Red Zone

Chiefs Blitz: A look at the good, the bad and the ugly from Sunday’s win over the Jets

Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston, who had two sacks Sunday, has at least least one sack in every game this year except one.
Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston, who had two sacks Sunday, has at least least one sack in every game this year except one. The Kansas City Star

Do tell the truth

1. Will Justin Houston surpass Derrick Thomas’ club record of 20 sacks in a season?

Houston has 12 sacks in eight games, which puts him on pace for 24. It’s always difficult to project a historical season, but Houston has some important facts on his side. Number one, he’s been consistent — he has at least one sack in every game this year but one. Also, teams can’t focus on stopping him with Tamba Hali as a consistent threat from the quarterback’s blind side. If Houston can stay healthy, he’s got a great chance at breaking the Chiefs’ record — and maybe the all-time one of 22 1/2 by Michael Strahan.

2. Speaking of Houston … how will his contract situation play out?

Houston has long considered himself worthy of the big money J.J. Watt and Robert Quinn received with lucrative extensions this season, but the Chiefs are in a great situation with him. If they can’t agree to an extension, they can simply franchise him the next two years for roughly $13 million a year. But if Houston continues on this pace, don’t rule out a lucrative extension getting done. He will have earned it at that point, and while the Chiefs don’t believe in giving money away, they do believe in rewarding players who perform on the field — especially 25-year-old pass rushers about to enter their prime.

3. Is the Chiefs’ run defense a cause for concern?

The Chiefs gave up 139 rushing yards in 30 carries, an average of 4.6 yards per carry. That’s a bit too high, but the Chiefs were willing to let the Jets run a bit after taking a 14-0 lead. Entering the game, the Chiefs ranked 18th in the league in rushing defense at 112 yards per game. That’s around the middle of the pack, but defensive coordinator Bob Sutton can live with it as long as the pass defense, which was ranked first in the league entering the game, continues to excel. The Chiefs were giving up an average of 195 passing yards per game, 15 yards fewer than second-place New England.

4. What should we make of Eric Berry’s performance?

Considering it was Berry’s first game in more than a month, his six-tackle performance was fine. He essentially served as a “sixth man” of sorts for the secondary, coming in with their nickel and dime subpackages. He didn’t look as fast as normal, but Berry attributed this to the unwanted time off he’s had. If Berry can find a way to work himself back to 100 percent, a secondary that has already played very well could become elite. That’s a heck of a step for a group that was considered a question mark before the season.

5. What are the chances the Chiefs can beat the Buffalo Bills next weekend?

It will be a road test, for sure. The Bills are 5-3, like the Chiefs, and the winner will receive a huge boost to its playoff hopes. The Chiefs can certainly beat Buffalo, because they did the same last year — on the road, no less. But you can argue the Bills should have won that game. And you also have to remember that the Bills, who are currently on their bye week, will be very rested.

The number

0: The number of rushing touchdowns and 300-yard passing games the Chiefs have surrendered this season.

To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to tpaylor@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter at @TerezPaylor.

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