We are Kansas City, or at least we look at these things from the Kansas City perspective, so we will see a weak Chiefs offense that could not move the ball on the occasions when it could hold onto the ball.
We see an offensive line that was beat far too often, both with penalties and sacks, and receivers that couldn’t get open and a quarterback that appeared to be entirely uncomfortable in the pocket and we focus on the failures.
The Chiefs deserve it, too. They have to be better than this to make the playoffs, and certainly to advance in the playoffs. They were beat, deserved be beaten, and, actually, probably deserved to be beaten by the Texans worse than 19-12 on Sunday.
But there’s another side to it: the Texans were better. The Texans’ defense is one of the best in the league, particularly in the front seven, and particularly if J.J. Watt is near full strength.
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One team’s struggles are the other team’s successes, is what I’m saying, and there’s room for both in professional sports but it sure looked to me like the Texans’ defense was succeeding more than the Chiefs’ offense was failing.
The other team gets paid, too.
Not that there wasn’t plenty to pick apart about the Chiefs today.
Let’s do it!
▪ Parking was a breeze. Thought you might be interested in that.
▪ Marcus Peters could have like six bullet points here.
▪ During the national anthem, he stood away from the rest of the team, drinking water. Not really a protest, not really standing. Whatever. Then, once the game started, speedy rookie Will Fuller ran right by him for a 53-yard gain. That put the ball near the goal line, but then Peters boxed out Braxton Miller, and showed terrific instincts, strength, and confidence with a diving interception. Ten minutes after kickoff, and already the full Marcus Peters Experience. But wait, there’s more!
▪ He gave up Houston’s first touchdown on the kind of double move that plagued him last year, and that he spent the offseason hearing was a problem, and swearing he had covered. Hopkins took a step in, then did a sort of swim move past Peters, their arms interlocking in a sort of awkward moment ... and it sort of looked like Peters gave up on the play. He was motioning toward the official, begging for a flag that never came. I get why he was frustrated — I happen to think it was a good no-call, but can see how it might’ve been called — but you can’t just give up on a play.
▪ In the second quarter, on 3rd and 5, Peters had coverage down the right sideline. A perfectly thrown ball would’ve had Peters beat, but the ball was less than perfect, and fell incomplete. Peters, for a total of maybe three seconds, wagged his finger a bit, like Dikembe Mutombo in that awesome commercial. And thankfully, because we just can’t have obscene gestures like that, Peters was called for taunting, and told a second such egregious act would have him ejected from the game. Good thing the NFL is protecting the innocence of children here.
▪ And then another interception in the third quarter, on a deflection, and a bad throw by Brock Osweiler. He is everything. He is the good, the bad, the cocky, the penalized, the controversial.
▪ As bad as the first 2 1/2 or three quarters were for the Chiefs, the Texans’ offense wasn’t good enough to put them away. Much of this is on Brock Osweiler, who has some talent, but is still inexperienced and makes bad decision.
▪ The Chiefs still had it within seven points in the fourth quarter, twice. They just couldn’t get anything going. When the line held up, the receivers couldn’t get open. When they did, the pass was off target. When it wasn’t, they fumbled the next play. And, when they didn’t fumble, they stalled in front of the end zone and brought on Cairo Santos. Ungood.
▪ J.J. Watt looked MUCH better against the Chiefs than he did in the opener against the Bears. A week ago, he was rather ordinary, routinely being driven out of the play by one blocker. He wasn’t quite 100 percent against the Chiefs, but much closer. He had a sack late in the first quarter, when the Texans rushed just three men, and the Chiefs chipped him with a running back. Alex Smith sort of drifted into Watt’s rush, and needed to get the ball out quicker, but still. Good play by Watt.
▪ The Chiefs offensive line was bad. Really took a step back, particularly the two tackles. Fisher and Schwartz were each beat, each flagged. Actually, they were each flagged on consecutive plays late in the fourth quarter. Houston has a strong front seven, so the Chiefs are getting beat by good players — in particular Watt, Clowney, Wilfork and Mercilus — but they can’t move the ball when the line is getting beat like this.
▪ One other way the shaky line play hurts the Chiefs: Smith had that look again, where you can see he’s not trusting the protection. Nervous feet in the pocket, rushing his reads, no confidence in allowing the play to develop.
▪ Spencer Ware had a total of zero fumbles in the NFL before today, and zero fumbles in college. Sometimes, stuff just happens.
▪ Every time Tyreek Hill catches the ball as a returner, in my most honest place, I feel like it’s 50-50 he scores a touchdown. He took a kick return on Sunday, too, so I’m not sure why Knile Davis or De’Anthony Thomas need to be on the roster. Hill also made a heck of a tackle on punt coverage as the gunner. Kid can play football.
▪ Pass rush took another day off. We kept writing and talking about it in the preseason, and it’s every bit the problem we thought it could be. They had two sacks on Sunday, which isn’t nearly enough for their style of defense, and both came on blitzes. Dee Ford’s key play in the fourth quarter on Joe Barksdale last week remains the only sack of the season generated by the player, and not the play call.