This game, despite being only the second of the season, was extremely important because of what the Kansas City Chiefs did to the Houston Texans last season. The Texans needed to show the NFL that they are a different team, not the one that got annihilated in the playoffs but one that could compete with one of the better teams in the league. The game wasn't perfect, but it was still a win and there were plenty of positives on both sides of the field.
Defense locks Chiefs down
The defense was all over Alex Smith and the Chiefs. The Texans pass rush had nine quarterback hits and a lot more hurries. They had such an impact that Smith looked flustered throughout, missing open receivers and throwing innacurately. Not only that, but they had four total sacks, 1.5 coming from both John Simon and Benardrick McKinney and one from none other than J.J. Watt, who looked a lot better after playing hurt last week.
The coverage was also solid. While the secondary did give up a few big plays, they were still able to lock up the Chiefs receivers, making it harder on Smith to find open players. A mix of both the pass rush and the coverage is the reason why Smith completed 20 of 37 passes for only 186 yards and no touchdowns. In fact, the defense shut out the offense, the Chiefs' only points coming from four Cairo Santos field goals.
However, there was a weakness in the defense. The Chiefs were able to run effectively despite their starting running back Jamaal Charles being injured. They got 119 yards off 19 carries, leading to a rather high 6.3 yards per carry. Both Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware led the rushing attack, and the Texans were lucky that Andy Reid didn't utilize the run a little more. Still, allowing no touchdowns is an accomplishment, and one that the Texans should be proud of after last year's games against the Chiefs.
Offense solid but makes mistakes
With their offseason additions, the Texans were hoping to make their offense more dynamic. While it has definitely improved, there is a lot more that needs to get better. The most glaring issue today was Brock Osweiler's mistakes, leading to two interceptions. He is definitely more risky than Brian Hoyer or Ryan Fitzpatrick were the past two seasons, but as a result he needs to make sure to not mess up. He also completed only 19 of 33 passes for a solid 268 yards and a touchdown. Overall, he didn't play that well but might need more time to learn the offense.
In terms of running, Lamar Miller had a solid day with 83 yards on 25 carries. Miller has been good at gaining solid yardage, but hasn't really made a big play yet. Also, a big concern for Miller coming into the season was the sudden increase in usage. Would he be able to last the entire year running 25-30 times per game when he barely ran 10-15 with the Miami Dolphins? With the way Osweiler and the offense as a whole have been playing, it looks like Bill O'Brien won't be calling less run plays anytime soon.
Rookie Will Fuller impressed yet again, gaining 104 yards on four catches. Granted, most of them were from the first quarter, but those are still great numbers from a player that a lot of people thought the Texans reached for in the draft. Opposite him, DeAndre Hopkins was even better, getting 113 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions. If both continue to play at this level, they may become one of the best wide receiving duos in the league.
Special Teams an issue yet again
Remember how the special teams were solid last week? Well, this week, it was a lot more like last season's than last week. The coverage was horrible, allowing an average of 26.3 yards per kick return and 15.8 on punt returns. Tyreek Hill even had a kick return for a touchdown; however the referees overturned it after calling a holding penalty.
Well, maybe if their return game was so strong, then the Texans' return game would be as well. Nope. Tyler Ervin averaged just 19.5 yards per kick and 3 per punt. The special teams did the offense no favors in terms of field position; Ervin rarely even reached the 25 yard line.
The only positive about this unit is the kicking. Nick Novak did miss a field goal, but it would've been his longest ever and it hit the left goal post. Other than that though, he made four field goals, just like Santos did. He was very accurate and kept the game out of reach with his leg. Other than that, however, the Texans' special teams should've played a lot better.
The next game for the Texans is a Thursday Night one against the New England Patriots while the Chiefs play the New York Jets.