Vandermeer's View: What a difference a year makes


In the two matchups with the Kansas City Chiefs last season, Travis Kelce burned the Texans for 14 catches and over 230 yards. Sunday, Houston was determined to not let Alex Smith and any receiver get going on the way to a 19-12 victory. But the job that A.J. Bouye and friends did on Kelce was particularly notable.

To keep a team out of the end zone that erupted for over 300 yards and 30 points in the second half and overtime last week is certainly saying something. Even though the Chiefs ran for over 100 yards, the Texans held them to a drive-killing 21% on third downs.

Houston's pass rush is off to a tremendous start. Four more sacks were registered Sunday, including a sack and a half each for JJ Watt and John Simon. Add nine quarterback hits to the recipe and you have a defense that's very unfriendly to move the ball on.

Offensively there were some ups and downs. The Texans won despite two interceptions. The good news is, after the first one, the Chiefs coughed the ball up on a terrible snap and Brock Osweiler was able to find DeAndre Hopkins for a touchdown on the next play.
Osweiler's numbers won't look too pretty but the Chiefs defense, along with Houston and Denver, could lay claim in being one of the top three hottest in the league down the stretch last season when they won their final 10 games. Osweiler stood tough in the face of some fierce pressure and edged up his third down completions in the second half despite his second pick of the game in the third quarter.

Running the ball was difficult against Kansas City's front seven. But George Godsey stayed with it and it started to work better as the game wore on. Lamar Miller pounded out another 25 carries and Houston had the ball for 34 minutes in a game you never felt safe about until Hopkins caught an onside kick to put things away.

Now, a very short week to get ready for New England. Never mind the Patriots quarterback situation. It doesn't matter if they resign Steve Grogan, they have a tough defense and will be hard to beat on their field. If any team should know you can win with an understudy, it's the Texans.

Check out the best photos from Sunday's game vs. the Chiefs!

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