Barry's View

Off the top of my bald head: A look at the aftermath of Chiefs-Texans

Barry Warner has different views on things. Barry Warner

Barry Warner is a veteran broadcaster who can be heard on SportsMap 94.1. His columns appear on Mondays.

The unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs came to Houston on a short week to play the precocious rookie De Shaun Watson and the Texans defense led by JJ Watt. I spent some time in the NBC booth before the game with Al Michaels and Cris Collingsworth. Both were excited about the matchup and to see the rookie quarterback passed up by the Browns and Jets, just to name a few.  No analyst spends more time researching tape than Collingsworth, who was amazed at both the kid's arm, poise and adjustment in such a short time. Al’s biggest hope was that the Clemson star would stay grounded and not become a diva. I told him that will never happen. This winner is special as a person and will have a similar impact in future years as J.J. Watt.

At his Pro Day at Utah in 2005 Alex Smith was a perfect 50-for-50 passes with no ball coming close to hitting the ground. In a first for pro scouts, they all applauded his efforts.  Of course, that was without a rush.  Last night at NRG it must have felt the same with linebacker Whitney Mercilus lost for the season with a torn pectoral. Five plays later, Watt fell to the ground attempting to rush Smith. The air was sucked out of NRG as he was taken to the hospital. He is done for the season.

The three-time Defensive Player of the Year played three games last year and in five games this year. That adds up to 8 of 32 games.

Jadeveon Clowney moved down from linebacker to a pass rusher but was not a factor and the Chiefs rolled 42-34.

Big night for Smith vs. Texans DBs

Smith is shedding the “game manager” tag and is the MVP through five games.  With no pass rush to worry about, the mobile veteran was 29 of 37 for 234 yards, three touchdowns and no picks. Travis Kelce, the best tight end in the NFL this season caught 8 for 98 yards in just the first half before leaving with a concussion.

GM Rick Smith McNair stunned folks around the league extending the contract of safety Andre Hal. The safety takes worse angles than a dyslexic kid in advanced geometry.  Marcus Gilchrist proved he is a journeyman at safety. Father Time has caught up with corners Jonathan Joseph and Kareem Jackson as the secondary was Swiss cheese all night.

Andy Reid may be the best play caller in the NFL with the utilization of multiple formations and talent.

Secret weapon

The unsung hero is the well- traveled Assistant Head Coach Brad Childress, who has one of the most unique jobs in the NFL. Most of his time is spent analyzing college spread offenses and options.  They are then adapted to the various plays that Reid calls to set up defenses and eating up chunks of yardage.  The touchdown to De Anthony Thomas as he came across the formation for an easy touchdown with no Texan defenders close was an example of Childress’s input.  That made it 32-20. Moments later the Texans not so Special Teams let Tyreek Hill return a punt for 82 yards untouched.

Time of possession was a joke.  Smith and the Chiefs had 38 minutes compared to the Texans at just 22 minutes.  The game was not nearly as close as the final, with many of the Texans points coming in garbage time. Justin Colquitt punted for the first time at the 7:18 mark of the third quarter.

A six-point game became a 19 pointer.

Watson a positive

Once again, the winner from Clemson showed why giving up two draft picks was a steal.

Watson led the offense with 27 second half points against the best team in the NFL. He has thrown nine touchdown passes in the last two games.

Never the same?

As a member of the media, we have the opportunity to see the best of the best when covering a game.  Regardless of the outcome, it is a privilege to be paid to watch Hall of Fame performances, even by the opposition playing a Houston team.  

Watching J.J. Watt from his first snap as a rookie through three seasons as the Defensive Player of the Year, has been like covering legends like Earl Campbell, Hakeem Olajuwon, Moses Malone, Clyde Drexler, Calvin Murphy, baseball icons Nolan Ryan, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. Their careers ending in the respective Hall of Fames for their sports.

There is no doubt that Watt once again will go through another season of grueling rehab and once again wear jersey number 99.  But he will NOT be the same player, reduced to a mere mortal, ending up in the Hall like the abbreviated careers of Sandy Koufax and Terrell Davis.

It is doubtful he will ever receive any award other than Comeback Player of The Year, if he can stay healthy.

 That is too sad for all football fans.

 Chirp.

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Rockets get another much-needed win. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets went on a redemption tour by beating the Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks. But the most pivotal win was against the Mavericks as the Rockets finally showed their true potential. John Wall finally made his return from his injury hiatus and played with a lot of energy. DeMarcus Cousins and Eric Gordon combined for 61 points. It was great to see Stephan Silas crack a smile as he was able to beat his former team.

The Rockets clearly missed Wall during his eight-game absense. This season, the Rockets are a .500 team with Wall on the court. Wall is the Rockets' floor general that leads, constructs, and also pushes his teammates to become better.

Wall only played 21 minutes in the 133-108 win over the Mavericks but still had eight assists. Even though Wall only had 7 points, his presence was still felt by finding his teammates for open looks beyond the perimeter. Wall made sure Cousins and Gordon got a plethora of touches. He called multiple actions, so they got open looks from three, which was mainly Gordon. Gordon and Cousins' struggles have been similar but with Wall on the court, they were successful against the Mavericks. According to NBA Stats, Wall posted a 111 offensive rating with the starters versus the Mavericks, which included Gordon and Cousins.

"He's the engine to this team. He gets everybody going. He makes the game easy," Cousins told a reporter after the game. "The pressure that he constantly puts on the defense is a tough thing to deal with."

Gordon has struggled all season long with three-point shooting and relied on his slashing abilities. Saturday night, Gordon made six three pointers against the Mavericks, which was 66 percent from beyond the perimeter. Gordon increased his three-point percentage from 31 percent to 34.5 percent after Saturday night's game. Gordon's 33 points came from being able to attack the entire Mavericks' defense. Willy Cauley-Stein didn't stand a chance against Gordon as he was burned multiple times. Gordon's been a lifesaver for the Rockets in the last two games, and hopefully he maintains his play.

Cousins played fantastic against the Mavericks scoring 28 points and grabbing 17 rebounds. This is Cousins' first double-double with the Rockets this season. Cousins became the vintage player from the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings. It was extremely fun watching Cousins push the ball up the court and aggressively snatch rebounds. Boogie shot 50 percent from behind the arc by making four three-pointers. He was dominant inside the paint as Cousins went 7/8 from the restricted area versus the Mavericks. This was the game Cousins needed after having a poor performance against the Pistons Friday night.

"It was really, really good. He did it all. He's a physical presence on both ends of the floor," as Silas said on Cousins' performance.

David Nwaba and Mason Jones were big factors off the Rockets' bench by having a combined total of 34 points together. Nwaba has been great in transition for the Rockets the entire season. Keep in mind that Nwaba is returning from an Achilles injury he suffered with his former team, the Brooklyn Nets. Nwaba has became a great defender, slasher, and is averaging a career-high nine points per game with the Rockets. He finished with 18 points on Saturday night versus the Mavericks.

Mason Jones has become a fan favorite of the Rockets because of his confidence. Silas is loving the usage of Jones off the bench but wants to find more minutes for him. Jones had a breakout performance versus the San Antonio Spurs with 24 points off 66 percent shooting from the field. He continues to get better with his reads from the point guard position. Jones' knowledge of running the offense has helped his efficiency on the court. He is never afraid to take clutch shots in pivotal moments of the game.

"To have a young kid who can come in and not be afraid of the moment, that's big. That's a tough position to be in as an undrafted rookie. I trust him. It's a good problem to have," Silas mentioned after the game. "He's showing me he's ready. He's a confident kid, and he should be. That's why he's good. He's not afraid of the moment, at all. He can get us organized, run plays, and score the basketball."

Hopefully, the Rockets can sustain their level of play when Victor Oladipo returns against the Washington Wizards, Tuesday. It will be interesting to watch Oladipo and Wall play in the same backcourt.

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