record for worst loss. The Bengals won 38-3 at Reliant Stadium last year. … When Banks entered the game, it was the first time in the team’s 19-game history someone other than Carr has played quarterback, a streak of 1,123snaps. Banks went 7-of-11 for 51 yards.