HOUSTON — Knile Davis levied a seismic blow on the opening kickoff and the Kansas City Chiefs defense dominated in a 30-0 victory over the Houston Texans on Saturday in an AFC Wild Card Game at NRG Stadium.
Davis returned the opening kick 106 yards for a touchdown before Kansas City harassed Houston quarterback Brian Hoyer into four first-half turnovers, effectively negating the Texans’ repeated attempts to rally.
The Chiefs advanced to a conference semifinal against the New England Patriots at 4:35 p.m. Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos added a pair of 49-yard field goals in the first half before Kansas City finally overcame the fatigued Texans defense with two second-half touchdowns. The Chiefs won their 11th consecutive game and snapped an eight-game playoff losing skid while handing the Texans their first home postseason loss in franchise history.
Hoyer endured a nightmarish performance, fumbling to end a promising Texans drive late in the first half before throwing his second of four interceptions on second-and-goal at the Chiefs 3-yard line.
His second interception came one snap after the Texans opted for a direct snap to defensive end J.J. Watt, a bizarre play call that resulted in a one-yard loss.
Hoyer followed by hitting Chiefs linebacker Josh Mauga squarely in the hands. With 7:18 left in the first quarter, Hoyer threw an errant pass to Chiefs safety Eric Berry. Chiefs cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Sean Smith added picks in the second and fourth quarters.
The Chiefs managed 136 total yards in the first half, but with the Hoyer-led offense ineffective, the Texans finally succumbed defensively. Kansas City covered 94 yards in 11 plays late in the third quarter, with wide receiver Chris Conley snagging a 9-yard touchdown pass from Alex Smith for a 20-0 lead at the 4:35 mark. Running back Spencer Ware capped an 8-play, 71-yard drive with a 5-yard run for a 27-0 lead early in the fourth.
The Texans totaled 226 yards.
Smith passed for 190 yards while Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce finished with eight catches for 128 yards.
NOTES: Chiefs RB Knile Davis’ 106-yard return for a touchdown on the opening kickoff was the second-longest kickoff return in NFL postseason history. … When Texans LB Brian Cushing recorded an interception in the first quarter, it marked the first in the postseason career of Chiefs QB Alex Smith, a span of 120 pass attempts. … Texans QB Brian Hoyer is the first quarterback with four turnovers in one half of a playoff game since Eli Manning in 2005. … Chiefs WR Jeremy Maclin was lost to a knee injury in the third quarter. … Chiefs RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif departed with a concussion in the first half. … Texans DE J.J. Watt was lost to a groin injury in the third quarter.