Texans vs. Chiefs: Takeaways from Kansas City's 17-16 Win over Houston

Benjamin Allbright@@AllbrightNFLContributor IOctober 21, 2013

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 20:  Quarterback Case Keenum #7 of the Houston Texans fumbles as he is sacked by linebacker Tamba Hali #91 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the fourth quarter on October 20, 2013 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Houston Texans 17-16 in a toughly contested Week 7 game.  The Chiefs have now run their winning streak out to seven games to start the season, while the Texans have only two wins in seven tries.

The Chiefs put together one of their most productive games offensively on the season, though they wound up with only 17 points to show for it thanks to two turnovers.  

The maligned Texans defense suffered two more injuries to starters Brian Cushing and J.J. Watt.  The Texans were also without Arian Foster for nearly the entirety of the game, as he left early and returned to the sideline in street clothes. Their statuses for the coming week are unknown at the time of this writing.

"They haven't played anyone" Is a False Narrative

It's a common refrain over Twitter and with the casual fan, but the reality is this Kansas City defense is elite, and the team is good.  Saying that the Chiefs "haven't played anyone" only belies an ignorance from the casual fan.

The reality is Kansas City has seven wins and exactly zero losses.  That's difficult no matter who you're playing every week.  If it were easy, there would be other teams with the same record (as of this publication the outcome of the Broncos and Colts game is still in doubt).  

The Chiefs played a tough Texans team, whose record isn't a good reflector of how good they actually are.  The Texans had a top-10 offense in terms of yardage, and the No. 1 defense in terms of yardage prior to the game.  The Chiefs held the Texans, like they have every other team this season, well below their average scoring output.

The Chiefs Offense Is Showing Signs of Life

Oct 20, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dexter McCluster (22) gets past Houston Texans cornerback Brice McCain (21) in the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 17-16. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City offense has been a liability for the team for much of the season thus far.  While today wasn't any performance for the ages, the Chiefs showed signs of improvement.  The offense was much improved on third down, and play-calling seemed designed to put the offense in situations to succeed, rather than simply to fool the defense.

Alex Smith did throw an uncharacteristic interception that he should have thrown away, and Jamaal Charles fumbled the football for what is now the third time in three straight games.  This isn't a Chiefs team that can afford to give opponents free chances with the football, and I look at this as an aberration rather than the norm.

Kansas City had not one but two long, sustained drives in which they ate the clock, moved the ball effectively and most importantly came away with points.  They did turn the ball over deep in Houston territory late, and for this offense that needs to come away with points every time it can, that can't continue to happen.

The Kansas City Defense Is Elite

Oct 20, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum (7) is sacked by Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali (91) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 17-16. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY S
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The oft-overused term "elite" isn't a hyperbolic plant when applied to the Kansas City defense. With each passing week the detractors diminish in number, as the Chiefs continue to stop offense after offense.

The thing that stands out in my mind in watching this Chiefs team is that every week there seems to be another goal line stand by this defense, and this week was no exception.  Houston, after a turnover by the Chiefs, inherited excellent field position and took the ball down to the one yard line, only to be stymied by the Chiefs.

This isn't something that happens with regularity in the modern, offense-oriented era of the NFL.  The coaching staff as a whole is so confident in the abilities of this defense that instead of taking the field goal and making it a four-point game, Kansas City elected to go for it on fourth and goal in a one-point game.  The Chiefs didn't convert, but the defense came through and clinched the game anyway.

The Chiefs now begin Week 8 preparations. They will be at home yet again, facing off against a struggling Browns team. 


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