Chiefs 34, Texans 20

5 observations from the Chiefs win over the Texans

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Plus ca change
Plus c'est la meme chose
The more that things change
The more they stay the same

- Rush, Circumstances

The Texans opened their season in the same place it ended last year on Thursday night, facing the Kansas City Chiefs. The outcome was the same. The defense could not stop the Chiefs, the offense could not sustain enough production to be competitive, and the end result was another loss against a team that is better than the Texans.

Yes, there is a lot of season to play, and the Texans could very well end up improving. That often happens. They also faced the best team in football. They did not need to win to show this could be a good season. But it would have nice if they had competed. Five observations from the 34-20 loss:

1) The defense is going to be a problem again. They were terrible last season, and unless there is some magical cure we haven't seen, this is going to be a serious issue in 2020. Yes, the Chiefs do this to everybody. In the first three quarters, the Texans had TWO stops. That is not going to get it done. The run defense was porous, they got almost no pressure on Patrick Mahomes, and there were blown coverages throughout. A lot of that can be fixed, and won't be issues against lesser teams. But if the Texans really want to contend, it won't work against the better teams.

2) Money not well spent. Zach Cunningham, fresh off his big contract, was a disaster. Bernardrick McKinney was almost invisible. Whitney Mercilus? Completely invisible. J.J. Watt was barely a factor as well. That group is paid to produce. They had some tackles, but no impact plays and Cunningham blew coverages, had penalties and looked like a rookie. These are the players you are paying to have a positive impact. They did not.

3) Some glimpses on offense. The offense did not spend a lot of time on the field. They had to be perfect against the Chiefs, and they were far from it. The positives? David Johnson looked OK, with 77 rushing yards and 109 total yards. The receivers were OK. Deshaun Watson was OK. His interception was classic Watson just throwing under pressure and hoping for good luck. He has to be better than that. But otherwise he was OK. But OK won't beat the Chiefs. This will be good enough against the Jags. Not the AFC elite.

4) A problem on the OL. This unit was supposed to be a strength. But Zack Fulton and Titus Howard were picked on all night. If this group is bad, the team has no chance. They have to be better. Four sacks, and all were on the OL.

5) And...O'Brien. The play calls were not bad, but the execution wasn't there. In the RonaVerse, that was to be expected. The only real beef was right before the half when it was fourth and 10, and O'Brien chose a long field goal try, which was missed. No one would have faulted going for it. For once, though, this loss was not on O'Brien. His team just did not play well enough.

The Texans simply did not have enough to stop KC, and the offense wasn't sharp enough to keep up. The score looked bad, but there were some positives. David Johnson looked pretty good at times, but the team never had a chance to use him properly once they got behind. The Texans aren't as bad as they looked Thursday night. But you would have liked to have seem them compete. They didn't.

The rookie coordinators did not distinguish themselves. Maybe that part is on O'Brien for hiring them. The Texans will be OK against the rest of the AFC, But the gap between them and the champs is just as big as it was when they last met. There is time to close that gap. But we saw little in the opener to indicate that will happen.

The more things change...


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Another tough loss for the Texans. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans started fast but faltered late as the New York Jets hand Houston their ninth loss of the season 21-14. Here are 11 observations from the game.

1. Starting safety Justin Reid was benched for the game. David Culley said after the game it was his decision as head coach and he would keep the matter internal with Reid.

2. This is the third defender benched for disciplinary reasons this season. Reid joins Zach Cunningham and Desmond King as players who missed time for discipline.

3. Justin Reid told Fox 26 he was benched because he had a disagreement with the coaching staff. He also said he was shocked the Texans benched him. You have to wonder if the “culture” the team is building is right when one of the more likable and personable players falls victim to their rules. Reid, who is a free agent this offseason, could leave the Texans.

4. Tyrod Taylor had a couple of nice plays early on for the Texans. His willingness to take some shots downfield was refreshing and led to a touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

5. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan found the end zone. He has played well in recent weeks after finally getting on the field. Jordan is playing over Jordan Akins as Akins was a healthy scratch again this week.

6. Tytus Howard started at left tackle with mixed results. Howard has struggled to find his way at guard but could be a long-term option at tackle if given the chance.

7. The offensive line overall played poorly after some early success. The pass rush of the Jets got going and the run blocking was poor again. Lane Taylor played at left guard some, with Max Scharping also playing some at that spot.

8. The offense was horrendous after the two scoring drives. The Texans amassed 202 net yards with 91 yards coming on those two scoring drives. Houston gained just 49 net yards after their opening three drives.

9. After the game, I asked David Culley if he would be making a change with his play-caller. Culley stood behind offensive coordinator Tim Kelly and said he would remain the team’s play-caller.

10. Second-year defensive lineman Ross Blacklock had two horrible errors that handed the Jets a chance to turn three points into seven points. Blacklock got a personal foul on a field goal attempt giving the Jets a first down. The very next play his offsides penalty erased a sack. Each week Blacklock falls even more behind a bevy of players drafted after him who contribute positively on a regular basis.

11. The loss to another bottom-dweller has the Texans back in the second spot in the 2022 NFL Draft order. It also feels like the deflating nature of this loss erased some of the good feelings after the victory over the Titans. The Indianapolis Colts come to Houston next week to begin December’s portion of the schedule.

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