The Kansas City Chiefs kicked off the Run It Back tour with a successful win. A 34-20 victory over the Houston Texans made it the sixth straight season with an opening week win for Andy Reid‘s squad. Despite a lack of preseason and possible distractions, they won with the formula they have used before. Situational defense and dominant offense was too much for the opponent once again. And if you have not heard, Clyde Edwards-Helaire is going to be fun. Let’s recap some of the major parts of the contest.
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Ride With Clyde
Edwards-Helaire was the main focus after the win Thursday night. He shimmied and shook his way to 138 yards on 25 carries in his first NFL action. The way he made people miss at LSU was a staple on Clyde’s film. Those same traits stood out against Houston.
Edwards-Helaire’s juke versus Justin Reid one on one in the open field was dirty en route to his first career touchdown. He proved he could handle Coach Reid’s playbook, by winning in between the tackles, as well as in outside zone. In addition, the smaller frame, combined with his tree trunk legs and low center of gravity, makes tackle attempts challenging. CEH was also not afraid to throw a shoulder into tacklers on the end of runs. Overall, he proved the team’s confidence in him to kickoff his career and the season.
Do Your Job
Stealing the classic Bill Belichick line here, as the Kansas City Chiefs defense played their roles and have encouraging steps to build off of. It was by no means a perfect result. Missed tackles against David Johnson hurt them a few times. Meanwhile, drives could have ended earlier if sacks are completed against Deshaun Watson.
However, with the offense they have, they can just focus on stops and takeaways. We saw exactly that in critical situations. A physical, grinding attempt by Tyrann Mathieu to pressure Watson led to an easy interception for rookie L’Jarius Sneed. Sneed also faired favorably, as a whole. His pass breakups and speed led to frustration for the Texans receivers. Finally, Kansas City’s defense seems to feel a sense of comfort in the red zone. With improvements on the little things, the Chiefs defense can potentially get to where they were at the end of last season.
Winning The Trenches
One of the final aspects that stood out for the Chiefs, was the trench play on both sides. To a degree, it exceeded expectations offensively. The Houston pass rush was able to snuff out goal line rush attempts by Edwards-Helaire and get to Patrick Mahomes a few times. Nonetheless, the questionable interior proved they can play some bully ball. Andrew Wylie delivered on a necessary strong performance. Likewise, Mahomes, Edwards-Helaire and others have to be thrilled with the addition of Kelechi Osemele. His mauling presence in the running game is a strong asset to have.
Defensively, Frank Clark and Chris Jones were able to pressure Watson into hurried throws from time to time. The depth of that unit will be essential at the outset of a much different NFL season, than what we conventionally see. In coming weeks, expect defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo to dial up more blitzes if the natural pressure continues to resonate.
A lone disappointment for the Chiefs, was injuries were suffered against the Texans. Second year defensive lineman Khalen Saunders has a dislocated elbow, and was lost early in the game. His timetable is currently unknown. Cornerback Charvarius Ward has a fractured hand and will undergo surgery. The hope is, that he can return soon with a cast. Of course, the timetable is still in question. Lastly, defensive end Alex Okafor is dealing with a hamstring strain.
The Kansas City Chiefs will play their first division game of the season next week. A visit to brand new SoFi Stadium against the Los Angeles Chargers will be exciting to look forward to. LA travels to Cincinnati to face the Bengals this Sunday.
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– 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.