Chiefs Batter, Bruise Texans

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September 21, 2003
Chiefs Batter, Bruise Texans

by Ric Sweeney and Warren DeLuca

During another second half meltdown, the Texans were pushed around repeatedly by an obviously superior Chiefs team Sunday, 42-14.

The lone highlight for Houston on the afternoon was a 97-yard drive that ended on David Carr’s 43-yard touchdown pass to Andre Johnson, the first of his career and Carr’s first since November 2002. The bomb briefly tied the score at 7, but it was all downhill from there.

Kansas City scored late in the half after a failed third down conversion deep in Houston territory was wiped out by a (questionable) roughing the passer penalty on Kenny Wright. Given a second chance, the Chiefs’ Priest Holmes punched it in from five yards out and Kansas City led at the half, 14-7.

Two costly turnovers in the third quarter undid Houston. Their what was shaping up to be an impressive drive out of the gate stalled when Carr underthrew Johnson and was intercepted by Dexter McLeon. After the Texans’ defense held, rookie RB Tony Hollings fumbled at the Houston 32-yard line, and McLeon was there again for the turnover. Three plays later, Trent Green hit Eddie Kennison for a 15-yard touchdown reception.

After a three-and-out following the score, Houston native Dante Hall returned Chad Stanley’s punt 73 yards to push Kansas City’s lead to 21, 28-7. RB Derrick Blaylock later scored on a 20-yard draw and Carr was picked off a second time, this one by Shaunard Harts, who returned it 39 yards for the Chiefs’ final score of the day, making it 42-7.

Tony Banks then took the field, marking the first time in franchise history someone other than Carr was under center for a regular season snap. And Banks worked Houston downfield, converting a fourth down dump to Johnson, who then scrambled his way into the end zone from 4 yards out to end the scoring.

Next up, the 1-2 Texans host the 0-3 Jaguars at Reliant Stadium. Last year, Houston won it’s first-ever road game against the Jaguars and lost the rematch in a close one, 23-17.

What Went Right?

A Solid First Half
Despite making some mistakes, the Texans hung with the Chiefs for the first half of the game. They trailed by seven at the break, but even without Seth Payne, the defense had been able to at least slow down the high-powered Kansas City offense. Offensively, the Texans showed they could put together a long drive, make a big play through the air, and even establish something on the ground.

Youngsters Flash Potential
High draft picks Andre Johnson and Jabar Gaffney combined for 12 receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson was in a class by himself among Texan receivers, but Gaffney also deserves a mention for a play in which he fully extended himself to pull in a pass inches away from hitting the turf. Rookie running back Tony Hollings showed an explosive burst in the first carries of his NFL career, although a costly fumble cast a shadow over his day.

Pass Protection Improves
One step at a time. Carr took some hits and felt some pressure, but was only sacked once and was not pounded like he was against the Saints.

What Went Wrong?

Pass Defense
Too many times Trent Green was able to sidestep the rush and find a receiver not just open, but wide open. Either the Texan linebackers and secondary suffered a group mental breakdown or the Chief offensive braintrust was constantly a step ahead of the opposition on the Houston sideline. Green’s final numbers were nothing special (16 of 28 for 262 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions), but they fail to reflect the ease with which the Chiefs were able to find gaping holes in the Texan coverage.

The Texans turned the ball over four times: two fumbles by the running backs and two interceptions thrown by Carr. The first interception, on an aggressive deep shot on third down and one, killed a promising drive in Chief territory. Tony Hollings’ fumble set up a quick Kansas City score, and Stacey Mack’s in the Chief red zone killed any slim chance the Texans might have had at a comeback. Carr’s final pick added insult to injury when it was returned for a touchdown. The Texans are not good enough to give an explosive team like the Chiefs the ball four times.

Lack of Discipline
The Texans racked up ten penalties for 74 yards, and especially irksome were a handful reminiscent of Houston NFL Sundays gone by. Kenny Wright roughs Green (not a vicious hit, but late) after the Texans stop the Chiefs on third down; three plays later, touchdown Kansas City. Steve Foley shoves a Chief after the whistle on a punt return and right in front of an official, drawing a flag that pushes the Texans back to their own 11. Aaron Glenn loses his cool and goes at Eddie Kennison, resulting in 15 yards tacked on to a 50-yard gain by Kansas City. Two plays later, touchdown Kansas City. Did Jerry Glanville give the Texans a pregame speech?

Key Play Of The Game

Trailing 14-7 with 4:30 left in the third quarter, the Texans had just dodged a major bullet when their defense held after a David Carr interception. But Kansas City had regained the advantage in field position, pinning Houston at its own 11.

But the Texans were beginning to move out of the shadows of their own goal, primarily on the ground. After Carr converted a third-and-2 with an 11-yard scramble, Houston had a first down at the 32. But rookie Tony Hollings was hit on the next play and fumbled. The Chiefs pounced on the football and three plays later, were in the end zone, officially opening the floodgates.

Week 3 Review Andre Johnson celebrates his second quarter touchdown. Final Score Houston Texans 14 Kansas City Chiefs 42 Lookin’ Good

Andre Johnson
Johnson flashed both his game-breaking speed and toughness after the catch on his two touchdown receptions. He beat Jerome Woods for 43 yards down field for Houston’s first score and then broke a tackle and made a slew of Chiefs miss him on a 4-yard scramble late. On the day, Johnson caught 7 for 102 yards.

Oh, my eyes!

Dom Capers
The Texans played with no urgency, no emotion, no… well anything. And the team continues to commit costly penalties and were still inexplicably playing David Carr in the fourth quarter down 35-7. For his effort, Carr was rewarded with a front row seat to watch Shaunard Harts run an interception of his back for a touchdown. Nice confidence booster.

2003 Schedule Date Opponent Result 08.09 Denver 12-20 08.15 at Dallas 6-34 08.23 San Diego 17-19 08.28 at Tampa Bay 3-34 Regular Season 09.07 at Miami 21-20 09.14 at New Orleans 10-31 09.21 Kansas City 14-42 09.28 Jacksonville 24-20 10.05 Bye 10.12 at Tennessee 17-38 10.19 New York Jets 14-19 10.26 at Indianapolis 21-30 11.02 Carolina 14-10 11.09 at Cincinnati 27-34 11.16 at Buffalo 12-10 11.23 New England 20-23 11.30 Atlanta 17-13 12.07 at Jacksonville 0-27 12.14 at Tampa Bay 3-16 12.21 Tennessee 24-27 12.28 Indianapolis 17-20   Overall Record 5-11