What's Different for the Chiefs Offense This Time Around vs. Texans?

The Chiefs and Texans met back in Week 1

It was 114 days ago when the Kansas City Chiefs opened up their season with a 27-20 victory over the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium in Houston.

On Saturday, these two teams will meet again with everything on the line in the Wild Card round of the AFC playoffs.

While they may wear the same jerseys and run the same plays, these are not the same teams that met back on September 13. They have both dealt with injuries and have different starters on both sides of the ball.

For the Chiefs, look no further than the offensive line, particularly that left side.

Left guard Jeff Allen missed the first six games of the season with a knee injury, and left tackle Eric Fisher played just one offensive snap in that game as he was working his way back from a high ankle sprain suffered at the end of training camp.

010516-DifferentvsTexans-Image.jpg

Both of these young players have been critical to the overall development of the Chiefs offense throughout their franchise-record 10-game winning streak.

But the depth of this offensive line has also been critical.

The Chiefs have trotted out eight different starting offensive line combinations this season, including five during this current 10-game winning streak. They have never played more than four games in a row with the same starting five offensive linemen.

As they head into Saturday's matchup against the Texans with starting right tackle Jah Reid dealing with a knee injury and center Mitch Morse currently going through concussion protocol, the Chiefs may be looking at their ninth starting combination of the season depending upon how it all shakes out this week.

Starting Offensive Line Combinations

Opponent

LT

LG

C

RG

RT

@ Texans - W

Stephenson

Grubbs

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

Broncos - L

Stephenson

Grubbs

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

@ Packers - L

Stephenson

Grubbs

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Fisher

@ Bengals - L

Stephenson

Grubbs

Morse

Fulton

Fisher

Bears - L

Stephenson

Grubbs

Morse

Fulton

Fisher

@ Vikings - L

Stephenson

Grubbs

Morse

Fulton

Fisher

Steelers - W

Fisher

Grubbs

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Allen

Lions - W

Fisher

Allen

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

BYE

@ Broncos - W

Fisher

Allen

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

@ Chargers - W

Fisher

Allen

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

Bills - W

Fisher

Allen

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

@ Raiders - W

Fisher

Allen

Fulton

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

Chargers - W

Fisher

Fulton

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

@ Ravens - W

Fisher

Fulton

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

Browns - W

Fisher

Allen

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Reid

Raiders - W

Fisher

Allen

Morse

Duvernay-Tardif

Stephenson

The addition of a healthy Allen and Fisher moving back to his left tackle spot before the Week 7 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers has been a key for the offense, which ranks ninth in the NFL by averaging 25.3 points per game.

Led by the offensive line, the Chiefs rank sixth in the NFL in rushing offense, averaging 128 yards per game on the ground. They are one of only three teams in the NFL to have three players with at least 400 yards rushing this season (Charcandrick West-634, Alex Smith-498, Spencer Ware-403).

"They've stayed consistent," Chiefs coach Andy Reid noted of the offensive line during the winning streak. "It's not always pretty, that's not this crew—they're not going to win any beauty contests, but they come out and they'll battle you.

"There's something to be said about that."

Reid noted that Allen's presence has helped this young offensive line group, which coming into the season was thought to have found a veteran presence in Ben Grubbs, who came over to the Chiefs via a trade with the New Orleans Saints.

010516-DifferentvsTexans-Image2.jpg

But a neck injury early in the season would eventually land Grubbs on Injured Reserve—ending his season.

"He brings a little nasty to that group that's welcomed," Reid noted of Allen. "He brings good leadership. That's a tough position to play in there, so you've got to be in the right frame of mind every week.

"We don't have a lot of age in there, so he's a seasoned veteran as a fourth-year player."


LAST TIME THEY MET

Photos from the Chiefs week one matchup against the Texans


The Chiefs starting offensive line against the Raiders last week had an average age of 24.6 years old, which makes them the youngest offensive line heading into the AFC playoffs (based on Week 17 starters).

The average age of a starting offensive lineman in the AFC playoffs is 26.3 years old.

This young group for the Chiefs is going up against a Texans defense led by the NFL's sack leader – J.J. Watt—that dominated in their win last week over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Watt finished the game with 8 tackles, 3 sacks, 4 quarterback hits and 2 passes defensed.

"They're playing very well," Reid mentioned of the Texans defense. "They had 8 sacks or so (on Sunday), that's a pretty good number. They had constant pressure on the quarterback. [Watt] got his cast off, he's playing good football, but he's not the only one.

"What a great challenge, though, for our offensive line, that's what it's all about. They're going to line up and they're going to bring it. They've got a loud crowd and they'll be revved up. It doesn't get any better than that."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Advertising