The Texans kicked off their 2020 regular season against the Super Bowl defending Kansas City Chiefs, but fell in a 34-20 loss.
In front of a socially-distanced, much smaller crowd, the Texans-Chiefs matchup was the first game of the 2020 NFL season played in a COVID-19 era. Prior to kickoff, both teams locked arms in the middle of the field in a display of unity for Black Lives Matter and the recent events surrounding social injustice.
"That's the decision we made as a team," J.J. Watt said. "We're all in this thing together and at the end of the day, we're brothers and part of a brotherhood. We've had great conversations and done a lot of great things."
The Texans took an early 7-0 lead, but the Chiefs offense fired back with 31 unanswered points led by Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The rookie running back finished with 25 carries for 138 yards and a touchdown for Kansas City.
"We had trouble stopping the run, trouble getting off the field and then we sustain the second drive of the game for a touchdown, but then we couldn't sustain a couple of drives there and our defense couldn't get off the field," head coach and general manager Bill O'Brien said. "We got down and then the first drive of the second half was a big one because they took it down and scored and that dug a hole there. We did come back at the end there but it was too little, too late. There's a lot to build on but it's not, obviously, where you want to be."
Patrick Mahomes threw three touchdown passes and completed 24-of-32 passes for 211 yards. Jacob Martin finished with one sack, two tackles for loss and one quarterback hit while Zach Cunningham had a team-high with eight tackles (six solo).
"We eliminated the big plays, but we have to get off the field on third down," Justin Reid said.
Deshaun Watson led two fourth-quarter touchdown drives on back-to-back series, but the comeback fell short. Watson completed 20-of-32 passes for 253 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Watson also added 27 yards on the ground and one rushing touchdown. Will Fuller V caught a team-high eight passes for 112 yards receiving, averaging 14.0 yards per catch.
"I took what the defense gave me," Watson said. "They took away a lot of the deep shots and I tried to get my guys some opportunities to make plays and sometimes we capitalized and sometimes we didn't so we just got to continue to grow from there. I did what I needed to do to try and stay as close as possible and try to keep this team in reach to try and win the game."
In his Texans debut, David Johnson rushed for 77 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown and caught three passes for 32 yards. Johnson scored the first touchdown of 2020 season on a 19-yard run with 5:02 left in the first quarter.
The Chiefs responded with a scoring drive of their own, extended by a fourth-down conversion. Mahomes threw a six-yard touchdown pass to Travis Kelce to tie up the score 7-7 early in the second quarter. Kansas City took a 14-7 lead after Mahomes' second touchdown pass of the night, a short two-yard pass to cap off a 16-play, 91-yard drive.
Houston's final possession of the first half ended in a 51-yard missed field goal. With 25 seconds remaining, the Chiefs moved the ball 48 yards and scored on a 29-yard field goal.
Kansas City took a 17-7 lead at halftime.
Edwards-Helaire scored his first career touchdown on a 27-yard run in the third quarter.
On the Texans' second series of the third quarter, Watson's pass, intended for Brandin Cooks, was picked off by L'Jarius Sneed who added a 39-yard return. Mahomes connected with Tyreek Hill on a three-yard touchdown pass as the Chiefs took a 31-7 lead with 11:25 left in the fourth quarter.
Watson bounced back with two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter. David Johnson converted two first downs, catch-and-run for 12 yards and a 17-yard run. Fuller also caught two passes, for 10 and 11 yards, which gave the Texans possession at the Chiefs 23-yard line. Jordan Akins scored on a deep 19-yard pass on a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive. After an incomplete two-point conversion, the Texans trailed 31-13 with 7:21 remaining in the game.
After Houston's defense forced a three-and-out, Watson orchestrated another touchdown drive with 2:38 left in the fourth quarter. Faking the handoff to David Johnson, Watson ran into the endzone untouched on a one-yard score.
Harrison Butker added a 19-yard field goal on the Chiefs' final possession of the game.
The Texans fall to 0-1 on the season and will host the Baltimore Ravens in their Week 2 home opener.