Chiefs vs. Texans: Nine Observations

Here’s what stood out during the 19-12 loss to the Texans on Sunday

The Kansas City Chiefs (1-1) fell to the Houston Texans (2-0) by a score of 19-12 Sunday afternoon at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Here are 9 observations from the game:

  1. NFL's longest regular-season winning streak comes to an end

Coming into Sunday's game, the Chiefs had won 11 straight regular-season games dating back to last year's historic run, when they rattled off 10 straight victories to make the playoffs after a 1-5 start.

Despite outscoring the Texans 9-6 in the second half, the Chiefs couldn't overcome a 13-3 halftime deficit and ultimately fell, 19-12.

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  1. Despite a multitude of struggles, the Chiefs still had a chance in this game

From an offensive standpoint, there were a lot of things the Chiefs would have liked to do better against the Texans, particularly early in the game.

Overall, they turned the ball over 3 times (all in the first half), converted just 3 of 14 third-down opportunities and finished 0 for 2 inside the red zone, but they still had a chance late in the game because the defense stepped up when it was needed.

  1. The defense stood tall with its back against the wall
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The Chiefs held the Texans out of the end zone on all four red zone opportunities, which is why the Chiefs—despite all the offensive struggles and the team being flagged nine times for 77 yards—still had a chance late in the game.

The Chiefs held the Texans offense to just 4 of 15 on third-down conversions, although they did convert one key fourth down late in the game.

Texans running back Lamar Miller finished the game with 25 carries for just 83 yards, averaging just 3.3 yards per carry on the day.

After giving up 3 carries that went for 12-plus yards last week, the Chiefs defense held Miller's longest carry on Sunday to just 8 yards.   

  1. Cairo Santos hits all four field goal attempts

While the offense's goal is to score touchdowns, the fact is that Santos hitting all of his field goals (53, 43, 35, 30) gave the Chiefs a chance late in this game.

Santos' 53-yarder tied the longest of his career, and it's the third time he's done that.

  1. Texans offense finds success through the air early

After completing 4 of his first 6 six passing attempts for 98 yards, Osweiler had 2 chunk plays to rookie receiver Will Fuller, who grabbed receptions of 52 and 27 yards on their first two offensive drives.

It was a story coming into the game, as Fuller made his presence felt last week in the Texans win over the Chicago Bears, when he had 5 receptions and over 100 yards with a touchdown.

Fuller finished the game with 4 catches for a team-high 104 yards receiving.

  1. Marcus Peters grabs his first (and second) interception of the season

It didn't take long for the Texans offense to find its way into the red zone, but on third-and-goal from the 2-yard line on its first offensive drive, second-year cornerback Marcus Peters made a diving interception at the goal line to prevent the score.

It was Peters' third interception in as many games in his career against the Texans. He picked off a pass last year in Week 1 on the first snap of his career, and then another one in the AFC Wild Card game last January.

Midway through the second quarter, Peters was flagged 15 yards for "taunting" after an incomplete pass thrown in his direction. After the play, Peters wagged his finger and the flag was thrown.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid said after the game that certain things that might not have been called in the past may be called now and that Peters is an emotional player who needs to understand that moving forward.

Peters was targeted by Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler often in this game, and while giving up yards on a handful of plays, the more chances you give Peters to make a play, eventually he's going to make them.

Late in the third quarter, Peters grabbed his 2nd interception of the game (and season), as he secured a bobbled ball on the outside along the sideline and returned it 28 yards the other way, which set up Santos' second field goal of the day.

That brought the game to within a touchdown at 13-6.

Peters now has 10 interceptions in the first 18 regular-season games of his career.

  1. Chiefs defense responded after Houston's success on first two drives

The Chiefs offense didn't do the defense any favors in the first half of Sunday's game, turning the ball over 3 times, and after giving up some considerable yardage on the first two Texans drives, the Chiefs defense responded after that.

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On their first two offensive drives, the Texans gained 109 yards on just 9 plays, but over their next six drives, the Chiefs defense held the Texans to just 78 yards on 30 plays.

Ron Parker had a nice pass breakup across the middle in the midst of those defensive stands that proved to be one of the better defensive plays of the game.

Another defensive play worth noting came from outside linebacker Dee Ford, who on third-and-short at midfield midway through the second quarter, got put on an island on a counter-pitch and was able to make the tackle in space on Texans running back Lamar Miller.

  1. Marcus Peters, Derrick Johnson and Tyreek Hill help put Chiefs on the board

Late in the first quarter on a second-down play for the Texans offense, rookie receiver Braxton Miller took the quick pass from Osweiler to the outside and was quickly driven to the ground by Peters.

That set up a third-and-long, in which veteran linebacker Derrick Johnson picked up his first sack of the year, knifing through the Texans offensive line and taking Osweiler down for a loss of 8 yards on the play.

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Rookie return man Tyreek Hill took the 48-yard punt from veteran Shane Lechler back 32 yards, giving the Chiefs offense great field position.

But on third-and-8 from the 32-yard line, Texans All-Pro defensive lineman and the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in three of the last four years, J.J. Watt, sacked Smith for a loss of 4 yards on the play.

That set up Cairo Santos' 53-yard field goal, which got on the Chiefs on the board early in the second quarter.

  1. Alex Smith targeted Jeremy Maclin often

In the first half of Sunday's game against the Texans, Smith finished 8 of 16 for 53 yards and was sacked 3 times. He finished the game 20 of 37 for 186 yards.

It's worth noting that Smith targeted veteran receiver Jeremy Maclin 15 times on Sunday, which is the most he'd had in his time with the Chiefs and tied for the second most ever in a game in his career.

Maclin finished with a team-high 6 catches for 68 yards, but did have a couple of drops that are very unlike him, considering he had just 1 drop all of last season.

Photos from the Chiefs Week 2 matchup against the Houston Texans.

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