Chiefs 45, Texans 17
HOUSTON (AP)—Larry Johnson always felt he was too good to be a backup. On Sunday night he proved it.
Johnson broke the Chiefs’ rushing record with 211 yards and scored two touchdowns to lead Kansas City to a 45-17 win over the hapless Houston Texans on Sunday night.
The previous record was 200 yards, set by Barry Word in 1990.
Johnson, in his third year, has gained more than 100 yards in both of his starts since Priest Holmes was placed on injured reserve because of head and neck injuries.
“When it’s never been done before that’s outstanding,” Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said of Johnson’s record.
Johnson got going in the first quarter when he slashed up the middle of Houston’s porous run defense and shook off four would-be tacklers before scoring on a 23-yard run to put Kansas City (6-4) up 10-0.
He extended the lead to 24-7 with a 1-yard run in the second period after Houston’s Phillip Buchanon was called for pass interference. That score was set up by a fumble by Houston receiver Andre Johnson.
The 211 yards were the most allowed to a single player in Texans history and the seventh time this season an opponent has gained more than 100 yards against Houston’s NFL-worst run defense.
Johnson was supposed to come into the interview room after the game, but then told Chiefs officials he wouldn’t talk.
“We were looking for big things from him,” Chiefs quarterback Trent Green said. “It’s very important for him to come up big. When Larry’s had opportunities to play, he’s played well.”
The Texans (1-9), who have looked slightly improved in recent weeks, were back to their old selves against the Chiefs.
They had only 129 yards at halftime to 292 by Kansas City, which piled up 31 first-half points a week after managing only three points in a loss at Buffalo.
David Carr threw an interception just before the break that Eric Warfield returned 57 yards for a touchdown. Carr was in position to tackle Warfield before he reached the end zone, but instead stood with his arms outstretched and appeared to yell at his teammates to help.
“This is not the way we’re going to play,” Texans owner Bob McNair said. “We’ll do whatever we have to to improve the situation. We’re all disappointed. This is not what we’re about.”
When asked if coach Dom Capers could lose his job this week, McNair said making changes during the season just “makes things worse.”
Carr was 19-of-36 for 182 yards and fumbled twice, but was only sacked season-low one time. Houston converted just one of 11 third downs.
Tony Gonzalez became the first tight end to top 50 catches in eight consecutive seasons. Gonzalez was tied with Shannon Sharpe, who accomplished the feat with Denver between 1992-98. Gonzalez had nine catches for 98 yards against Houston, giving him 54 this season. He has a catch in 78 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in Chiefs history; Stephone Paige made a catch in 83 straight games between 1985-91.
Green shook off last week’s three interceptions and completed 19 of 29 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.
A week after gaining just 209 yards at Buffalo, the Chiefs had 446 yards and 28 first downs.
Houston started a comeback in the second half, scoring 10 straight points, but Eddie Kennison caught his second touchdown of the night in the fourth quarter to thwart that. Kennison scored on passes of 26 and 7 yards.
Domanick Davis had a solid performance in his first game back after sitting out two weeks with a knee injury. He had 13 carries for 57 yards and a second-half touchdown, adding 53 yards on three receptions.
Rookie kick returner Jerome Mathis, who has also missed the last two games, had 266 yards on seven returns and a touchdown.
Mathis scored on a dazzling 99-yard kickoff return in the first quarter. He cut to the left to evade the first group of defenders before another Chiefs player dived and fell to the turf. From there, the former track star who has been timed at 4.28 seconds in the 40-yard dash, outran everyone to the end zone.
He’s the only player to return two kickoffs for touchdowns this season, and the return was the longest in Texans history. It was also only the second time this season Houston scored in the first quarter.
Sunday marked the first time since early October, that the Texans had both Andre Johnson and Davis in the starting lineup. … Chiefs kicker Lawrence Tynes extended his streak of consecutive games with a field goal to 13 with a 35-yard field goal in the first quarter.