In this week’s Blitz, The Star’s Terez A. Paylor answered five postgame Twitter questions from Chiefs fans.
1. What is the deal with the #Chiefs and first halves? Second straight week they’ve sleepwalked. — @KCDave85
For whatever reason, the Chiefs’ offense has been stagnant over their first two games, at least until they get into the no-huddle. Defenses have spent all offseason analyzing the Chiefs’ strengths, and one thing they’ve done is take away quarterback Alex Smith’s ability to run (more on that), which is one of his biggest strengths. They might also be doing a nice job covering the Chiefs’ pet passing concepts, as Smith has uncharacteristically taken a number of sacks in which he’s held the ball too long. The good news is that Chiefs coach Andy Reid generally fixes issues like these.
2. I thought Travis Kelce was a big advantage going into this game. Why couldn’t we get him going? — @azecho
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Kelce finished with five catches for 34 yards on seven targets, which is far off his production in the Chiefs’ Wild Card Game win over the Texans in January, when he caught eight passes for 128 yards. That had to be a frustrating experience for you fantasy football players, but one man you can blame for Kelce’s performance on Sunday was Texans cornerback A.J. Bouye, whose teammates were crediting him with doing a nice job on Kelce throughout the game. Texans coach Bill O’Brien said they also doubled Kelce at times.
3. What kept Alex in the pocket so much today? Defense, or his preference? Much less effective when staying there. — @Dada5Billion
Alex was asked about this after the game. He credited the Texans for having “a good plan” and mixing up their pressure. Sometimes the Texans dropped nine guys into coverage and other times, they blitzed a bunch of guys. They also spied him to take some of that stuff away. It’s worth noting that Smith, who averaged 31 rushing yards per game a year ago, has only rushed for 15 yards total, through the first two games of 2016. That’s something to keep an eye on going forward.
4. Should the Chiefs start out with more no huddle to try to get the offense going in the future? They seem to get in rhythm this way. — @riesejr
I asked Reid about this after the game, and he noted that they did go to it in the fourth quarter (which is when they rattled off 126 of their 291 total yards). But Reid said going to it earlier can put the defense in a bind, just because any three-and-outs will put them back on the field quicker and thus, tire them out. “I think that’s been proven,” he said. Still, fans seemed to be clamoring for it in the third quarter, and will likely continue to do so until the offense becomes more productive at its typical pace.
5. In your opinion ... is Houston the better team or did everything just go wrong for K.C.? — @JakePerry56
I still think the Chiefs are the better team. Brock Osweiler and Lamar Miller have made the Texans better, but Houston, which played reasonably well and had home-field advantage, still needed the Chiefs’ passing offense to stink up the joint to win a close game. Losses like this happen in the NFL, guys. It’s like the “no-way game” on Madden, when the computer refuses to let you go 16-0. Like I said before the game, it’s tough to beat any self-respecting, competent NFL team three times within a 12-month period in its home. The Texans circled this game on the calendar the moment the schedule was released in April.
15 – The number of times receiver Jeremy Maclin was targeted Sunday, the most of his Chiefs tenure. He caught six passes for 68 yards.