Chiefs 51, Texans 31
Texans vs Chiefs Divisional Round: Good, bad and ugly
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:
-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.
-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.
-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