The Kansas City Chiefs looked different against the Houston Texans on Sunday. The first quarter was a never-ending dud. But then, Patrick Mahomes took the game into his hands. He had arguably his best game of his young NFL career. The Kansas City defense started to generate pressure. Suddenly, the avalanche of the Chiefs had suffocated the Texans. Let’s now look towards some of the major points from this contest, with our game recap.
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Hot Houston Start
Things could not have started any better for Houston. A blown coverage sprung Kenny Stills wide open, leading to an easy throw for Deshaun Watson. Dustin Colquitt‘s punt was blocked and returned for a touchdown by rookie Lonnie Johnson. The Kansas City receivers were dropping pass after pass. Meanwhile, the Texans offense was continually gaining positive yards.
Watson was connecting with his receivers on short, quick passes. Will Fuller, DeAndre Hopkins and Darren Fells were smart to find the soft spot in coverage and sit for an easy completion. Additionally, the option game was causing fits for the Chiefs defense. Defenders had no idea where the ball was going. Houston had built an impressive 24-0 lead early in the second quarter. But it was not enough. It was ultimately the coaching decisions, along with the momentum and confidence the Chiefs had, that led to the Texans downfall.
Special Teams Matter
Houston stunned Kansas City with a blocked punt early. However, it was the Chiefs’ special teams unit that sparked their comeback. Mecole Hardman blazed his way into Houston territory on a kick return. The Chiefs scored their first touchdown thereafter. Later on, the decision to try a fake punt was snuffed out by Daniel Sorensen. He knew exactly what was happening and it set up Kansas City with a short field. But that was not all Sorensen did. His hit on the following kickoff, popped the ball right out of the returner’s hands. It landed right into the waiting arms of Darwin Thompson. This placed his team near the five yard line.
Never A Doubt
Mahomes, Andy Reid, the offense and even most Chiefs fans knew they had the ability to comeback. They just had to calm down and find themselves. Right before their first touchdown, Mahomes was shown preaching to his teammates on the sideline. He was saying, “just be special, they already counted us out.” Mahomes was prolific and lethal. He picked apart the Texans feeble pass defense with anticipation, perfect timing and impeccable ball placement.
Mahomes and the Chiefs offense were not just clawing their way back. More impressively, it was a firestorm that came at a rapid pace. It took them just around 10 minutes to take a four point lead, after having a 24 point deficit. Houston did not have a consistent answer for Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins.
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When the Texans thought they had answers with their coverage, the Chiefs used quicker passes or runs with Damien Williams. For Mahomes, he was not phased. He used his legs to rumble for long runs. Most of all, Houston was unable to get their hands on the quarterback. Kansas City did not allow one single sack. All of this combined, allowed the Chiefs to go on a 51-7 run and down the Texans.
Don’t Forget About Me
The offense will be the focus of the comeback. On the other hand, the defense chipped away as the game wore on. It took a while, but KC was able to get pressure on Watson. There was difficulty in containing and wrapping up Watson, but the pass rush worked hard. Frank Clark earned his paycheck and was consistently disruptive. He showed why the Chiefs had invested so heavily in him. He finished the day with three sacks.
Other players like Terrell Suggs, Tanoh Kpassagnon and Mike Pennel were forcing Watson to hurry throws when he did stay in the pocket. Throughout the duration of the contest, many of his throws started to sail high or wide. With Watson giving it all he had, there just was not any ground that the Chiefs were giving up to the Texans. Furthermore, Houston’s weapons became lazy with their fundamentals.
Fringe Players Step Up
We mentioned Sorensen earlier. He was a guy who some thought would not be returning to the team in 2019. Ultimately, Steve Spagnuolo trusted in the BYU product and knew he would shine in this defensive scheme. Sorensen has come through and is able to fly all over the field. Not being stuck in a strong safety role has helped him tremendously. He led Kansas City with nine tackles on Sunday.
Elsewhere, Dorian O’Daniel may not have stuck out to many people watching. But, he was effective in defending the short to intermediate routes. We did not see much of him during the regular season. Yet, he was ready. He notched a sack, a quarterback hit and a tackle for loss. Other defenders like Rashad Fenton, Xavier Williams and Ben Niemann answered the bell with their limited opportunities as well.
The Chiefs victory over the Texans helped to avenge an early season defeat to Houston. Up next, they get a similar opportunity in the AFC Championship Game. Kansas City had the game won against the Tennessee Titans back in November. However, fumbles and conservative calls allowed the team from Nashville to hang around. It was a stunning loss, and also the last time the Chiefs did not emerge victorious. They will get another chance at redemption on their home turf this Sunday.
We will have plenty of Chiefs content once again this week. Be on the lookout for more articles and podcast episodes. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.