Chiefs vs. Texans: 12 Observations

1. Alex Smith on point

The Kansas City Chiefs offense really set the tone for this game early with the play of quarterback Alex Smith and company.

Smith finished the first half 15 of 20 for 193 yards and 3 touchdowns, and that was with a running game that managed just 37 yards on the ground.

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His first 2 touchdowns went to tight end Travis Kelce and the third went to running back Jamaal Charles.

Overall, Smith was 22 of 33 for 247 yards and 3 touchdowns for a quarterback rating of 118.8.

2. Chiefs win field position battle

The Chiefs average starting position was their own 40-yard line, while the Texans average starting position was their 19-yard line. It's an area the Chiefs dominated by both the play on special teams and the defense forcing 2 turnovers deep in Texans territory.

Of the 14 drives by the Texans, only one started better than their 23-yard line, which came after Cairo Santos' missed 51-yard field goal at the 41-yard line.

Santos was 6 for 6 on kickoff touchbacks, which is an area he was trying to improve upon from last year.

De'Anthony Thomas had 5 punt returns for 81 yards, averaging more than 16 yards per return. The Texans averaged 3.5 yards per punt return.

3. Justin Houston doing Justin Houston things

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With the Chiefs leading 20-6 and the Texans facing a third-and-14 from their own 16-yard line, Justin Houston came around the edge and made a play that looked eerily similar to what we saw from him last year, when he broke the Chiefs single-season sack record with 22—just one shy of the NFL record (Michael Strahan – 22.5, 2001).

Houston came around the edge and strip-sacked Hoyer as Allen Bailey jumped on the ball to give the Chiefs their second takeaway of the game.

Just like the first turnover they forced, the Chiefs offense quickly turned it into points as Smith found Charles in the flat and he took it up the field and into the end zone to give the Chiefs the 27-6 lead midway through the third quarter.

4. Travis Kelce shines for offense

Kelce caught 3 passes for 70 yards and 2 touchdowns in the first half for the Chiefs.

On his third reception, Kelce took a big hit from the Texans would-be tackler, spun off and still managed to pick up extra yards.  It was an impressive display of strength and determination.

Kelce needed the assistance of the Chiefs training staff with an abdomen issue after the play.

After missing only a few plays, Kelce returned to the field.

When asked how he felt after the game, Kelce smiled and said he was fine.

5. Marcus Peters first NFL play is a memorable one

Marcus Peters was known as a playmaker throughout college, and even through OTAs and preseason practices, Peters showed a knack for making plays on the ball.

It didn't take long for that to show up when the games began to count for real.

On his first NFL play, Peters picked off Texans QB Brian Hoyer deep in Houston territory.

A good amount of the credit should also go to Houston, whose pressure forced Hoyer to throw awkwardly as he couldn't step into his throw.

But nonetheless, it's one of those things everyone will remember.

The Chiefs first-round pick in 2015's first NFL play was an interception, and set up the Chiefs first touchdown of the game, a Smith strike to Kelce for 10 yards, which gave them the early 7-0 lead.

6. Derrick Johnson makes statement in his return

After missing almost the entire 2014 season with an Achilles injury, veteran linebacker Derrick Johnson couldn't wait to get back out on the field in his home state of Texas on Sunday afternoon.

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Johnson played collegiately at the University of Texas and the fans in attendance at NRG stadium got to see more of what made the former Longhorn the Chiefs No. 1 pick back in 2005 (No. 15 overall).

Johnson finished the game with a team-high 8 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack and a pass breakup.

With those tackles, Johnson passed former Chiefs great Art Still to move into second on the Chiefs all-time list, now trailing Gary Spani (999) by just 7.

7. Jah Reid gets the start at right tackle

Coming into the game, Eric Fisher was questionable with a high ankle injury suffered last month at training camp.

While Fisher wasn't declared inactive for the game, Jah Reid, who signed with the team a week ago, started in his place at right tackle.

Even if Fisher had started, the offensive line would have had a new starter in every spot different than last year.

But with Fisher out and Reid in there, the offensive line had four guys starting who didn't start a game for them last season in Ben Grubbs (traded for), Mitch Morse (rookie), Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (didn't start) and Reid (signed last week).

Photos from the Chiefs week one matchup against the Texans

8. Constant pressure on Brian Hoyer

There was a lot of talk coming into the game about the pressure the Texans would be able to put on Smith and the Chiefs offense, but the Chiefs defense was constantly in the face of the Houston starter.

The Chiefs finished the game with 5 sacks, led by defensive lineman Allen Bailey with two. The Texans finished with 2 sacks on the day.

Also, the Texans led the NFL last year in takeaways while it was an area the Chiefs were looking to improve. The Chiefs forced 2 turnovers and both of them resulted in points for the offense. Peters' interception led to Kelce's first touchdown, while Houston's strip-sack led to Charles' 7-yard touchdown reception.

9. Rookie Mitch Morse gets feet wet

The Chiefs offense threw the ball 20 times in the first half, compared to just 14 rushing attempts.

On a lot of those passing plays, which were out of Smith's hands quickly, the rookie center and second-round pick was seen down the field blocking in open space to lead the play.

On Kelce's second touchdown reception, Morse pealed around from his center position to help Reid with J.J. Watt, who was rushing around the right edge.

10. Defense holds strong on key fourth down

With a 27-9 lead midway through the third quarter, the Chiefs defense answered the call on their own 11-yard line.

The Texans attempted to run up the middle with running back Alfred Blue on fourth-and-short, which resulted in no gain as Jaye Howard, Dontari Poe and Husain Abdullah shut down the attempt.

11. Chiefs didn't make many mistakes

The Chiefs didn't commit any turnovers and were called for just 2 penalties for 25 yards.

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12. Chiefs don't have much time to celebrate

It's going to be a short week for the Chiefs, who host the Denver Broncos at Arrowhead Stadium for the nationally televised Thursday Night Football in just four days.

There were no serious injuries to report after the game, which is great news on a short week.

So while fans will probably enjoy this win for a few days, the coaches and players are already looking forward to next week.

Coach Andy Reid joked (maybe) during the postgame press conference that he'd be starting his preparation for the Broncos as soon as the press conference ended.

In any case, this is a great win and Arrowhead Stadium is going to be electric as the Broncos come to town for the only Chiefs home game during the first quarter of the season. Again, there's something special going on with this team. They can all feel it and so will Chiefs Kingdom on Thursday night.

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