Bill O'Brien often talks about 'total team wins.' Sunday's epic 31-24 defeat of Kansas City was certainly one of them.
The AFC runners up from last year, equipped with the 2018 MVP, weren't in a good mood after losing to the Colts last week. You thought the Texans might have to prevail in a shoot-out but it didn't quite play out that way.
The Chiefs looked spry on offense early with two first quarter drives of 91 and 90 yards. The first Houston snap on offense was a fumble that set up a field goal. Before you knew it, the Texans were down 17-3 and had to claw their way back into the game.
Deshaun Watson cut it to a one score game with an 11-yard TD pass to Duke Johnson, who waved his football-carrying arm over the pylon for six. The extra point was missed, but the Texans served notice it was going to be a hotly contested affair.
Carlos Hyde capped an 80-yard drive with a rushing TD to chop the lead down to one, following the extra point. After a Charles Omenihu strip sack, his second of the year, Watson ran for a touchdown to put Houston ahead.
Two scoring opportunities in the 3rd quarter came up dry. One because a missed field goal and the other because of an interception. The crucial thing is the Texans never got down. They kept fighting. Yes, the Chiefs took the lead midway through the third quarter. But the defense started to find its rhythm, putting pressure on Pat Mahomes and getting off the field.
A 12 play 4th quarter drive, that consumed almost eight and a half minutes, enabled the Texans to jump back in front for good. Watson ran for another TD and hit DeAndre Hopkins for the two-point conversion.
The Texans D came up with an ensuing 3-and-out and the offense killed the clock, highlighted by a gutsy fourth-and-three conversion pass from Watson to Hopkins with two minutes to play.
There were so many key plays and play makers. Hopkins has seen better statistical days but he was a chain-moving machine and best friend for Watson in the short passing game. Hyde led a robust rushing attack against his former team.
And the defense, without Johnathan Joseph and without Bradley Roby at the end, came up with two gigantic 4th quarter stops against the leading passing attack in the NFL.
Next up is Indianapolis. The Colts are resting, waiting and planning. It's a battle for first place in the division. Indy defeated the Chiefs last week and is loaded with talent that can give any team in the league plenty of trouble on both sides of the ball.