The Kansas City Chiefs have proven they can beat you in many ways. So, it’s no surprise they are 5-0.
Their Sunday Night Football win at Houston was a perfect example.
Simply looking at the scoreboard, the Chiefs engaged in a 42-34 shootout. Neither defense appeared to be very interested in stopping the opposing offense, and the Chiefs must’ve been lucky to win a very competitive game.
When you watch the game, however, you get a much different outcome.
The score was not indicative of of how the game went. The Chiefs dominated the Texans (2-3).
They jumped out to a 23-7 first half lead, one they would never relinquish. Despite Kareem Hunt being shut down (14-25), Kansas City moved the ball at will. Alex Smith had a masterful first half, tossing a pair of scores to Charcandrick West and leading three other drives that would end with Harrison Butker field goals. Defensively, they dominated the Texans. Deshaun Watson was flustered, and while he didn’t toss a pick, he certainly wasn’t getting many completions. One of the Chiefs field goals came off a D’onta Foreman fumble, quickly recovered by Derrick Johnson. Travis Kelce had 98 yards on eight catches, but unfortunately left the game due to a concussion he sustained late in the second quarter. He would not return and his status for Sunday’s game with the Steelers at Arrowhead is iffy, at best.
The Texans would attempt to make a comeback in the fourth quarter. With 12 minutes left in the game, Watson had just 75 yards passing. He ended the game, however, with 261 yards, aided with a bunch of garbage-down yards. It started with a long touchdown pass to Will Fuller. Terrance Mitchell, the most targeted corner in all out football (25% of passes are targeted his way), had actually kept DeAndre Hopkins in check, but he simply could not keep up with the fleet-footed Fuller. With the Chiefs suddenly only up by six, the offense returned with yet another scoring drive. Capped off by a short Alex Smith flip to De’Anthony Thomas jet sweep that was credited as a pass, the Chiefs would go ahead by two scores again. It was Smith’s 3rd score of the game, and it marked the second time in 2017 that he went over 300 yards (324) – the first time in his career with two 300-yard games.
The defense answered with a quick three and out, and with around eight minutes in the fourth quarter, after a second Justin Houston sack (6.5 in 2017), Shane Lechler booted a 52-yard punt to Tyreek Hill. He started left, cut around the right, and with great blocks from Eric Murray and Frank Zombo, he waltzed into the end zone for an 82-yard score with easy after he got to the edge. WHY PUNT TO THIS MAN? Just his second score of the year, it proved to be huge, pushing the Chiefs lead to 19 points. The Texans would score twice more, once on a last-gasp deep shot and a perfectly thrown fade, both to DeAndre Hopkins, but the damage was done.
When it was said and done, Watson had 5 TD passes and Hopkins scored three times on just four touches.
The final score made it look like the Texans had kept up, but the reality was they were shut out for much of the game. A defense without Eric Berry, Steven Nelson, and Tamba Hali had swarmed Watson and the Texans while it mattered most, and thanks to an offense that was near-perfect on third down, recorded their fifth straight win and have now won 27 of their last 31 games. The win was not without ramifications, though. Chris Conley ruptured his achilles on an onside-kick recovery and is done for the year, which will test the Chiefs WR depth, while Houston left with a calf injury, although it seems to be minor. The Texans also suffered huge losses with season-ending injuries to J.J Watt and Whitney Mercilus.
Sunday’s game was indicative of the Chiefs team we’ve seen all year – Alex Smith’s mastery, Kareem Hunt’s consistency (another hundred yard game – his fourth of the season; with 82 second half rush yards he now has 454 yards in the second half (90.8) – a number better than any other runner’s season total, outside fellow rookie Leonard Fournette), the defense giving yards but limiting points, and a special teams unit that is one of the best in the league – Harrison Butker missed his first career kick, but has made eight straight since, including a game-winner against the Redskins and has displayed an incredible leg on kickoffs as well. Add that to Ty Hill running back punts and one of the best punters in the game.
The Chiefs may not go undefeated, but as of now, they’re the best team because they’re the most complete…and their record proves it.
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