An A-Z rewind of the Chiefs 17-16 victory over the Houston Texans and a fast-forward look ahead:
is for absolutely and for astonishing, which no one can deny this is after the utterly depressing 2012 season: The Chiefs, 2-14 then, are the only undefeated team in the NFL after their victory over the Texans and Denver’s 39-33 loss at Indianapolis on Sunday. “I’ve never been 7-0 in my life,” linebacker Derrick Johnson said.
is for but, as in but the season is 16 games, not seven.
is for Charles, Jamaal, who had 123 yards of total offense and a touchdown to become just the second NFL player to have at least 100 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown in each of the first seven games of a season. The other? Buffalo’s O.J. Simpson in 1975.
is for defense, which choked off Houston’s hopes for a rally with five second-half sacks to stay on pace (80) to break the NFL record of 72 set by the 1984 Chicago Bears.
is for expectations: Since 1966, 31 teams have gone 7-0. Each has reached the playoffs, 15 have made it to the Super Bowl and nine have won it all.
is for fourth and goal at the Houston 1, from where coach Andy Reid opted to go for it with the thin 17-16 lead only for Alex Smith to misfire for tight end Sean McGrath. “We worked so stinkin’ hard to get there, I just wanted to pound the thing in and get it done and get a touchdown,” Reid said. Said Smith: I was pretty upset with myself on that one, I thought I was going to be able to run in and got kind of surprised when nobody was covering him.”
is for goal-line follies, which worked out better for the Chiefs in the first half when Smith scored on a 5-yard run. After realizing Charles had run the wrong way on a read option, Smith simply turned upfield. It unfolded so seamlessly that it almost looked like it could have been drawn up that way. But it wasn’t: “We made that play up,” Charles joked, adding, “My mind went blank, and I’m just glad that Alex was able to execute the play and score.”
is for Hali, Tamba, the linebacker who had 2 1/2 sacks, giving him 71 1/2 in his career, a half-sack behind Art Still for third place on the Chiefs career list.
is for injuries, which the Chiefs largely continue to avoid as part of this seemingly charmed season,
is for Justin Houston, the linebacker who had a half-sack to leave him tied with Hali at 10 for the season in what is shaping up as quite a race between the friends who say they feed off each other.
is for Keenum, Case, the Houston quarterback who acquitted himself well in his NFL debut by completing 15 of 25 passes for 271 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions. “We found a little heartbeat today,” coach Gary Kubiak said.
is for least amount of points allowed in the NFL, 81 by the Chiefs. The team record for fewest points allowed through eight games is 85, set by the 1969 team that won the Super Bowl.
is for McCluster, Dexter, who led the team with 70 yards in receptions despite leaving the game briefly because of what he said was an eye injury.
is for next up: the Cleveland Browns, who are 3-4 after a 31-13 loss at Green Bay on Sunday.
is for offense, of which the Chiefs just aren’t generating much: They entered the game 25th in the league in yards (326.3), 26th in yards per play (4.9) and ninth in scoring (26.3 points a game, boosted by five defensive or special teams touchdowns). None of those numbers changed much on Sunday, when the Chiefs gained 357 yards, averaged 5.3 and scored 17 points.
is for Poe, Dontari, who engaged in a battle with Chris Myers, one of the best centers in the NFL, and had four tackles and a blocked pass to help clog the middle.
is for quarter, the fourth, in which the Chiefs have allowed 17 points all season after holding the Texans scoreless on Sunday. “That’s the best thing about our game right now,” Johnson said. The Chiefs also were scoreless in the fourth on Sunday, but they’ve put up 57 in the final 15 this season.
is for Reid, Andy, whose 7-0 start matches his best in Philadelphia. Those 2004 Eagles went 13-3 and reached the Super Bowl, where they lost to New England 24-21.
is for symmetry: For the second time this season against a former employer, Quintin Demps had a 57-yard kickoff return. He had one of the same distance in Philadelphia.
is for targeted, which the Chiefs suddenly have become: “When you’re ringing off as many victories as we have back to back to back, everybody’s gunning for you, so we’ve got to continue to stand up,” cornerback Dunta Robinson said. “Everybody wants to be the team that knocks your off of your undefeated streak.”
is for ugly, which this victory really was but so what? “Some games are going to be messy; some games are going to be hard: It’s the NFL,” safety Kendrick Lewis said. “However it comes, however we need to get it, we all pull together Our confidence is constantly building.”
is for view, an obstructed one, apparently: Thought for sure Anthony Fasano broke the plane of the end zone in the fourth quarter, but upon review officials upheld the ruling he was down.
W is for winning locker room, which the Chiefs enjoyed for a seventh straight time, as seen here
is for X-factor, the Chiefs’ ongoing good fortune, accentuated by the rash of injuries suffered by the Texans: They entered the game without starting quarterback Matt Schaub, among others, and lost star running back Arian Foster and linebacker Brian Cushing on Sunday.
is for YAC, yards after catch, a bunch of which Dexter McCluster picked up on a third and 21 play that went for 43 with the help of some downfield blocks by Dwayne Bowe. “My job was just to get a guy on the ground,” Bowe said. “I actually got three of them on the ground.”
Z is for Z-receiver, Bowe’s position: After seeming to serve as a decoy much of the season, Bowe was targeted for a season-high nine passes, catching five.