Kansas City Chiefs halt 22-year playoff victory drought by routing Houston Texans 30-0 in wild-card game

 

 
 
 
 
Kansas City Chiefs running back Knile Davis returns a kickoff for a touchdown on the opening play of their AFC wild-card game Saturday in Houston. The Chiefs won 30-0.
 

Kansas City Chiefs running back Knile Davis returns a kickoff for a touchdown on the opening play of their AFC wild-card game Saturday in Houston. The Chiefs won 30-0.

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HOUSTON — In our haste to pile on Brian Hoyer, let’s not forget to give the Kansas City Chiefs some credit.

Sure, the Houston Texans quarterback stunk like an unscooped dog park after winter thaw in Saturday’s 30-0 loss to the Chiefs — the first of four NFL wild-card playoff games.

And sure, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien was off his rocker for allowing Hoyer to keep on proving it until the last miserable second ticked off the NRG Stadium clocks. Hoyer’s five horrific turnovers and about two dozen scattershot passes in an elimination game weren’t enough to warrant a benching?

But, hey, the Chiefs played a solid road game.

They gladly took what the rugged Texans defence gave them, mostly stifled the Houston run game to force Hoyer into making so many of those gawdawful throws and shone on special teams to earn the franchise’s first playoff victory in 22 years.

“Coaches had a nice plan, players played their hearts out — especially the bigs,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. “The offensive and defensive lines stepped up. Our guys came out, took that challenge to heart, had a great week of practice and played tough football.”

Kansas City advances to play at New England next Saturday.

K.C.’s winning score came 11 seconds into the game. Knile Davis grabbed Nick Novak’s opening kickoff six yards into his own end zone, burst through a left-side hole large enough for 63-year-old funk guitarist Nile Rodgers to dance through and sprinted 106 yards for a touchdown.

“We had a good feeling this whole week that we could make something happen. We haven’t had (a touchdown return) this whole year,” Davis said. “I didn’t get touched. Well, I might have got (brushed), but it was pretty cool.”

Biggest hole you’ve ever run a kickoff through, Knile?

“Definitely.”

The rest of the game, from a Texans standpoint, was the Brian Hoyer Saturday Craptacular.

For a brief time, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith joined him — checking down repeatedly in the first quarter, missing a sure touchdown on an overthrown long bomb to Albert Wilson, then throwing his own ugly interception.

But while Smith soon settled down — completing a Chiefs playoff record 77 per cent of his passes for 190 yards and one touchdown — Hoyer never did.

As terrible as Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton has played in playoff games this decade, Hoyer was decidedly worse.

His stats say it all: 15-of-34 (44 per cent) for 136 yards, four interceptions and one lost fumble (of the two he had in the pocket).

Most of the 71,800 fans on hand booed Hoyer off the field at halftime, with KC ahead 13-0 and Hoyer’s turnover count already at four. The boos just got louder after halftime, as Hoyer’s inaccuracy increased.

Listen, Hoyer is as tough an NFL quarterback as there is. He returned from two concussions this season. In between I saw him, a month ago, in the Texans locker-room after a loss at Buffalo in which he got battered. He looked like he’d just fought George Foreman in 1973.

He’d actually played pretty well this season, other than against the Chiefs. So what happened?

“You know what, it just didn’t go well for me personally, obviously,” he said. “I think I made some bad decisions that really hurt the team.”

The name Captain Obvious is taken, so don’t go there.

But O’Brien never turned to backup quarterback Brandon Weeden, to the outrage of the locals and disbelief of most other observers.

“I did not consider that,” O’Brien said. “I felt like sticking with (Hoyer) was the right thing to do.”

Maybe O’Brien had bencher’s remorse.

Remember, in Houston’s Week 1 loss at home to these same Chiefs, O’Brien benched Hoyer for then backup Ryan Mallett, who proceeded to struggle over the next month before O’Brien told the world he’d made a mistake by benching Hoyer in the first place.

Mallett sulked, missed a team flight to Miami a week later and the Texans cut him.

So guess who trolled the Texans on Twitter during the game?

One Ryan Mallett: “Hey, @HoustonTexans, you wish you had me now?”

A late-season signee of the Baltimore Ravens, Mallett didn’t exactly retract that tweet an hour later:

“Well, @HoustonTexans this is what happens when you get rid of your best QB. Oh well. I’ve moved on. Baltimore is a great organization.”

The Chiefs organization has endured a slew of playoff woes since Joe Montana last won the franchise a playoff game in the early 1990s.

Reid was asked if that streak applied any added pressure to winning Saturday.

“Listen, I didn’t feel it. But I know how important it is, too,” he said. “That first (playoff) round, if things don’t go well, that rips your heart out.”

Ask Hoyer and the Texans.
 
john.kryk@sunmedia.ca

 
 
 
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Kansas City Chiefs running back Knile Davis returns a kickoff for a touchdown on the opening play of their AFC wild-card game Saturday in Houston. The Chiefs won 30-0.
 

Kansas City Chiefs running back Knile Davis returns a kickoff for a touchdown on the opening play of their AFC wild-card game Saturday in Houston. The Chiefs won 30-0.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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