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Chiefs-Texans Instabreakdown: bad play calling and worse tackling

The Chiefs dropped their second game in a row — and it wasn’t pretty

Houston Texans v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Final score: Kansas City Chiefs 24, Houston Texans 31

Another embarrassing loss at home for the Chiefs. Andy Reid has some explaining to do. A horribly called second half on offense was accented by the worst tackling display I’ve seen in my time following the Chiefs. Nothing is going right. Mahomes injured his ankle again and will have only a few days to get it right against Denver on Thursday night.


The Chiefs got in their way for the majority of the first drive but were ultimately able to overcome multiple penalties. They converted a third-and-6 from from their 13-yard line on a quick pass to Darrel Williams out of the backfield — who turned it into a 52-yard gain. Bill O’Brien challenged for offensive pass interference and didn’t get it — but then got a makeup call when Travis Kelce was called for it the next play. Cameron Erving would follow with a false start; Austin Reiter had a holding call later in the drive.

Mahomes would smartly take a shot down the field to Tyreek Hill on third-and-21 when the Texans were caught offsides. Hill made his presence felt immediately, catching a ball over safety Eric Reid for a 46-yard score.

The Chiefs were largely focused on helping their offensive line and keeping Mahomes protected. They utilized quick passes more than they have to this point. They were actively rolling Mahomes away from a struggling left side of the line. They also were heavily utilizing the screen game with success — including a touchdown pass to Damien Williams in the first quarter.

Mahomes’ injury was re-aggravated again — and it showed during the drive in which it occurred in the second quarter. Mahomes finished the drive throwing off his back foot — including a ball in the end zone that resulted in his first interception of the season. The pick was initially nullified by a defensive pass interference call, but that changed when it was determined the pass was not intended for Travis Kelce — who was the one being mugged by cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr.

The Chiefs bad offensive line struck again late in the second half, when Austin Reiter allowed a strip-sack of Mahomes after the Chiefs got the ball on a Juan Thornhill interception in the end zone. The fumble was recovered at the Chiefs 3-yard line and resulted in a Texans touchdown.

The first drive of the second half for the Chiefs was excellent — and critical. After a missed field goal by Ka’imi Farbairn, the Chiefs strung together their best drive, attacking with a quick passing game and a solid 17-yard run by LeSean McCoy.

The following two drives were awful for the Chiefs. One was a three-and-out after a drop on a swing route to De’Anthony Thomas. A failed shot downfield to Demarcus Robinson and a no-call pass interference on Travis Kelce stalled the the other.

Trailing by seven on their next possession, the Chiefs again stalled with a three-and-out — but with just five minutes remaining in the game. The Chiefs committed a hold on first down and inexplicably ran the ball on second-and-14. Then third-and-13, Mahomes was pressured and his pass fell well short.

The offense wouldn’t get another chance to touch the ball.


Frank Clark announced his presence with authority on the very first defensive snap of the game. He stripped Carlos Hyde and then came up with the ball after it popped in the air for a fumble recovery deep in Texans territory.

The next drive for the Texans nearly ended in another fumble by DeAndre Hopkins, but forward progress again stopped the Chiefs from a defensive touchdown by Charvarius Ward.

Darron Lee had his worst game as a Chiefs with several missed tackle. He struggled in space for the majority of the game.

After the slow start, the Texans offense had their way in the run and passing game. They were able to run the ball effectively and move the chains with short passes.

A pair of interceptions stalled the Texans on the Chiefs side of the field. Juan Thornhill recorded his first career interception late in the first half, but a fumble on the next offensive play by Mahomes gave the Texans a three-yard field. Deshaun Watson ran the ball in for a score. Late in the third quarter, Ward recorded his second interception of the season on a third-and-goal that gave the Chiefs the ball back with a one-point lead.

The defense as a whole is allergic to tackling, with inconsistencies at all levels of the unit. The linebackers were especially poor at tackling. Overall, they showed a lack of gap integrity and poor coverage.

The Texans dinked and dunked the Chiefs at will, sustaining drives for the whole game; only turnovers prevented the game from getting worse. On a fourth-and-3 at the two minute warning, the Texans left their offense on the field to close the game. Predictably, they converted.

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