Red Zone

Halftime observations: Chiefs 23, Texans 7

Sights and sounds before the Chiefs take on the Texans

Cell phone lights lit up the stadium as the Texans and Chiefs took the field in Houston.
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Cell phone lights lit up the stadium as the Texans and Chiefs took the field in Houston.

It’s halftime of the Chiefs’ fifth game of 2017, and the Chiefs lead the Houston Texans 23-7 at NRG Stadium. Here is Terez A. Paylor’s quick analysis.

1. The Texans looked rattled

Injuries are always at the forefront in professional football. It is the most physical of all the American sports, and when key players get hurt, it does have a mental effect on teammates. We saw that first-hand Sunday night, when the Texans lost two of their best pass rushers –– J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus –– on the Chiefs’ opening drive of the game. The Texans seemed to lack juice from that point on, though they showed some spirit late in the half. They’ll need more of that to get back in this thing.

2. Alex has been phemonemal

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith is looking more and more like an MVP candidate. He was outstanding in the first half, completing 18 of 24 passes for 207 yards and two touchdowns, both to Charcandrick West (who looks great). Seriously. Smith dude was drifting away from pressure, keeping his eyes downfield and dropping dimes all over the place. THAT’S the final piece of his game. If he continues to do that consistently, and continue to go downfield as well, critics won’t have anything else to pick at.

3. Deshaun has been up and down

Lots of people (including myself) like Deshaun Watson coming out of college, but his accuracy issues were a concern, and they’ve been a problem thus far in this game. Watson has struggled with the strike zone in this game, and if he wants to become a complete NFL quarterback, he’s going to have to tighten up there.

4. Harrison Butker has some serious leg

Many questioned the Chiefs’ decision to release Cairo Santos, and perhaps by the end of the year, they’ll still wish he was wearing red and gold. But thus far, his replacement –– rookie Harrison Butker –– has been rock solid. Butker, who made the game-winner last week, has drilled three first-half field goals and all five of his first-half kickoffs for touchbacks..

5. Kelce is having a day

If you read the Corporate Champ’s weekly gameplan –– and shame on you if you didn’t –– you’d know Kelce might be primed for a big night. The Texans have struggled to cover Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce in the past, and the man who shut him down a year ago –– A.J. Bouye –– now plays for the Jaguars. Kelce has been outstanding thus far, catching eight passes for 97 yards before he left the game after absorbing a big hit on the tail end of the catch.

NRG Stadium, home of the Houston Texans, seats 71,795 in a 1,900,000 square-foot building that opened in August 2002. The Texans host the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night.

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