KANSAS CITY — Marcus Coleman made the interception and the long return. Andre Johnson and Derick Armstrong made the catches.
Finally, Kris Brown made the kick that kept the Kansas City Chiefs winless.
The Houston Texans came up with one clutch second-half play after another Sunday, and Brown capped the rally by nailing a 50-yard field goal with 2 seconds left for a 24-21 victory. The Chiefs, the defending AFC West champions, became the fourth team since 1990 to start 0-3 after making the playoffs the previous season.
“My life peaks when I get a chance to win a game,” Brown said.
Priest Holmes became the Chiefs’ career leading rusher with 4,941 yards, but couldn’t get into the end zone. Trent Green threw three touchdown passes but also gave up the interception that Coleman returned 102 yards for a third-quarter touchdown to tie at 14.
The Chiefs defense kept Houston in check for three quarters, before giving up three plays of 20 or more yards in the fourth. On the winning drive, Houston marched 42 yards in 2:16 to set up the field goal.
“Right now, we’re sort of snakebit,” Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said. “We can’t make things go our way. We had an opportunity to win a football game here, and we couldn’t take advantage of it.”
Kansas City, 13-3 a year ago, hasn’t started this badly since opening the 1980 season 0-4.
“It feels like someone’s got me in a headlock, and I can’t get out of it,” said tight end Tony Gonzalez, who caught Green’s first touchdown pass for a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
Houston (1-2) won despite rushing for 76 yards against a team that gave up career days to opposing running backs in the first two games.
Holmes, who played with a sprained ankle, broke Christian Okoye’s record of 4,897 yards with a 7-yard run up the middle midway through the third quarter.
His failure to score from the 1 in the third quarter kept Kansas City from taking a two-touchdown lead. One play later, he was chasing Coleman.
Holmes caught him at the 3-yard line but couldn’t punch the ball loose.
“If I had it to do over again, I’d probably have tried to push him out of bounds and get our defense back on the field,” Holmes said.
Coleman’s return was the longest defensive touchdown ever given up by the Chiefs, and the longest in Houston’s two-plus seasons. The Texans’ previous record was Marlon McCree’s 95-yard interception return against Tennessee on Dec. 21, 2003, while Buffalo’s Tony Greene returned an interception 101 yards against Kansas City in 1976.
“We had been out there a while, and I was a little tired,” Coleman said. “I was just trying to get it in there.”
Green’s third touchdown pass, to tight end Jason Dunn, put the Chiefs up 21-14 with a little more than 11 minutes left.
Houston responded on its ensuing possession with David Carr’s 9-yard touchdown pass to Jabar Gaffney, tying the game at 21. Johnson’s leaping, juggling 37-yard grab over cornerback Eric Warfield set up the score.
“David just told me to go,” Johnson said. “He knows that if there is a jump ball, that I can win it.”
Also on the drive, Houston converted on third-and-17 when Carr hit Armstrong for a 20-yard gain to the Kansas City 45.
Green’s other touchdown pass went to Chris Horn, activated from the practice squad Saturday, for a 14-6 lead in the third.
Carr also threw an interception in the end zone, costing the Texans a chance to take an early lead and giving the Chiefs the ball on their first scoring drive.
Warfield, playing in his first game since his arrest Monday on suspicion of drunken driving, picked off Carr’s floater after the Texans drove to the Kansas City 10 for his third interception in two games.
Kansas City capitalized with Gonzalez’s touchdown catch, but Houston trailed 7-6 at the half after Brown kicked field goals of 28 and 49 yards in the second quarter.