Hall gets Chiefs going all the way to 3-0

Monday, September 22, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:31 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

HOUSTON — 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 against Houston on Sunday. The Chiefs have gone 3-0 for the first time in seven years.

Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil noted that Hall is from Houston.

“The guy that gave us the spark was Dante Hall,” Vermeil said. “We are going to give the game ball to his mother. 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.

Moments later, Trent Green hit a wide-open Eddie Kennison for a 15-yard score.

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 side, 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 touchdown run in the final quarter. It was his first score 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.

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.

Tony Banks played the final minutes and threw a late touchdown pass to rookie Andre Johnson, who finished with seven receptions for 102 yards and two scores.

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.

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