Chiefs 51, Texans 31

Texans vs Chiefs Divisional Round: Good, bad and ugly

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With a chance to host the Titans in the AFC Championship game on the line, the Texans got beat by the Chiefs 31-51 in a thriller. Here are my observations:

The Good

-On their sixth play from scrimmage, the Texans scored a touchdown on a 54-yard Deshaun Watson to Kenny Stills hookup. The Chiefs' defense fell for the bubble screen which left Stills wide open. It was the Texans' first opening drive touchdown in postseason history (10 games).

-Deshaun Watson played his ass off. 31/52 for 388 yards with two passing touchdowns, plus six carries for 37 yards and a touchdown rushing. His escapability prolonged plays and always makes for an entertaining watch. He's the football equivalent to an offensive rebound the way he extends plays. My favorite play was the sack he took, but made the Chiefs defense work for almost 10 seconds to get on their first possession of the 3rd quarter.

-Watson looked great because he had a full compliment of healthy receivers. Will Fuller has been the main culprit of bad health. He had 89 yards on five catches. DeAndre Hopkins and Stills, the healthy guys, combined for 198 yards on 12 catches and a touchdown. If the defense can get their act together, this offense (when healthy) can be dangerous.

The Bad

-Lonnie Johnson Jr was called for a 28-yard pass interference on Kelce that led to the Chiefs' second touchdown. He was getting his head around and made minimal contact, but the refs threw the flag anyway. Later in the first half, DeAndre Hopkins dropped a key 3rd down when Tyrann Mathieu made obvious contact before the ball got there, but the refs didn't throw a flag there. Pass interference calls and reviews have been a complete joke all year.

-Down 17 with 11:45 left in the game on 4th&4 from Chiefs, Bill O'Brien called a timeout because he was about to punt. Inexcusable in that situation for O'Brien not to have a play dialed up. Again, situational football isn't his thing. He needs to relinquish some control to someone/people he knows and respects that'll help him navigate situational football, as well as some other things.

-Failure to continue to run the ball effectively was a contributing factor to this loss. The Texans ran it 21 times for 94 yards at a 4.5 yard per carry average. I'm no genius, but that means a lot of shorter distances to go 2nd & 3rd downs if you can rush for your average. This was the same thing the Ravens did. They too panicked unnecessarily and decided to start playing flag football. Dance with the one you got there with instead of shooting your shot at the one you can't get with.

The Ugly

-After going up 24-0, the Texans gave up a 58-yard kickoff return, 25-yard pass to Travis Kelce, and a 17-yard touchdown pass to Damien Williams to make it 24-7. They followed up their next offensive possession by missing on a 4th&4 fake punt giving the Chiefs a short field. Next thing you know, it's 24-14 and the Chiefs started shifting momentum. Then...

-...the Chiefs really made it a game when Deandre Carter fumbled the ensuing kickoff recovered by Darwin Thompson and returned to the six yard line. The Chiefs scored on 3rd&Goal when Mahomes found Kelce after scrambling. It went to 24-21 and Arrowhead Stadium turned back into a party. IT WAS STILL THE FIRST HALF! It was all down hill from there.

-The last 35 minutes of the game was all UGLY! How the hell do you go up 24-0 on the road, then give up 41 unanswered?!? Romeo Crennel should be fired immediately! People will blame O'Brien and his gambles that didn't work, but the defense failed to stop or slow down the Chiefs.

I stated on Twitter before the game started that Chris Jones being out for the Chiefs was bigger than Will Fuller being healthy for the Texans. That was true for the first 20 minutes of the game. The Texans proceeded to implode as if the moment was too big for them. They compounded mistakes by making more egregious errors, then componded them by making tactical blunders, and ultimately failed to execute. I hope this serves as a learning tool for the organization moving forward. The players didn't quit when things started going south. That is a testament to O'Brien. If he was as bad as most think he is, his team would quit on him. While this sin't an endorsement, it is a sign that the players like him even though no one else appears to. When you give up a 51-7 run in football, you'll lose every time; unless you're up by more than 45 points. Word to Booger McFarland.

Hyde 1070, Chiefs RBs 1292

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Keep an eye on Tank Dell this Sunday. Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images.

I remember thinking how in the world can these little frail guys survive at the NFL level? I mean, I saw Joe Theismann and Ed McCaffrey's legs snap. Drew Bledsoe got his chest caved in. Seeing 300-plus pound men cry when injured is humbling. So when a guy like Tank Dell comes along, I'm always a bit apprehensive. Especially when they come with a ton of hype.

For every eight to ten big strong players that get hurt, there's one or two little fellas that have relatively healthy careers. The comp that came to mind when looking at Tank was DeSean Jackson. Listed at 5'10 and weighing a heavy 175 pounds, Jackson was arguably the best “small guy” in NFL history. Dell being about two inches shorter and about ten pounds lighter, while also playing a similar role, is in line to be a similarly electrifying type of player. I put my assessment on the line and doubled down with my predictions on what his, and others' season totals will look like last week:

Tank Dell: 68 catches, 1,105 yards and 6 touchdowns- Dell will be a really good slot, but has some outside skills. Namely, his speed. He's more slippery than if Mick had greased that chicken before Rocky tried catching it. I could see his production going up as the season gets longer because Stroud will begin to look for him more and more as they build chemistry. Yes, I know I only have him with six scores. Keep in mind this is a run first offense. At least that's what we can deduce from looking at where it came from in San Francisco.

In his debut game last week vs the Ravens, he notched three catches for 34 yards on four targets. He was tied for third on the team in targets with Noah Brown and Mike Boone. While Robert Woods and Nico Collins were one and two in targets last week, I think Dell will ascend that list starting this week. Word came down that Noah Brown is headed to IR, meaning he'll miss at least the next four weeks. The chemistry he and fellow rookie C.J. Stroud have developed is palpable. From working out together, to attending UH games together, these two seem to have a nice bond already.

Woods is a solid vet two years removed from an ACL injury. Collins was a third rounder with size who hasn't done a whole lot. Dell is easily the most exciting option at receiver this team has. John Metchie III was expected to be the next guy up. Unfortunately, cancer had him take a backseat, until now. Metchie is back at practice this week, so a debut is imminent. He could potentially challenge for more playing time, but it may take him some time to get used to things and get going again.

As far as my statistical prediction for his season, he only needs to average four catches for 67 yards per game, and get a touchdown every two to three games for the remainder of the season. Given Brown being out the next few games, Metchie not quite being up to speed, Woods being an older player on a short-term deal, and Collins not really being what everyone thought he could be, it leaves things wide open for Dell to step up.

Playmakers come in all shapes and sizes. Levon Kirkland was a 300-pound middle linebacker in a 3-4. Doug Flutie led teams to playoff wins as a 5'9 quarterback. In football, size matters. The bigger, stronger guys normally win out. When it comes to receiving and returns, you want speed, quickness, and agility. Dell has that in spades. Add his competitive nature and chemistry with his quarterback and you have a recipe for a star in the making. I know I'm not the only one hoping the Texans continue Tank-ing.

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