For Pete's Sake

Texans say they’ll need their ‘A’ game against Chiefs’ Kareem Hunt

Kareem Hunt: 'I'm a guy who likes to finish off runs'

Kareem Hunt ran for 81 yards and two touchdowns in the Kansas City Chiefs' 27-20 win against the Philadelphia Eagles at Arrowhead Stadium on Sept. 17, 2017.
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Kareem Hunt ran for 81 yards and two touchdowns in the Kansas City Chiefs' 27-20 win against the Philadelphia Eagles at Arrowhead Stadium on Sept. 17, 2017.

Chiefs rookie running back Kareem Hunt has been so good through the first four games of his NFL career that you could throw out his first-half stats and he’d still be leading the league in rushing.

So it may be somewhat surprising to know that Texans linebacker Jadeveon Clowney likes Hunt, particularly since the Chiefs play at Houston on Sunday night.

“The guy is not looking to avoid (anybody),” Clowney told reporters. “He’s trying to run everybody over. That’s what I like about him. He’s a very physical running back and he’s got good vision. He can run the ball well.

“You better come, bring your ‘A’ game, better be ready to hit all game.”

The Texans are 2-2, but have scored 90 points in their last two games. They will face the unbeaten Chiefs on “Sunday Night Football,” which will be shown nationally on NBC.

Defensive lineman J.J. Watt was asked by reporters if there was a different buzz going into the game, because the Texans were coming off a game in which they scored 57 points.

“I mean, we’re 2-2. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here,” Watt said. “It’s not like we’re the ones that are 4-0, so we’ve got to be a little bit tempered with that. But we’re very excited. Obviously a big game coming up on Sunday against a team who is undefeated in our conference, so, yeah, it’s a really big game.

“Hopefully we can have the same type of performance we had last week and yeah, it’s exciting, but we also need to make sure that we stay on the ground here.”

Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson also had praise for Hunt, and said it was a folly to try and tackle him alone. Coach Bill O’Brien compared Hunt to former Jacksonville start Maurice Jones-Drew.

“When you look at Hunt run, I mean, he’s built low to the ground,” O’Brien told reporters. “He’s a very, very physically tough guy to tackle. He’s fast, he’s a stretch-cut runner, he does a great job of pressing the line of scrimmage and has really good vision. He’s a very, very difficult back to tackle.

“If you let this guy get into the secondary, he’s got that Maurice Jones-Drew type of quality where it’s hard to tackle him. He’s got a big lower body and he’s a strong, strong player. It’s a challenge and he’s done a great job.”

O’Brien and the Texans player were also quick to note that the Chiefs offense was much more than just Hunt. The Chiefs are second in the NFL in total offense (405.2 yards per game) and third in points per game (30.5).

The Chiefs’ Alex Smith, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce also received high praise from the Texans.

“This is a team that can score very quickly with their explosive plays,” O’Brien said. “They do a lot of different things on defense we have to be prepared for. Kansas City’s a big, big challenge for us.”

While this will be the fourth time in three years that the Chiefs will play the Texans in Houston, Watt said the past games will not affect his team’s plan Sunday.

“Obviously we’ve played them each year here for the last couple of years, but this league is week-to-week and things can change and there’s going to be new plays and new players and obviously they have some new faces over there,” Watt said. “But they have a good coaching staff, they have good players and they’re able to do different things from week to week, but it’s just up to us. At the end of the day, it comes down to we have to do our job.”

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff