On Thursday night, the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Houston Texans 34-20 in convincing fashion — and by the end of the game, I could only think of one phrase to describe the much-hyped offense:
We were well aware of how great of a player Patrick Mahomes can be — and he showed it again on Thursday night. Throws that would have made a season highlight reel before 2018 have grown to feel commonplace. Mahomes has developed a chemistry with his receivers — and he picked up right where he left off, despite a lack of in-person offseason organized team activities and preseason games.
Tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill each had a score, putting up modest numbers as Sammy Watkins led the team in receiving. Watkins also added a touchdown to the stat sheet — a sign that perhaps this could be the season when the playoff version of Watkins sticks around for the following regular season.
Asked about the unusual substantial hype leading into the game, rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire said he did his best not to see it, choosing instead to go to work with his head down. The blue-chip mentality paid dividends on Thursday night, as Andy Reid called his number 25 times. Edwards-Helaire responded to the tune of 138 yards (5.5 yards per carry) and at times, showed elusiveness that reminded viewers of former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt.
Edwards-Helaire was without a reception, however. That part of his repertoire will have to be saved for another day.
All of that said, it would be hard to have watched this game and not come away with real concerns about the defense. Heading into the game, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo mentioned concerns about tackling — and as we found out, they were merited. At times, the Chiefs struggled up front and at the second level. Worse, three defensive players who have had starts for the Chiefs over the last calendar year were ruled out during the game, which is never a good sign for for the near future. But safety Tyrann Mathieu played well — as expected — and rookie cornerback L’Jarius Sneed was a pleasant surprise.
The good news is that the offense clicking like it did gives the defense more time to figure it out. They already have 10 days to do so, with the Los Angeles Chargers coming up after an extended break.