Red Zone

Halftime observations from Arrowhead: Chiefs 6, Eagles 3

Allen Bailey tackles Eagles running back Wendell Smallwood for a 2-yard loss.
Allen Bailey tackles Eagles running back Wendell Smallwood for a 2-yard loss. deulitt@kcstar.com

It’s halftime of the Chiefs’ Week 2 showdown against Philadelphia, and they lead the Eagles 6-3 at Arrowhead Stadium. Here are Terez A. Paylor’s quick thoughts.

1. Travis Kelce’s early involvement says a ton

After catching only a handful of passes in last week’s win over New England, the fact Andy Reid and the Chiefs went to Kelce early and often Sunday says a lot about his importance to the offense. If I owned Kelce in fantasy, I’d feel good about that. It means Reid is conscious of getting the big fella the ball, and Kelce should rarely have dry spells.

2. Justin Houston is back to pre-injury form

Houston has been outstanding this half. He’s been everywhere. Made plays in coverage, set the edge. The old short-area burst is back –– few in football can close on a quarterback, runner or receiver in short spaces faster than Houston. The 28-year old could be headed toward a career year.

3. Good to see Dee Ford get on the board

If Houston does in fact have a career year, it will free up outside linebacker Dee Ford to eat, too. Ford should see lots of one-on-one blocks, which will give him a chance to post some nice numbers. His second-quarter sack was impressive, as he showed really strong hands by corralling quarterback Carson Wentz – a strong, mobile runner – with one hand and hauling him to the ground.

4. This game is in Alex’s hands

The Chiefs haven’t run much, presumably because the Eagles are stacking the box and taking it away. That means Alex Smith, the quarterback, is going to have to win this one. He uncorked a deep attempt to Ty Hill that landed incomplete in the first quarter, and that was a good sign, but he’ll still need to unleash some more of those throws if the Chiefs hope to win today. Smith absorbed a hard hit late in the second quarter and was slow to get up so if he stays in the game, he’ll have to be courageous in there because I guarantee you Philly defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz is gonna start bringing some serious heat in the second half to take advantage of this.

5. Carson Wentz looks good

Wentz’s biggest issue is his accuracy, but he’s looked pretty good this half. He’s showed off his arm strength and has largely looked poised. The Chiefs’ defense, however, which has practiced against this playbook for five years now –– Philly coach Doug Pederson used to be an assistant in K.C. –– looks very, very stout.

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