Week 11 Game Recap: Kansas City Chiefs 45, Houston Texans 17
What you need to know
The Kansas City Chiefs were embarrassed last week in one of their worst offensive displays in years. At Buffalo, Trent Green had suffered through the worst game of his career. With the media and many fans questioning if the once vaunted Kansas City offense was starting to get too old, the Chiefs went to Houston with the determination to silence their doubters and reestablish their powerful offensive machine.
The Houston Texans provided just the opponent the Chiefs needed to rebuild Kansas City’s confidence. The Chiefs were able to control almost all facets of the game. They used a good mix of rushing and passing plays to dominate time of possession and the scoreboard. The Chiefs ruled on offense and their defense repeatedly denied the Texans any continuity.
Larry Johnson rushed for a franchise record of 211 yards to help remove worries about the loss of running back Priest Holmes for the rest of the season. He eclipsed the old record of 200 yards that was held by Barry Wood.
The one area that the Chiefs had some trouble with was on special teams. They were generally outplayed by the Texan’s on punts and kicks including a brilliant long kickoff return by Houston’s Jerome Mathis for a 99 yard touchdown.
The Chiefs appeared to have put their offense and defense back on track, but this was against the now 1-9 Houston Texans. Now it is essential that they keep that intensity as they play for a hopeful playoff spot against much tougher competition for the rest of the season.
David Carr showed intensity and a lot of potential. He needs a better supporting cast around him. By taking minimal time to look for open receivers, he was able to avoid the pass rush that his offensive line has been unable to stop. Domanick Davis is a welcome sight back from injury. He has tremendous skill and should be utilized a lot more to open up the offense for Carr. He ran and caught the ball with authority and demonstrated no ill effects from his ankle injury.
Andre Johnson is also back from earlier injuries. He has incredible ability. However, he was also playing angry and, at times, out of control. He was easily rattled and got into some small skirmishes with Chiefs’ players. His lack of control led to some lost chances for the Texans.
Jerome Mathis was the brightest spot for Houston. He returned one kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. He accumulated 266 yards returning kickoffs and put fear in the Chiefs’ special teams. Of course, he got the chance to shine because the Texans’ defense almost never stopped the Chiefs’ offense.
What you ought to know
|QB Trent Green, Pass: 19 - 29 - 220 - 3 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 11 - 0|
Green finished with good statistics throwing for three touchdowns and over 200 yards. He threw one interception. A case could be made that the one interception he threw was not exactly his fault as the ball hit Eddie Kennison in the hands and bounced off of Kennison’s shoulder. However, there easily could have been other interceptions of Green passes. Three times he threw a ball which hit the hands of a Houston defensive player. Each time it could have been and possibly should have been a pick for the Texans. Green’s stats were good against the weak Houston defense, but his effort will have to improve quite a bit in the coming weeks against the stronger teams ahead on the Chiefs’ schedule.
Johnson is a force to be reckoned with every week forward. He ran the ball 36 times for a Kansas City team record 211 yards. He scored twice. He did that while usually running through and into people. But the scariest aspect of his performance for upcoming opponents should be that during the game and after the game, Johnson never looked tired. He led the Kansas City team and he inspired them. He was always in command and ready to dish out punishment. The demonstration that Johnson put on is giving the entire team the belief that they can always produce offensively.
|RB Dee Brown, Rush: 2 - 8 - 0, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets)|
Brown was brought in a couple times to give Larry Johnson a breather and he was given the final series after Johnson secured the Kansas City team rushing record. He looked good in a backup role and provides security now as a backup behind starter Johnson.
Richardson brought out his usual exemplary fullback performance. He displayed his Pro Bowl credentials as a pass blocker for Trent Green, a run blocker for Larry Johnson, and as an occasional emergency offensive outlet.
Holmes, of course, did not play but it bears mentioning that he has been placed on injured reserve and will not play again this year. He is still being examined and getting medical opinions on whether he should continue his career or retire after this year. He has stated that he wishes to come back next year and continue playing.
Kennison enjoyed a productive game accumulating 57 receiving yards and gathering in two touchdowns. He was able to get open often and gained good yardage after his catches. Kennison is obviously the number one wide receiver on this team and picks up the opponent’s top coverage always after Tony Gonzalez.
Parker was a welcome sight back to the Chiefs. He has missed some time this year due to injury. His return gives Kansas City a needed deep threat on passing downs. He caught both passes thrown his way and ran one in for a touchdown.
Hall was not utilized a great deal in passing situations. He was able to contribute as a passing option, drawing coverage frequently away from the other Chiefs’ receivers. He had a fair day returning kicks but was bottled up on punt returns. He did have one fumble on a long kickoff return, but fortunately Chiefs’ player Chris Bober recovered it.
Gonzalez dominated the middle of the field. He drew crowds of defensive backs and linebackers. Despite consistent double, triple, or quadruple coverage by Houston, Gonzalez still got open. He caught nine of the thirteen passes thrown his way and just missed 100 yards receiving for the day. With the hits that Gonzalez gave after passes and that Larry Johnson provided after rushes, the Texans’ defensive players were probably feeling a little worse for wear.
Wilson caught the only pass thrown to him. Either Wilson or Jason Dunn was often used in multiple tight end sets that were put in to either confuse the Texans’ defense or to provide more power for the Chiefs’ rushing game.
Tynes was provided plenty of kicking opportunities and he was perfect in kicking for extra points and in his one field goal attempt. He regularly kicked strong down to near the Texans‘ goal line, but Houston‘s special teams too often then outperformed the Chiefs‘ special teams.
The Chiefs’ rush defense finished the day with good results, but it appeared that with better play calling by the Texans’ coaching staff, it might have come out otherwise. When the Texans allowed Davis to run, he produced. It appeared that they might not have been ready yet to give him a large work load. Just looking at the final figures says the Chiefs’ rush defense had a great day.
Kansas City’s pass defense was in control. The only thing they missed out on was getting to the quarterback. But David Carr was throwing the ball consistently using less than two seconds. They did not have time to get to him before he let go of the ball, but by forcing him to always throw so quick, the Texans were never able to gain much yardage or to find really open receivers. Eric Warfield intercepted Carr one time and returned it for a touchdown. David Carr managed no touchdown passes against the Chiefs’ pass defense.
|QB David Carr, Pass: 19 - 36 - 182 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 18 - 0|
Carr has had a problem through the first four years of his career. The Texans’ have not provided him much security in the pocket and he has been sacked far too often to allow offensive success. To help him, Houston has changed their offense to where Carr steps back from the center and quickly throws a short sideline pass. This does not give the defense time to get to him. However his passing total is lower and he does not get the chance to make many big plays. That is the way it was in this game. He tallied only 186 yards passing and had no touchdowns. He also was intercepted because the defense was able to predict where he was going to pass to. It was nice to see a little bit of his running ability as he vacated the pocket three times for 18 yards.
Davis returned from a knee injury and displayed a strong all around game. He appeared to be one of the brighter lights on the Texans’ team. It appeared that his number should have been called more often for Houston to have a chance. Possibly the Texans’ coaching staff was holding him back to not put too much stress on him due to his recent return from injuries. He was the most impressive member for the Texans’ passing and rushing offense. Houston needs to more fully use Davis to compete.
Wells was a non factor in this game. He managed negative yards rushing and had one minor kickoff return when the Chiefs kicked short to avoid another return by Jerome Mathis.
Purely on his offensive statistics, Andre Johnson had a fair day. He had one rush for five yards and six catches for fifty yards. However, he had trouble with maturity during the contest. After one catch in the first quarter, he pushed a Kansas City player in the face and then threw the ball into the Chief’s player’s face. Houston received a 15 yard penalty, which pushed them out of field goal range. Later, during the second quarter, he fumbled after a catch. It was recovered by the Chiefs who went down the field for a touchdown. Johnson was regularly shown fuming on the sidelines or throwing his helmet.
The good new is that Gaffney was a favorite target for David Carr. The bad news is that almost all of the throws were short passes to the left side and the defense figured that out. A little variety in play selection would have probably improved the statistics for Carr and for all of his receivers.
Bradford was mysteriously missing from consideration early in the game. Most of the looks to him and his catches came late in the game when the Texans had virtually no chance left. This is probably another example for Houston of too little, too late. Carr seemed to get into a pattern where he would only go to one player for stretches.
Armstrong was only targeted twice and caught just one pass. Since he is almost never the number one option, there was not time to look for him.
Rivers should have been utilized more, either as another large body for blocking or as a short option for Carr when the pass rush was too fierce. He caught one pass but was not looked at often.
Bruener, like Marcellus Rivers, is not being used for much in the Texans’ offense. If the line is not giving Carr time to throw, perhaps he could be kept in as an extra blocker. Otherwise send him out as a short outlet receiver. Bruener did not have any receptions.
Brown successfully converted on his only field goal attempt and both of his extra point attempts. He also did well in his kickoff attempts as the special teams mostly denied any significant returns by Dante Hall.
The Houston rush defense gave up 211 rushing yards and two touchdowns to Larry Johnson. That was just short of six yards per carry. Currently, the Texans are easily one of the worst rushing defenses of the league. There weren’t really any positive aspects for the Texans’ rush defense during this contest.
Houston’s pass defense victimized themselves. They let passes bounce off of their hands and they committed bad penalties. Defensive Back Buchanon was decisively beaten far too often. Even though everyone knew who would be most often targeted, the Texans’ defenders frequently allowed an open passing lane for the Chiefs’ Tony Gonzalez. In the end they gave up over 200 yards passing and three touchdowns to Trent Green.