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Breaking down the key plays | Chiefs at Texans

Houston Texans Team Analyst John Harris breaks down the big plays in the Chiefs-Texans Week 15 matchup.

Week 15 Key Play Breakdown

1. Teagan TD

1st Quarter - 1:05 remaining

2nd and Goal

+8 yard line

No score

Texans QB Davis Mills threw a laser shot to WR Chris Moore earlier in the drive for a first down that helped move the ball into Chiefs territory. Then, a few plays later, Mills threw incomplete to Jordan Akins down the seam, but Chiefs LB Darius Harris interfered giving the Texans a first down inside the ten yard line. So, on second down, the Texans came out in 12 personnel with Jordan Akins and Teagan Quitoriano on the field. They put trips to the left side of the formation with Quitoriano flexed out to a condensed split to the right of the formation. Ironically, the Chiefs ran something nearly 100% identical back in 2015 with Travis Kelce for his first ever TD against the Texans. Chiefs DB L'Jarius Sneed jammed TQ at the line of scrimmage and then stayed on his outside hip. TQ stretched Sneed horizontally then turned his route to the inside. As soon as he turned his head back inside, Mills ripped a fastball into the open void. Quitoriano snatched the ball out of the air for his second touchdown of the season. I remembered Kelce running that route nearly the exact same way against the Texans in 2015 and Alex Smith hit him with a similar throw for the TD. This time, it was Mills to TQ for six.

2. Davis Mills rushing TD

2nd Quarter - 9:38 remaining

1st and 10

+23 yard line

Game tied at 7

The Chiefs came out in 11 personnel and started with a bunch formation to the right of the formation. WR Skyy Moore went in motion behind QB Patrick Mahomes who was under center. As he did, Texans DB Eric Murray matched him across the formation and DB M.J. Stewart came screaming into the box. On the snap, the Texans slanted in the direction of the motion (to the defense's right) as RB Isiah Pacheco took the handoff from Mahomes. It appeared the Chiefs were running a duo play which is designed to give Pacheco some options based on how the Texans fill gaps in the run defense. But, what the Chiefs didn't do was block DL Mario Addison adequately as he slanted to his inside (the defense's right side). As he beat RT Andrew Wylie to the inside, he was directly in front of Pacheco and made the perfect form tackle. As he did, he put his shoulder right on the football and popped it loose. No one seemed to see the ball on the ground as I screamed into Marc's ear "THE BALL'S OUT!" except for Desmond King II, coming in from his perimeter defensive back position. He darted in and snatched the ball up and took off for the end zone. Unfortunately, Chiefs WR Justin Watson saw the ball come out and was the only Chief to react to King's recovery. Two plays later, Davis Mills scrambled into the end zone to give the Texans a 14-7 lead.

3. Akins TD

3rd Quarter - 1:37 remaining

3rd and Goal

+13 yard line

Chiefs ahead 16-14

The Texans marched down inside the ten yard line, but on third and goal from the eight yard line, Texans OL Laremy Tunsil had a false start. That penalty moved the ball back to the 13-yard line, which has not been good news for this offense this season. The Texans have let situations like that shut down potential TD drives throughout the season, but this one was different. The Texans brought 11 personnel in the game with Jordan Akins as the lone TE. He started on the right side of the formation before motioning to the left side creating a trips situation on that left side. As he did, Chiefs LB Willie Gay went with him, showing that the Chiefs would be in man coverage on this play. They also had both safeties over the top in a "Two man" situation. So, man coverage underneath with two safeties to help over the top. Akins started up the field, but Gay held him at the top of his route about five yards up the field. The Texans TE then ripped HARD back inside of Gay, angling back to the inside of the formation. Mills held the ball a while, due to GREAT protection, and then ripped one to Akins who had gained inside leverage on Gay. Akins boxed out Gay, leapt to snag the throw and dove into the end zone with the go-ahead score. Great effort. Great protection. Great throw. Great catch. Great all-around to take the lead.

4. Cashman sack

Overtime - 6:28 remaining

3rd and four

-43 yard line

Game tied at 24

The Chiefs got the ball to start overtime and picked up a couple of first downs to start their overtime drive. They put 11 personnel on the field but after the prior play Pro Bowl TE Travis Kelce went out of the game. As such, the Chiefs put trips to the field with TE Noah Gray in a condensed, but flexed split to the weak side of the formation. The Texans answered with their nickel package that included Blake Cashman at linebacker, who aligned over Chiefs C Creed Humphrey. On the snap, the Texans played man coverage with free safety help over the top (cover one). They then brought a five man pressure. When DL Jon Greenard took his rush inside, Cashman popped around to the outside and got free to Mahomes. When the great Chiefs QB couldn't find anyone open due to the clamps that the Texans put on the Chiefs pass catchers, Cashman wrapped him up for a MASSIVE sack to end the Chiefs drive. I mean, that was an electric play in what was an awesome football game. Just awesome.

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