While talking with reporters earlier this week, Texans safety Tashaun Gipson stopped to jog everyone’s memory.
“I need to remind you ... I caught his first pick last year,” Gipson said. “So I want you all to remember that, and you know, it might happen again this year.”
Gipson doesn’t have the ball in a case in his house, but it’s certainly a bragging point that he had the first interception off Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes last season.
It came in the Chiefs’ fifth game when Gipson was playing for the Jaguars. Coincidentally, Mahomes hasn’t thrown an interception through the Chiefs’ first four games this year. Gipson will lineup against Mahomes at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday when the Texans, 3-2, play the Chiefs, 4-1.
That’s not to say Gipson was calling his shot against Mahomes. In fact, Gipson lavished praise on Mahomes and the number of eye-popping throws he’s made.
“That’s God given,” Gipson said. “He was born that way and that’s the toughest thing. Schematically there’s nothing that you can do to stop him from making these ridiculous throws with his no looks, with his left hand. ... You’ve just gotta go out there and play football, fundamentally sound football, and like I say if you give him a little crease, he’s definitely gonna make you pay.
“So obviously we’ve got to ... play real technical and we’ve got to be real sound and not end up on ESPN and on his highlight reel.”
With the no-look throw a part of Mahomes’ arsenal, Gipson said it’s a challenge because the defense can’t necessarily read Mahomes eyes. And no scout team quarterback can replicate what the Texans will face Sunday.
“He’s definitely not that prototypical quarterback when it comes to those types of things,” Gipson said. “He can make plays with his legs, but he doesn’t want to make them with his legs, he wants to make them with his arm, so his feet (are) just buying him time to make these ridiculous throws.
“So you’ve got to be real patient and when you’re deep, you’re deep, because when he’s running around scrambling, making guys look silly, he’s throwing the ball 70 yards scrambling to his right, throwing across his body, making throws that are just unheard off. So the biggest thing is going out there, getting in his face, giving him pressure, keeping him in a pocket. ... It’ll be a lot easier for us if we can contain him and not let them do what he’s been doing since he took over the starting job.”
Gipson also had high praise for Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.
“He’s the best tight end in the National Football League, in my opinion, him and (Eagles’ Zach) Ertz,” Gipson said. “I played them last year, those two were two of my tougher challenges and matchups last year. I always look forward to these type of matchups. I feel like I thrive in these. I’m excited about this matchup this week. He’s a familiar foe, obviously, we’re gonna see how Sunday turns out.”
Here is what other Texans players were saying in videos posted on the Texans’ website:
Defensive lineman J. J. Watt
On Mahomes: “It’s obvious. Everybody knows how good he is. He’s a great player. He can move around, he can make plays on the run, he can make plays looking one way, looking the other way, not looking, looking backwards, he can do everything. So, he’s a phenomenal player, it’s a great challenge for us which we’re really looking forward to. But the guy deserves all the credit he gets. He’s a great player.”
On pressuring Mahomes: “That’s our goal every week. As a defensive line, your job is to get to the quarterback and make his job as hard as possible. He obviously does a great job handling that, moving around, throwing on the run.”
On playing at Arrowhead Stadium: “It’s a phenomenal atmosphere. It’s a phenomenal place to play. Great fans, great energy, tons of noise. It’s really a great atmosphere to play in as a player. Place gets rocking, place gets loud. I have a lot of respect for the fanbase, they show up. They make it a great place to play a game and so it’s a lot of fun. You enjoy going into atmospheres like that.”
Quarterback Deshaun Watson
On Mahomes: “He’s been doing a heck of a job (putting) the Chiefs in contention each and every game and putting up a lot of great numbers because that’s what he’s been doing his whole career and just, you know, being that leader and he’s done a heck of a job for that organization.”
His assessment of Mahomes: “He’s a winner, he’s a ballplayer, a leader, makes a lot of great plays outside the pocket, a lot of plays inside of the pocket. The biggest thing is he’s a winner. ... He’s got a strong arm, elusive, make a lot of plays with his legs, makes great decisions and is very accurate.”
Cornerback Johnathan Joseph
On former teammate Tyrann Mathieu: “That’s my brother. I’m glad to see him go there have success, but you know when it comes Sunday it’s all business.”
On Mahomes and Watson: “Both of those guys are just able to stand in the pocket, make all the throws you know able to command you know the huddle. On the field, they’re the general. They can take off and extend plays, throw the no-look pass, so they’re taking it to the next level so it’s fun to sit back and watch those guys, but you know come Sunday, man, it’s a big task for us to try and contain him.”
On Mahomes and the Chiefs offense: “He can make all the throws, he’s got weapons at all the spots and they’ve got a good running game, so you know that’s tough within itself. You’ve got to keep them behind the sticks which is tough also, so I think it’ll be a fun game come Sunday. Obviously a big challenge, but you know that’s what the NFL is all about.”
Facing Andy Reid’s offense: “That’s what this league’s about. You go out, you game plan, you watch film, you use your bread and butter plays obviously, but you know you want a game plan it and hit a couple of those big chunk plays when you have opportunity throughout the game. So we’ve got to do a good job of being aware of those situations as a defense.”
Cornerback Bradley Roby
On possibly facing Tyreek Hill: “Definitely have to prepare for him to play, also Sammy (Watkins). We don’t who’s going to play, so we’re preparing like they’re all going to.”
On the Chiefs offense: “Lot of motions, lot of window dressing, have you look one way, go another way, misdirection. Pitch plays, option plays, RPOs, deep balls, overs. They have a lot of things that go into their offense, a lot of great playmakers and Mahomes is one of the best quarterbacks in the league right now, MVP last year. It’s going to be a tough task.”