For at least four hours on Thursday night, America felt normal again because the NFL was back. In spite of everything this country has been through with the COVID-19 global pandemic, football is something that can help mentally take away all of the disastrous events that has happened this year. Unfortunately for the Houston Texans their woes continued as their 2020 NFL season began the same way their 2019 season ended with a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Kansas City (1-0) defeated Houston (0-1) by a score of 34 -20 at Arrowhead stadium in front of a small but effective loud crowd that had been reduced due to NFL COVID-19 protocol. The reigning Super Bowl champions used a 31-0 scoring run led by Super Bowl MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his three passing touchdowns to go along with 211 passing yards and no interceptions to seal the deal early for the Chiefs.
It was a repeat performance of the 2019 AFC Divisional playoff game at Arrowhead as Kansas City overcame a 24-point deficit to score 41 straight against Houston, on their way to becoming Super Bowl champions.
“We got down again,” Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said after the game. “We had problems getting off the field. We dug ourselves a hole and we came back, but it was too little too late.”
Houston kept the dangerous deep threat passing game of the Chiefs at bay for most of the game not allowing Mahomes to complete a pass over 20 yards. His deepest throw of the night went to Sammy Watkins for 19 yards, yet Kansas City rolled out a new offensive weapon in rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
The LSU product rushed for 138 yards and one touchdown on 5.5 yards an attempt. That was enough to keep the Texans honest in their defensive schemes led by new defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver who took over play-calling duties from Romeo Crennel.
The Texans jumped out to an early 7-0 lead when running back David Johnson, acquired via trade from the Arizona Cardinals this past offseason for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, ran for a 19-yard touchdown on Houston’s second possession of the game. The former All-Pro finished the night with 77 yards rushing on 11 carries.
“I thought he played well and ran hard,” O’Brien said on his assessment of his starting running back. “He is a very good player and he did a lot of things well and a lot of things we can build on.”
Kansas City responded with five scoring possessions to put the game out of reach and torching the Texans defense for 369 total net yards for the game. Something that was familiar to All-Pro defensive end J.J. Watt.
“We felt prepared,” said Watt when asked about the unusual circumstances surrounding starting the NFL season and if that may have hindered their preparation for the Chiefs. “We felt ready to go. We just didn’t execute the way we wanted to execute.”
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson did everything he could to prevent another blowout by leading the team to two late fourth quarter scores, completing a 19-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jordan Akins and rushing for another touchdown to bring Houston within 11 points. Yet it wasn’t enough as Kansas City drove the field and executed a 19-yard Harrison Butker field goal to put the Chiefs back up by 14 points.
Watson finished the game with 253 yards passing with one passing and one rushing touchdown to go along with one interception.
“We just have to continue to do our jobs and get guys on the same rhythm,” Watson said about the offensive production on Thursday night. “Make sure, including myself, that we just keep improving and try to learn from this game and get ready for next week.”
Houston also seen the evolution of wide receiver Will Fuller as the true No.1 option at that position. Fuller finished with a game-high 112 yards on 8 receptions. That is a positive the Texans can take into next week’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.