It’s halftime at Arrowhead Stadium, and the Chiefs lead the Texans 14-10. Here are some quick observations.
1. The Chiefs have been making a real effort to get receiver Dwayne Bowe involved today. He’s been trending toward a career-worst season to this point, but he already has four catches for 52 yards and has been targeted six times today. He’s tied his season-high in catches and is close to eclipsing his season-high in yards (58). One last thing -- the Chiefs have also been trying to go downfield a little more than normal.
2. It’s rare to see the Chiefs’ outside corners get beaten as badly as they did on a few plays in the first half. Sean Smith, who is having a career season, got torched by rookie DeAndre Hopkins for a 29-yard touchdown, while Brandon Flowers also got beaten badly by Andre Johnson for a 26-yard gain. Both those plays were in man coverage with no help, which is part of what makes the Chiefs’ defense go. It will be interesting to see if they give Flowers and Smith a little more help in the second half.
3. About Flowers: He was the starting corner in the Chiefs’ base defense, but returned to the slot in the nickel formation. Marcus Cooper, a rookie who has been a revelation this season, has taken his place on the outside in that alignment.
4. Texans quarterback Case Keenum, a second-year pro, is making his first career start, but he doesn’t look rattled at all by Arrowhead Stadium. The Texans have lined up primarily in the shotgun all game, and while they’ve meticulously pounded the football, Keenum has also been cool, calm and collected in the pocket. He’s currently completed eight of 12 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown.
5. Aside from the first play of the game, when he blew past Eric Fisher for a monster hit on quarterback Alex Smith, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt has been pretty quiet. It looks like the Chiefs have spent the entire half doubling him or running away from him.