The Texans traveled to Kansas City on Saturday and, to channel my inner Denny Green, showed they are who we thought they were. And the Chiefs let’em off the hook.
The Texans were able to come away with a 16-10 victory, but the Chiefs sure gave them lots of help.
Houston got the ball first and immediately showed that the offense has not lost a step in the off-season, especially the passing game, even in a torrential rain. Matt Schaub played only the first two series on offense, but was 7 for 7 passing for 70 yards and led the touchdown scoring drive in the first quarter. Dan Orlovsky played the rest of the game, minus one series, and ended the day completing 9 of 20 passes for 121 yards. Most importantly, they threw no interceptions. It seemed like the middle and deep passes were always open. It did not matter who the receiver was, they were just playing pitch and catch with the QB’s. Combined, Schaub and Orlovsky completed passes to 11 different receivers.
The running game was a little sluggish at first, probably due to a combination of the Chiefs new 3-4 defense and the Texans not having a cohesive O-Line. They had to start 2 back-up linemen due to injury. Steve Slaton played only the first series. He had only 7 yards on 4 carries, most of that coming on a 6 yard run. When Chris Brown came in to carry the ball things started to move on the ground.
The Texans started their second offensive series on their own 6 yard line after Kansas City downed a great punt. Brown had a nice run on first down, followed by two great down field passes. On the next play, after a holding call, Brown took a screen pass 16 yards upfield. He fumbled and was horse-collared at the same time. Houston recovered the fumble and then had the penalty yardage tacked on to the end of the play. Brown got them the rest of the way to the endzone after that, eventually scoring from 2 yards out.
Despite not having early success running the ball, Houston never got away from it and it paid off. As early as the second quarter the Chiefs defenders were over pursuing and there were cut-back lanes open for the Texans’ RB’s. Late in the game, when Ryan Moats was carrying the ball, the Texans were able to start breaking off longer runs.
On defense the Texans showed their major weakness, and some strengths. Dunta Robinson and Jacques Reeves were sorely missed at the corner spots.
Dwayne Bowe did not start for the Chiefs due to disciplinary issues. He was demoted to third string. Even with their back-up receiver starting the game, the Chiefs were able to move the ball in the air. Their intermediate and deep passing plays were working all game. When Bowe was in the game he looked every bit the talented receiver KC drafted in the first round in 2007. Granted it was against 3rd team players.
However, they made mistakes that prevented them from getting anything going. Every drive for the Chiefs was hampered by some mistake. There was an in completion on the first drive. They had two incompletions going into halftime. Their drive to start the second half was the worst. They had a very bad incompletion, and a penalty on third down. They converted on 4th and short. Then QB Brodie Croyle committed one of the worst intentional grounding penalties you’ll ever see. The drive ended when on 4th and 2 Croyle had his pass batted down at the line – in a situation where they should have attempted a field goal.
There were some bright spots on defense for the Texans. Their pass rush was very good. Cassell and Croyle and third string QB Tyler Thigpen were under constant pressure. Thigpen was able to elude the rush somewhat and still complete passes, but the pressure was still there. The run defense was adequate as well. The Texans had a great stop on a run blitz early in the second half. KC was able to break off a nice run every now and then, but for the most part Houston was able to stop them. Houston was also able to keep the Chiefs screens and short passing game stifled.
Other notes: Houston’s special teams looked very good. They made no mistakes and had some big returns. They also kept KC from returning the ball very far…..Rex Grossman played only one series in the 3rd quarter. He did not return to the game because of a hamstring injury and will likely miss a few weeks…..KC didn’t score a touchdown until there were only 5 minutes left in the game. It came on a short pass from a scrambling Thigpen to back-up TE Brad Cottam.
About the Author
Written by Gabriel Rodriguez
Born in Germany, early childhood in NYC, raised in the D.C. area, currently reside in Charlottesville, VA. Big fan of the NY Giants and San Antonio Spurs.