Marcus Peters walked onto an NFL field for the first time in the regular season on Sunday, but after the Chiefs’ 27-20 victory over the Houston Texans, he sounded like a wise veteran, crediting others for his success.
In this case, Peters pointed to linebacker Justin Houston, whose pressure on Texans quarterback Brian Hoyer on the Texans’ first snap proved disruptive enough to cause a flutter ball ripe for the picking.
One play into his NFL career, Peters, the Chiefs’ first-round draft selection this year, had an interception.
“It was 50 (Houston) who caused it,” Peters said. “He put the tackle in the quarterback’s lap. When you have the best pass rusher in the league, it makes it a whole lot easier.”
Houston did what Houston does, getting heat on quarterbacks. After all, he set a team record with 22 sacks last season and had one of the five Chiefs’ sacks on Sunday.
On this play, Houston pushed right tackle Derek Newton into Hoyer, and the pass intended for DeAndre Hopkins wasn’t close.
“I felt like I read the snap pretty good,” Houston said. “I got a good get-off, and Peters made a great play.”
Peters went low to secure the ball, and the Chiefs, who tied for the fewest interceptions in the league last season with six, had one on their first play.
The Chiefs were in business at the 13-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Alex Smith drilled a touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce. The defense had given the Chiefs a golden opportunity, and they cashed in.
“It’s great to get a turnover no matter when it happens,” Houston said. “We put our offense in a great position, and they did the rest.”
The game’s tone was set. The Chiefs piled up the points and took a 27-9 lead at halftime. The Texans played uphill all afternoon, and it started on their first play.
“It just started bad,” Hoyer said. “Poor execution. You never want to start the game that way.”
Peters’ debut wasn’t perfect. Later in the first quarter, the taller Hopkins reached over the 6-foot Peters and hauled in a 4-yard touchdown reception, his first of two scores. Hopkins also had nine receptions.
“He made some great plays,” Peters said. “They’re going to make plays and we’re going to make ours. I’ll go back and get better next week.”
The next challenge is greater than Hoyer as the Chiefs face Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Thursday at Arrowhead Stadium. But Peters won’t soon forget his first NFL play. He retained the ball as a souvenir and said it will belong to his father, the head coach of his high school in West Oakland, Calif. Peters savored every moment of his debut.
“It felt special, it felt special when we were singing the national anthem,” Peters said. “It’s a dream come true to play on this level.”
And to deliver one of the game’s biggest moments on the first play of his career.