The banged up Kansas City Chiefs fell to the Houston Texans on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, 31-24. The Chiefs jumped out to a quick 17-3 advantage with touchdown receptions from Tyreek Hill and Damien Williams. Unfortunately, the Chiefs were unable to hold the lead as they lost their second straight home game.
Patrick Mahomes and the offense came out strong on Sunday, scoring 17 first quarter points. Mahomes hit Tyreek Hill for a 46-yard touchdown for the team’s first score. Frank Clark then made a big play for the defense on Houston’s first drive, forcing and recovering a fumble to give the Chiefs the ball back. The offense could not put the ball in the end zone, but did tack on a field goal for a 10-0 lead. After a Texans field goal, Mahomes drove the Chiefs down the field for another score. He hit Damien Williams on a 14-yard screen pass to give the Chiefs a 17-3 lead.
Everything kind of went south from their for the Chiefs, who possessed the ball for just over eleven minutes in the final three quarters of the game. In those eleven minutes, the Chiefs mustered just seven total points, a touchdown pass from Mahomes to Hill in the third quarter.
Kansas City’s defense struggled once again to get their opponent off the field. They allowed 35 first downs in the game as the Chiefs lost the time of possession battle nearly twenty minutes. Carlos Hyde, who was traded by the Chiefs before the season, rushed for 116 yards on 26 carries. It was the first time Hyde had gone over 100 yards in a game in more than two seasons.
While the defense struggled, the offense deserves much of the blame as well in the loss. After scoring on their first three drives, the Chiefs scored on just one of their final six drives. Harrison Butker missed a field goal in the second quarter and Mahomes fumbled with under a minute to play in the half, which led to a touchdown for the Texans.
Here are our five biggest takeaways from the loss:
1. Tyreek Hill was strong in his return
Hill was a game time decision on Sunday, but played a major role in his return from injury. In limited action, the receiver caught five passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns.
2. Teams need to stop challenging Pass Interference
As we all know, teams can now review pass interference calls in the league for the first time. After six weeks, it seems apparent that no matter how egregious the call is, the referees will not overturn the call.
Travis Kelce of the Chiefs got away with an offensive pass interference in the first drive of the game. The Texans challenged the no-call, everyone expected the play to come back, and then the call was not overturned. On the very next play Kelce was called for offensive pass interference despite no evidence of any such interfering.
This sequence was just one of a multitude of similar instances around the league this season where a call seems to warrant being overturned, but it isn’t. It feels as if the league has made a mistake in even allowing this to be reviewed at all.
3. Penalties are killing the Chiefs
The Chiefs have now lost two straight home games. In those two games, the team has committed 22 penalties for 204 yards. Of the 22 penalties, nine have given the opponent an automatic first down.
Holding has been the biggest culprit for the Chiefs, whether it offensive or defensive. On the offensive side, the holding calls make a bit of sense when you think that the team is playing without two of their starting offensive linemen. Defensively, holding has been a problem for the Chiefs for what feels like decades.
4. The Chiefs need to trust the running game
The Chiefs ran for 53 on Sunday, which is actually 17 more than they ran for in their loss to the Colts. The team only ran the ball 11 times on Sunday, which was three fewer times than they ran against the Colts. Six of their eleven attempts came in the first quarter.
While Kansas City does have Patrick Mahomes at quarterback, it seems crazy that they are not running the football more. With Mahomes dealing with an ailing left ankle, it seems logical that the Chiefs would try and pound the running game to help the quarterback.
In their final two touchdown drives, Kansas City mixed in the run a bit more and it helped the offense get in rhythm. Hopefully going forward, especially with a short week heading to Denver, Kansas City can find a ground attack.
5. The run defense is getting worrisome
With a new defensive scheme entering 2019, we all knew it would take time to adjust. Six weeks into the season I think we all expected to see more from this defense.
The Chiefs have allowed over 180+ yards rushing in four consecutive games, and more than 100+ in five of six games this season. In 2019, that number almost doesn’t even seem possible with how passing games have evolved.
The Chiefs must get this problem fixed in order to get where they want to go in 2019.
Next Up: Chiefs at Broncos. Thursday Night Football
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