KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Ticker) -- The kick returns of
ensured the St. Louis Rams would not be returning to the playoffs.
Hall returned both a kickoff and punt for touchdowns as the reeling Rams were routed, 49-10, by former coach Dick Vermeil and the
Kansas City Chiefs
, who remained in the postseason hunt.
Hall became the eighth player in NFL history to return both types of kicks for touchdowns in the same game, taking back a kickoff 88 yards in the first quarter and a punt 86 yards in the second period.
Earlier this season, Michael Lewis of New Orleans brought back a kickoff and punt for touchdowns against Washington.
"I didn't expect him to return two here today," Vermeil said. "I'm not a prophet, but I said that to him because I've seen it happen before. They (returners) gain that confidence and they just can't wait to attack."
The long scores demoralized the Rams (5-8), who reached the Super Bowl last season but are reaching for answers this year. Although barely mathematically alive, they are virtually assured of missing the postseason for the first time since 1998.
"We've got to look at some different personnal and move some guys around and win a game with Arizona (next week)," admitted Rams coach Mike Martz.
Vermeil was facing the Rams for the first time since guiding them to a Super Bowl title three years ago. He has put together another potent offense with the Chiefs (7-6) and unleashed it on his former team Sunday, racking up 49 points for the second straight week.
"There's nothing vindictive or personal in regards to beating the St. Louis Rams," Vermeil said. "I don't feel any different about beating the Rams as I did about winning last week."
NFL rushing leader
fan for 132 yards and two touchdowns, lifting his season TD total to 24, two shy of Rams running back
's 2000 record.
completed 10-of-15 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown and defensive end
returned a fumble 42 yards for a score for the Chiefs. It was the ninth turnover returned for a TD against the Rams this season.
"Anytime you start a game down by 21 points, no matter who you are playing, it's tough," Martz said. "It demoralizes your defense. We've done a good job of demoralizing our defense."
If the Chiefs want to make the playoffs for the first time since the 1997 season, they will have to beat AFC West foes Denver, San Diego and Oakland in their last three games.
"We'll enjoy the win for 24 hours, but then prepare for a tough final three games," defensive end
said. "(It's) the best division in professional football. If we win three, we should be in the playoffs."
Injuries and inconsistency have forced St. Louis to change quarterbacks four times this season. With
sidelined, the Rams turned to
, with predictable results.
Martin was 24-of-35 for 218 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions while absorbing six sacks. It was his fumble that Clemons brought back for a TD, and he failed to direct a scoring drive in the second half as he fell to 0-2 as a starter.
"I think that they did a good job of pass protecting, really," Martin said. "I just did a bad job of holding it too long."
Hobbled by a sprained ankle, Faulk had 10 carries for just 13 yards for the Rams, who have lost three in a row. In their last two games against the Chiefs, they have surrendered 103 points.
is not Marshall. He's playing hurt," Martz said. "He wants to play, so we spot him in there a bit and go that way."
A 50-yard punt return by
set up a 36-yard field goal by
less than three minutes into the game, but the Rams held the lead for 12 seconds. That's how long it took Hall to burst up the middle, veer right and break a handful of poor tackles for his first score.
Three plays after the ensuing kickoff, Martin was drilled by Chiefs sack leader Hicks and coughed up the ball. Clemons scooped it up and returned it for his first NFL touchdown and a 14-3 lead under five minutes into the contest.
"We had a great rush," Clemons said. "
was coming from the left side and he got a read on the quarterback and stripped it and the ball popped down right in front of me. I was able to pick it up in full stride and take it to the house."
Martin threw an eight-yard TD pass to
with 1:43 left in the first quarter, but that was the extent of St. Louis' offense. In the second period, Holmes had a pair of short TD runs around Hall's second return.
Holmes had runs of eight, 16 and 17 yards before banging in from the 2 to complete a 66-yard drive. He has rushed for a TD in 11 straight games, two shy of John Riggins' 1982 NFL record.
The Chiefs forced a punt, and this time Hall started left, then changed direction and took it back down the right sideline. Reserve linebacker
to clear the path for Hall, whose score made it 28-10 with 6:58 left.
"I think about halfway through the game, the fans were expecting that to happen every time, and we were, too," said Hall, who had a team-record 90-yard punt return for a TD last week against Arizona. "It makes the blockers block even harder, which is good for me, and it's a total advantage in our kicking game."
"Those three returns I think hurt them a little bit emotionally and took some of the fight out of them," Vermeil said. "It gave us an edge."
Holmes had runs of 12, 11 and 17 yards before his one-yarder capped a 57-yard march with 1:57 remaining in the half.
In the fourth quarter, Green threw a six-yard TD pass to
before taking off his helmet for the rest of the day. Backup
directed a scoring drive that ended with a one-yard TD run by
, who came on for Holmes.
"I'm still friends with a lot of those guys," Green said. "I keep in contact with them and talk to coach Martz quite a bit, so it's tough to separate yourself from those types of things. ... You don't want to get caught up in the emotional part of it."
Since 1995, Kansas City is 14-2 at home against the AFC, the best home interconference mark in the league.