Chiefs Narrowly Avoid Loss

The Texans put the NFL on notice last week when they almost defeated Dallas.  This week they stunned the Chiefs by forcing overtime.  The real story of the game is turnovers.  The Texans forced the Isiah Pacheco, Patrick Mahomes and JuJu Smith-Schuster to fumble.  Then the Texans capitalized on those turnovers with two touchdowns.  In overtime, the Chiefs defense forced Davis Mills to fumble.  One play later and Jerick McKinnon ripped off a 26-yard touchdown run, earning the Chief’s eleventh win of the season.


Beware of the Lovie Smith Defense

You always have to be wary of a Lovie Smith coached team.  His teams always play fundamentally sound.  More importantly his defenses are always punishing and opportunistic.  The Texans harassed Mahomes all game long.  They managed to sack him twice, however even if they didn’t sack him, the were putting him on the ground routinely, until Andy Reid figured out ways for Mahomes to unload the ball quicker.  The Texans defense kept them in the game, forcing three fumbles and recovering two.

The Texans defense also managed to win seven of twelve third down situations.  This severely taxed the Chiefs, reducing their opportunities to score.  Yet, the Chiefs didn’t do themselves many favors on offense either.  The Texan’s run defense is one of the worst in the league, yet Andy Reid forced Mahomes to sling it 41 times against Lovie Smith’s vaunted Tampa 2 defense.  The Chiefs ran the ball once out of eleven plays during their first two offensive possessions.  They punted at the conclusion of both offensive possessions.


Can we just run the ball?

It wasn’t until after the Texans completed an 80-yard touchdown drive that Coach Reid decided to commit to the run game.  Pacheco’s first run was for an 11-yard gain.  His second run went for 18 yards.  He ran it two more times before the Chiefs returned to the pass.  However, by then the Texans were forced to respect the run, opening up throwing windows and buying Mahomes a bit more time to get the ball to his receivers.  Unfortunately, during the Chiefs next offensive possession, Pacheco fumbled away the ball, giving the Texans the ball in the redzone and ultimately an easy score.


Gutsy Nutty Play Call.

After trading punts the Chiefs had to start on their own three-yard line.  On a fourth and eight, on their own eleven-yard line, Coach Reid called a pass play that Mahomes executed by completing to Noah Gray.  It was a gutsy play call.  It’s the kind of call that if you get wrong you put your team down by two scores in a hostile stadium.  Ultimately that play was a catalyst for the Chiefs to finish the drive with a touchdown.


Chiefs Defensive Penalties

The Texans made the Chiefs earn every single yard.  If they didn’t force a long drive, they forced a turnover.  Conversely, the Texans offense found ways to have success against the Chiefs defense.  While their stats are not eye popping, they did take advantage of several critical mistakes made by the Chief’s.  Late in the third quarter, the Chiefs committed an offsides, a pass interference and an illegal contact penalty all in the same drive.  Hidden penalty yards help move an otherwise ineffective offense.  In this case it allowed the Texans to score and go ahead of the Chiefs late in the third quarter.


Earn it!

Late in the fourth quarter both teams were tied.  With five minutes to go, the Chiefs started a methodical drive.  Harrison Butker missed a 51-yard field goal attempt with just 8 seconds to go.  The Texans made them earn every yard.


Run the Dang Ball!

The issue with today’s Chiefs offense comes from the play calling and play selection.  Though the stat line shows that Mahomes ran the ball 5 times, every single one of those was a busted pass play that he ran to make a first down for the Chiefs.  Taking that into account, the Chiefs only ran the ball 28 times.  That simply isn’t enough against a team that ranks near the bottom of the league in rush defense.  Patrick Mahomes’s talent overcomes Coach Reid’s play calling blind spots.  The Chiefs must become more balanced on offense.  In the playoffs, defenses will take Travis Kelce or JuJu away from Mahomes, forcing the Chiefs to find another way to complete drives.  This week would have been a great opportunity to really build confidence in the run game.  Perhaps they will take that opportunity when they host Seattle next Saturday.






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