Kansas City Chiefs look downright pitiful in loss to the Houston Texans
By Matt Conner
The Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Houston Texans on Sunday afternoon in a game that was pitiful on all sides for the home team.
The scoreboard will tell you that the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Houston Texans on Sunday afternoon. What it won’t tell you is just how bad the Chiefs looked while doing so.
The final score of 31-24 will make it seem close, and in a way it was, but if the Texans didn’t look pretty pitiful at times themselves, if Houston hadn’t shot themselves in the foot on several occasions with silly miscues, the score wouldn’t have been this close for at least another quarter.
No, the reality is these Chiefs look downright pitiful in every facet of the game on Sunday.
What makes this loss, the second straight at home (the first such streak since 2013), all the more embarrassing is that it comes immediately after another humiliating loss. Coming away from their loss to the Colts in Week 5, the Chiefs points of focus were the exact same issues that crept up again on Sunday afternoon against the Texans. It was another week of sloppy mistakes. It was another week of poor protection. It was another week where the defense couldn’t stop the opposing offense despite knowing exactly what they were going to do.
The Chiefs do have several injuries that they are dealing with. They’re adjusting to life without Chris Jones and Xavier Williams in the middle. Anthony Hitchens was also out today. Sammy Watkins‘ hamstring injury keeps the offensive quiver from being full, and the left side of the offensive line is currently sidelined. But every team at this point has a significant number of injuries, including the Texans who were rolling without their starting corners for much of this game against the pass-heavy offense.
On offense, the Chiefs were calling running plays on 2nd-and-14 down late in the fourth quarter. They were going three-and-out when it mattered most in the fourth quarter, punting on their final two drives of the game. Patrick Mahomes looked off multiple times and finally gave up his first turnovers after several near-misses throughout the season. It’s Travis Kelce falling down and Demarcus Robinson not turning around.
On defense, Chiefs Kingdom watched Carlos Hyde, the “expendable” running back traded by Brett Veach, come back into town and enjoy a revenge game to the tune of 130 yards from scrimmage and 1 touchdown. Even when you knew they would run the football, the Chiefs simply could not stop it. Deshaun Watson made Frank Clark look like Mike Catapano in the one-on-one goal line play in the fourth quarter in which Watson earned his second rushing score of the day.
The Chiefs committed 11 penalties on the day that added up to 79 yards. They turned the ball over twice. They served up an incredible 35 first downs while earning only 20. They allowed the Texans to convert 2 of 3 fourth downs, and they failed to sack Watson even one time.
Beyond it all, the Chiefs also benefitted from a Texans team that committed 10 penalties themselves. The Chiefs even won the turnover battle since Houston served up a fumble and two interceptions. DeAndre Hopkins dropped an easy touchdown, and Will Fuller said “hold my beer” and did the same multiple times. In other words, The Texans left just as many points and opportunities on the field as the Chiefs.
The difference here is that the Houston Texans got their act together when it mattered most. Their defense forced two three-and-outs in the fourth quarter. They looked at Dustin Colquitt‘s monumental efforts to pin them back in their own territory and laughed all the way back down the field. They withstood the Chiefs’ best efforts to come up with a major play when it counted most and countered with even bigger conversions.
Now the Chiefs have three days off before they must suit up again on a short week against the Denver Broncos for the sake of Thursday Night Football. The Broncos are the worst team they will have faced for some time. They know their division rivals quite well. They could use a punching bag.
Yet at this point, the Chiefs look downright pitiful and it feels weird to even have faith they can win anytime soon. This is a team with major issues to address on both sides of the ball forced to learn any and all lessons in a short week.
Is the season lost? Absolutely not. The Chiefs are still in first place, have the reigning MVP, and will get a number of players back from injury in the next few weeks. This isn’t a sinking ship by any means.
That said, it is a pitiful one for now, stalled without any observable progress. There are known leaks going unaddressed. There are crew members doing the opposite of what they’re paid to do. There are leadership concerns at all levels.
There’s just no other way to say it. The Chiefs are playing pitiful football right now and they’ve got little time to figure it out before they’re up again.