HOUSTON – After 22 years without a playoff victory, the Kansas City Chiefs were determined not to give up the lead this time.
The Chiefs had enough points to win after scoring in the first 11 seconds, and they used five turnovers and a ball-control offense to dominate the Houston Texans 30-0 in the wild-card round of the NFL playoffs on Saturday.
They were especially cognizant of not letting up after blowing a 28-point lead in a loss to the Colts in their last playoff appearance in 2013.
"What happened to us a couple years ago, everybody remembers that, even the coaches included, so our entire mentality is about finishing," quarterback Alex Smith said.
They finished off the Texans early, and they had the hometown fans booing by the second quarter. Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer had the worst game of his career with four interceptions and a fumble. Houston's defense kept the Texans close in the first half, but J.J. Watt left with an injury in the third quarter and the Chiefs were able to close the game out in the second half.
The Chiefs extended their NFL-best winning streak to 11 games.
"We wanted to come in and dominate," Chiefs safety Eric Berry said. "Right now we are locked in and ready for next week."
On the opening kickoff, Knile Davis got three good blocks around the 10-yard line and then simply outran the rest of the defenders for the 106-yard kickoff return score, the second-longest kickoff return TD in postseason history.
"It was a huge deal, man. It set the tempo," Davis said.
The defense took over after that, forcing Hoyer into a fumble and a three of his career-high four interceptions before halftime to help the Chiefs (12-5) take a 13-0 lead. "I made some bad decisions that really hurt the team," Hoyer said.
Houston coach Bill O'Brien said he never considered benching Hoyer, but backup Brandon Weeden told a different story, saying he was warming up late in the game.
"We had talked about me going in there with Brian," Weeden said. "Brian wanted to finish the thing out. I don't blame him."