HOUSTON – Any hope that the Texans (2-3) had of taking down the NFL’s last remaining undefeated team were quickly dashed with a pair of devastating injuries suffered early on to two of Houston’s top pass rushers.
While Deshaun Watson was able to rally the offense, the Texans comeback ultimately fell short and they dropped a Sunday Night Football game to the Chiefs and fell into a three-way tie, one game behind Jacksonville who stands alone atop the AFC South.
Here are five takeaways from the Texans’ Week 5 defeat.
Deshaun Watson sets rookie record
With his 10th touchdown pass, Deshaun Watson set a franchise record for touchdowns by a rookie quarterback. Watson would later add another pair of scores to that total. No. 4 will undoubtedly set that bar very high before the 2017 season is complete.
Last week Watson tied an NFL rookie record with his 5-TD performance against the Titans. He matched it with five more TDs against the Chiefs, including a third to DeAndre Hopkins on the game’s final play.
Houston’s defense on third downs was non-existent
Throughout the game the Texans defense did its job on first and second down, only to give up a huge gain on third down to help Kansas City sustain drives. Just when the Texans were rallying back into the game, they gave up a huge 38-yard completion to Tyreek Hill and 3rd-and-16 to all but end their momentum.
Kansas City converted nine of their first 13 third-down tries, an unheard of rate of success. For the Texans to have any hope of winning games, especially in the wake of the loss of J.J. Watt, they’ve got to do a better job stopping these drives.
College concepts work
The Texans had little offensive success until Bill O’Brien started implementing more zone, option, and spread concepts that Deshaun Watson had so much success running at Clemson.
Watson also looked good in a hurry-up offense at different times in the game.
Obviously, these concepts would not work in the NFL for a full-time offense, but it is good to see O’Brien play to Watson’s strengths and to go outside of his usual play-calling comfort level.
Special Teams hurt the Texans again
This has been a problem for Houston for a long time, and while they mostly kept Kansas City in-check, Tyreek Hill’s 82-yard fourth quarter punt return touchdown effectively ended Houston’s comeback and sealed the victory for the Chiefs.
Even without J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus the defense held Kareem Hunt in check
The Texans were never able to get to Alex Smith, but they did do a solid job on spectacular rookie running back Kareem Hunt, limiting him to 107 yards on 29 carries, which was only 3.69 yards-per-carry for Hunt, a season low.
Hunt only contributed nine more yards on three receptions out of the backfield and did not get into the end zone. Unfortunately, change-of-pace back Charcandrick West did catch a pair of short touchdowns out of the backfield, but overall the run defense showed pretty well.