The Houston Texans and their first-year quarterback Case Keenum threw a scare into the Chiefs on Sunday, but Kansas City managed to remain unbeaten with a 17-16 victory in front of 74,118 relieved fans at Arrowhead Stadium.
Keenum, playing in his first NFL game, threw for 271 yards and a touchdown. But the Chiefs came up with a couple of big defensive stands and the NFL sack leaders sacked Keenum five times in the second half, including four times in the fourth quarter.
The victory enabled the Chiefs to improve their record to 7-0. Houston, 2-5, lost its fifth straight.
Chiefs Top Texans 17-16, Move To 7-0 from The Mothership
"It was great execution," Charles said postgame. "The line did a great job pushing through. I saw Anthony Fasano and Sherm (Anthony Sherman); they did a great job. It was real fast, pop-pop and then the next thing you know, I walked in the end zone. I have to give a shout out to my line and to my fullback too, Sherm."
Chiefs Defense Continues To Make Key Stops from KC Star
With the Houston Texans a yard from taking the lead in the third quarter on Sunday, inside linebacker Derrick Johnson went from player to player in the defensive huddle.
Johnson preached the credo the Chiefs' defense has lived by all season.
Johnson gestured to the Texans and pointed to the white goal line.
"I kept telling guys, ‘They're not in until they're in," Johnson said after the 17-16 victory over the Texans at Arrowhead Stadium.
Indeed, the Texans didn't get in.
Tamba Hali Leaves It All Out On The Field For Chiefs from KC Star
Here was a snapshot of what it means when they say someone left it all on the field.
"He's so quiet and humble right now," cornerback Dunta Robinson said. "All the passion comes out of him."
It builds up in those intense minutes before the game, when Hali's pensive personality yields to an inner Terminator, and he'll yell out through the room whatever comes to mind. Like, "It's time, guys, it's time!"
And it only bubbles further when the true measure of it all arrives: in the heat of a game that could go either way, as the Chiefs were in on Sunday only to prevail with a heaping helping of what Hali does best.
"At a certain point," he said, "you have to ante up your game a little bit. ... We do that, because we know what's at stake."
So Bowe is going to wear a hat with a gold-plated "B" on it and a swag-tastic shirt with a tiger and gold chains printed on it and tell you about his dreams and then go bear-hug chairman Clark Hunt after a 17-16 win over the Texans on Sunday because how do you act like you've been there when you haven't?
"I love what this team is doing," he says. "Love my coaches, my players, the staff, everybody in the organization. We're just feeding off that energy and we're gonna ride it until the train falls off."
Bowe is mixing his sayings there, of course. He either means they're going to keep the train moving or that they're riding it until the wheels fall off, but, whatever. You get the point. Bowe is too happy with the bigger picture to sweat this other stuff and that applies to more than just optimistic clichés.
Andy Reid: "We're Going To Stay Aggressive" from The Mothership
We've seen similar fourth quarters from this team. Was there a sense of inevitability at the end of this game?
"Well, I've got confidence in the guys. If you're asking, I've got confidence in the guys. I would have liked to get that last third down and have it ended right there, but our guys rose up and I thought they played very well, down throughout that fourth quarter. There were just some big plays on both sides of the ball that were made and we've got to get in the end zone. We went for it on the fourth down for that reason; we worked so stinkin' hard to get there; I just wanted to pound the thing in and get it done and get a touchdown. We weren't able to do that, but we are going to stay aggressive. I made a deal with the players on that when I first got here, we're going to stay aggressive and at the same time, you have to do what you think is right there. I thought we could get that son of a gun in there."
"Yeah, we made that play up," Charles said laughing. "I went the wrong way. I was moving around and all the formations were moving all day, and I just forgot which way to go.
"My mind went blank, and I'm just glad that Alex was able to execute the play and score."
It was that kind of day for Smith, who scored his first touchdown of the year rushing on a day when he failed to throw a touchdown pass for the third straight week.
The moment lasted a fraction of a second, and in the end, it would not even be Dexter McCluster's biggest play of the game.
But as he sped around the corner on an end-around Sunday, only to get crunched by a helmet-to-helmet hit by Texans safety Kareem Jackson for a meager 3-yard gain, the audible groans that echoed throughout Arrowhead - as well as the way he quickly popped right back up - gave a certain validity to the pride he takes in being a tough guy, despite his diminutive stature.
"Aw man, listen," McCluster said with a grin afterward. "I'm 5-8, 165 (pounds) soaking wet. But I've got heart man, and I've got some guys behind me that trust me and believe in me."
Not only would Case Keenum, a man who went undrafted in 2012 due to his perceived lack of arm strength and mobility, be making his first career start on the road, he would be doing it at a rejuvenated Arrowhead Stadium, against the NFL's most ferocious pass rush.
But by the end of the day, even though the Texans lost, let's just say Keenum had made it clear he wasn't the overwhelmed, wide-eyed kid they expected him to be.
"The guy can definitely move around back there, buy some time for his receivers to get open and he has the arm strength to make the big play down the field," said Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith. "I found that out the hard way."
Will the Chiefs lose before their bye week?
The Browns looked pretty frisky before they lost quarterback Brian Hoyer to injury, but they now sit with a 3-4 record and have lost their last two games with Brandon Weeden as the starter. They will have a hard time winning next Sunday in Arrowhead. But keep an eye on Buffalo, the last team the Chiefs play before the bye. Despite their 3-4 record, the Bills are competent and Ralph Wilson Stadium can be a tough place to play.
Chiefs Notes: Chiefs' Offense Brings Out Wildcat from KC Star
The Chiefs unveiled the wildcat offense for the first time this season, with running back Cyrus Gray doing the honors.
In the third quarter, Gray took a direct snap from center at the Houston 10 and ran up the middle for 3 yards. The Chiefs ended up kicking a field goal for a 17-14 lead.
"It was fun," Gray said. "We just put it in right before the game. I played quarterback in high school, so I ran the zone read a lot. Coach put me in a position to try and make a play, and I was happy for the opportunity."
Chiefs Report Card vs. Texans from KC Star
Reason to Hope:
As long as the defense maintains its dominant play and allows 17 points or less, this team is going to be hard to beat.
Reason to Mope:
The offense is going to have to get better to keep up with Denver, San Diego and Washington during the second half of the season.
Pink Seat Honoree: Fighting Cancer Like A Girl from The Mothership
During the month of October, in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Chiefs celebrate a breast cancer survivor, a caregiver or someone who has furthered the cause of breast cancer awareness. Today, the Chiefs and the University of Kansas Hospital recognized Stephanie Reynolds as this week's Pink Seat Honoree.
Stephanie was recently diagnosed with breast cancer in June of this year. She is a Chiefs super fan and is not letting cancer keep her from cheering on her Chiefs at Arrowhead.
KCChiefs.com Video: Locker Room Celebration After Week 7 Victory
KCChiefs.com Video: Postgame With Mitch And Reid: Week 7
KCChiefs.com Video: Postgame Locker Room Interviews
KCChiefs.com Video: Chiefs Postgame Press Conference
NFL.com Video: Game Day Satisfaction: Week 7
NFL.com Video: WK 7 Can't-Miss Play: McCluster Puts On The Thrusters
NFL.com Video: WK 7 Can't-Miss Play: Chiefs Game-Winning Sack And Fumble
For the first time this season, the Chiefs took an opponent's best shot, albeit an opponent struggling with injuries and having a season as disappointing as Kansas City's is satisfying.
But the Chiefs survived, and after the Denver Broncos' loss Sunday night, sit alone atop the AFC West. The Texans played about as well as they reasonably could have, considering they started the game without injured quarterback Matt Schaub and finished it without, among others, running back Arian Foster and linebacker Brian Cushing.
Chiefs Hold On Against Texans, Move To 7-0 from CBS Sports
The Kansas City Chiefs had their backs to the end zone in the third quarter on Sunday, and the Houston Texans had first-and-goal with an opportunity to take the lead.
Three straight plays went nowhere and the Texans had to settle for a field goal.
It was a virtuoso display by the NFL's stingiest defense, and a signature stand in a stellar second half.
Chiefs' Charles Quietly, Efficiently, Putting Together A Case For NFL MVP from FS Kansas City
While the media universe orbits Manning and the Denver Broncos, Charles, at the age of 25, is quietly, quickly, stringing together an MVP case himself, the engine behind a 7-0 train that's showing no signs of slowing down.
Through the season's first seven games, Charles has collected at least 100 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown each and every week. That's the paragon of consistency, the kind of reliability you can set a clock to. To put that number in perspective, only two men in NFL history have pulled the 100 yards-plus-a-score trick in seven consecutive weeks to open a season: O.J. Simpson with Buffalo in 1975 and Charles, right here, right now.
Final: Chiefs 17, Texans 16 from Ultimate Texans
Case Keenum made a solid NFL debut, but the Texans were hampered by an inconsistent defense and injuries in a 17-16 loss at Kansas City on Sunday.
It was the fifth straight loss for the Texans (2-5), who lost Arian Foster (hamstring) and Brian Cushing (knee) to injuries in the game.
Chiefs' Defense Comes Through When Team Needs It Most -- In The Fourth Quarter from FS Kansas City
Wide out Dwayne Bowe played much of the game in the slot as the Chiefs tried to set up some physical mismatches for him against nickel backs. He was targeted nine times and caught five passes for 66 yards.
But perhaps his most noticeable play was on a third-and-21 when Smith hit Dexter McCluster for 43 yards in the second half. Bowe took out three Texans while blocking on the play.
Remember that Bowe's season last year ended when he broke his ribs trying to block on a play, so his commitment to blocking this year is noted.
Locker Room Buzz: Kansas City Chiefs from ESPN
Smith was upset with the officials that a penalty wasn't called against the Texans when he threw an interception in the final period. Smith was trying to pass to Dexter McCluster. "He was getting grabbed in there and he was trying to break out and the guy's grabbing him, had him collared and we don't get a call there,'' Smith said. "I think it was too big a play in the game for that, that drastic.''
Rapid Reaction: Kansas City Chiefs from ESPN
Outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali both failed to get a sack until one of the game's biggest plays. They combined on a sack and strip midway through the fourth quarter to kill a Houston drive. Hali later had two more sacks, including a sack and strip with less than two minutes left that ended the Texans' last drive.
The Kansas City Chiefs retained their unbeaten record, just, with Jamaal Charles running for 86 yards and a touchdown and Alex Smith also scoring in a 17-16 win over the Houston Texans.
The Chiefs deserve all the praise they can handle for winning their seventh consecutive game to start the season. Each victory practically is a carbon copy of the previous one. The only thing missing from this one was a Jamaal Charles clock-killing drive.
Still, we can't help but feel like this game was more about the Texans.
Chiefs Maintain Perfection, Defeat Texans 17-16 from Chiefs Spin
"Every win is a great win in the National Football League," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "We'll enjoy every one of them that we have the opportunity to enjoy. I thought this was a good team victory."
Indeed, it took a team effort from the Chiefs, as the Texans proved a worthy opponent despite entering Week Seven on a four-game losing streak and turning to third-string quarterback Case Keenum for a spark.
Chiefs Hold Off Surprisingly Competitive Texans from ProFootballTalk
But the Chiefs' stout defense would turn out to be too much for the Texans' offense in the end, and Keenum really began to feel the Chiefs' pass rush late in the game. Kansas City pressures quarterbacks better than any other team in the NFL, and that was on display today.
And so the Chiefs improve to a surprising 7-0. Andy Reid has engineered a tremendous turnaround.
Chiefs' 2-14 Debacle A Distant Memory from SportingNews
The Chiefs, who led the NFL in sacks going into Sunday, sacked Texans quarterback Case Keenum five times. Leading the NFL in takeaways, they also stripped Keenum on their final sack of the game with 1:34 to go, at the Texans' two-yard line to kill their final chance.
Tamba Hali had 2 ½ of the five sacks, including the one that forced the final fumble.
Chiefs Fans Celebrate Undefeated Season from KWCH
"Over the last few years it's not as fun to go out when you're 2-14, but it's been exciting to have a team that is doing well," said Chiefs Fan Robert Standifer.
"There is definitely more of a buzz," said fan Holly Shoffner. "But I like when they are doing well, it's more fun to watch the games when I think they will actually win.
Both wore their team colors with pride during the game. A show of support that seems to be growing around town.
Chiefs Offense Keeps Churning from Warpaint Ilustrated
I know what you're are saying, it was Tamba Hali and Justin Houston who saved the day in the fourth quarter. And although that may very well be true, it was the offense that kept the Chiefs in this game.
Until the final quarter the NFL's best defense, had their worst game against a Texans offense that had allowed a pick-6 in six straight games and was starting their 3rd string rookie quarterback. On paper this defense was supposed to slaughter the Texans offense, but it just didn't happen that way.
Sorting The Sunday Pile: Colts A Contender, Broncos Beatable from CBS Sports
The Denver matchup will be spicy and not just because it's a divisional rivalry. Knocking Peyton on his butt is the fastest way to beat the Broncos (see: above) and with Denver's offensive line struggling, it won't be fun playing against Dontari Poe, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston.
5 Takeaways From Chiefs' 17-16 Win Over Texans from The Associated Press via The Boston Herald
After winning just twice last year, the Chiefs have put themselves squarely in playoff contention. In the Super Bowl era, 31 previous teams started 7-0 and all of them made the playoffs. Fifteen of them made the Super Bowl and nine of them won it all. "We're more together this year," Chiefs safety Kendrick Lewis said. "We're pulling for one common goal, and that goal is to win the Super Bowl."