The Texans were able to slay the Chiefs and hand them their second loss in as many weeks at Arrowhead Stadium to move to 4-2 on the season. Houston's 31-24 victory was led by quarterback Deshaun Watson, who takes the initial win in the first head-to-head matchup between him and Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
This game was a contest that featured plenty of momentum swings throughout, but ultimately things swung in favor of the Texans late. Now, they move to first place in the AFC South, while the Chiefs are trying to figure out what is going wrong after their latest loss.
Here are our main takeaways from this matchup between two AFC powerhouses.
Why the Texans won
Houston was able to survive the initial wave of the Chiefs at Arrowhead. On the opening drive, Patrick Mahomes drove down the field and threw for 116 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown to Tyreek Hill (four Chiefs penalties set the stage for Mahomes topping 100 yards on one drive). On top of that, Carlos Hyde fumbled on the Texans' first offensive play of the day. Despite that, Deshaun Watson was able to keep his team composed. After going down 17-3 in the first quarter, Houston rattled off 20 unanswered points leading into halftime.
The running game was extremely impactful for the Texans as Hyde and Duke Johnson were productive out of the backfield. Hyde rushed for 116 yards and a touchdown, while Johnson racked up 34 yards on the ground and 20 more yards through the air along with a score. Watson also used his legs to take down Kansas City as he ran for two touchdowns, including what would be the game-winner.
That success on the ground also gave Houston a tremendous advantage in time of possession, seemingly taking a page out of the Colts playbook from last week. In all, the Texans held the ball for 39:48, while the Chiefs had it just 20:12.
Overall, the Texans were able to take advantage of Mahomes' two turnovers. The reining MVP recorded his first interception of the year in the second quarter when he lofted a pass into the end zone. He also was stripped right before halftime. Houston was able to turn both turnovers into touchdowns.
Defensively, they were able to come on late and force back-to-back punts keeping a potential comeback out of the picture.
Why the Chiefs lost
Kansas City seemed to fall off a bit as this game went along, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. The rattled off 17 points in the first quarter, but then managed just seven points for the remainder of the game. As we mentioned above, the icing on the cake of those struggles came at the very end of the game when they had to punt on back-to-back drives. The latest boot came after a three-and-out when the Chiefs desperately needed a touchdown to try and tie the game.
On the defensive side of the ball, K.C. had no answer for the Texans' running game and essentially lost the time of possession contest because of it. Overall, they did a good job at containing DeAndre Hopkins, but the secondary allowed some deep passes to Will Fuller. Lucky for them, Fuller dropped multiple would-be touchdowns. In all, the Texans were able to put up 35 first downs against the Chiefs and were 2 for 4 on fourth down. For a defense that has Super Bowl aspirations, you have to get off the field and allow Mahomes and company to put up points.
It should be noted that Mahomes did seem to re-aggravate his ankle injury in the second quarter when Texans linebacker Whitney Mercilus was chasing after him. That could have limited some of his magic for the rest of the contest.
The main reason for Kansas City's demise, however, was mental mistakes. They were called for 11 penalties on the afternoon, which marked the second straight game with double-digit penalties. Safety Juan Thornhill also made the questionable decision to pick off Watson in the end zone instead of batting the ball away. That interception had K.C. start a drive on their 20-yard line instead of at the 40. Those kind of mistakes plagued the Chiefs all afternoon and ultimately led to their defeat.
Deshaun Watson's go-ahead touchdown with just over six minutes to play in this game will gets some consideration here as it was the play that won Houston the game, but the strip sack of Patrick Mahomes in the first half was when you really felt that the Texans were turning a corner.
After failing to convert on fourth down and down one to the Chiefs, it seemed like Houston was going to remain behind K.C. at least through halftime. Immediately following Watson's interception, Mahomes coughed up the football and gave the Texans the ball back at the 3-yard line. From there, it was an easy Watson touchdown run to go up 23-17.
It was at that point where the Texans felt like they were in the driver's seat in this game and negated any sort of early momentum that Kansas City had going for them.
Play of the game
Welcome back Tyreek Hill. After being sidelined since Week 1 due to a shoulder injury, Hill was quick to get back into the action as he hauled in a 46-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive. What was particularly impressive about this catch is Hill's ability to leap over his defender and get some serious air to make the catch. Hill finished with five receptions for 80 yards and two touchdowns.
“Carlos has been a great addition since Day 1...It was big for him.”-Watson on Carlos Hyde’s rushing performance vs. Chiefs.— Drew Dougherty (@DoughertyDrew) October 13, 2019
Who doesn't love a good revenge game narrative? Of course, Carlos Hyde was a member of the Chiefs after signing a one-year deal with them earlier this offseason, but the team decided to trade him right before the start of the regular season. The fact that he was such a crucial piece (116 yards on 4.5 yards per carry and a touchdown) to the Houston offense en route to beating his former squad must have been a nice feather in his cap.
From here, the Texans will take their 4-2 record to Indianapolis for an AFC South showdown with the 3-2 Colts. Indy is coming off their bye week, and the winner of this game should have the inside track in the division going forward. As for the Chiefs, they need to pick up the pieces rather quickly as they'll go on the road to take on the Broncos in Denver for Thursday Night Football.
To see how this game unfolded in real time, check out our live blog below.
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