Graphic by Ethan Gullet

Graphic by Ethan Gullet

The Chiefs began the week with a 4-1 record and one of the most explosive offenses in the league. Coming off a Sunday night loss against the Colts, 19-13, the Chiefs lost their second straight game to the Texans, 31-24, in Kansas City. On the first drive of the game, Patrick Mahomes connected with Tyreek Hill, who missed the previous four games with a collarbone injury, on a 46-yard touchdown pass, which could possibly be a catch of the year candidate over Justin Reid and Phillip Gaines. Hill returning to the high-powered Chiefs’ offense appeared to be a nightmare for the Texans’ defense, finishing the day with five catches for 80 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. A Carlos Hyde fumble on the Texans’ first drive gave the Chiefs the ball with excellent field position leading to field goal from Harrison Butker and an early 10-0 lead for the Chiefs. However, a 20-point second quarter by the Texans gave them a one touchdown lead at halftime and changed the momentum of the game.

The final score: 31-24

Players of the Game: Deshaun Watson

With the Chiefs being favored in this game, the Texans were able to sneak by with a surprise performance. Beating a Super Bowl contender as the away team is a positive sign for Bill O’Brien and the Texans. Coming into the week with a 3-2 record, Deshaun Watson, the Texans’ passing game and solid defensive efforts has been the key to success. This continued in Kansas City as Watson threw for 280 yards out of the 472 total yards gained by the Texans. The targets were evenly distributed from Watson this week, led by tight end Darren Fells, with six catches for 69 yards, and DeAndre Hopkins, with nine catches for 55 yards. Will Fuller, coming off an impressive three-touchdown game last week, posted five catches for 44 yards. Watson performed excellently, running for 42 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner, with six minutes left in the game. His performance, along with his incredible intangibles, has put Watson in the discussion for being a top-five quarterback in the league. Coming from championship pedigree at Clemson, Watson has set the league on fire with 1,644 passing yards and 12 passing touchdowns, along with 164 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns this season. With the Super Bowl as the ultimate goal, the Texans have found their franchise quarterback who has experience winning championships, but now it’s about fixing the offensive line.

Defensively, the Texans did their job against the reigning league MVP. Forcing an interception and a fumble, they allowed just 24 points to the most explosive offense in the league. Houston effectively stopped the Chiefs’ run game, allowing just 53 rushing yards, but like the rest of league, found it hard to contain Mahomes as he threw for 256 yards and three touchdowns. Mahomes’ ability to survey the field and make perfect throws in awkward angles made it easy for players like Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Mecole Hardman to get involved. The Texans gave up a total of 309 yards, including 256 through the air, proving that the team’s weakness is still their secondary. Safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. had the team’s only interception and his second of the year. Mahomes’ success was bolstered by good protection from his offensive line. The Texans were only able to attain one sack by rookie defensive end Charles Omenihu. The Chiefs are averaging 28.7 points per game, meaning the Texans held them to less than their season average. This week’s win was crucial in achieving a conference win and moving to first place in the AFC South, improving their chance of making the playoffs.

Next week, the Texans will play a tough division matchup against the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts were seen as a Super Bowl contender at the beginning of the season but lost their star quarterback after Andrew Luck announced his retirement from the NFL in the preseason. However, Jacoby Brissett is a viable starter in this league and behind the powerhouse offensive line led by Quenton Nelson. The Colts are still a dangerous team ready for success. Star linebacker Darius Leonard has been cleared this week after missing three games due to a concussion, adding a strong piece to the Colts’ defense. Running back Marlon Mack and receiver T.Y. Hilton have been reliable targets for Brissett this season. Mack has recorded 470 rushing yards with two rushing touchdowns, and Hilton has 232 receiving yards with four receiving touchdowns. Linebacker Anthony Walker, with 36 total tackles and one sack, is the main guy on defense, stepping up in Leonard’s absence along with cornerback Kenny Moore II who has 22 total tackles and one sack. Houston’s ability to run the ball and stop the run on defense will be key this week as this game will be won in the trenches. Whoever wins the battle between offensive and defensive line on Sunday will be the victor. Players like J.J. Watt and D.J. Reader will need to step up and pressure Brissett into making poor decisions to get the win.

Indianapolis, 17-13 in Week 7

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