Film Study: Texans vs. Chiefs first half observations
After a rough five minutes to start the game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Houston Texans were able to get settled. Here are a few of the play that led to the comeback.
On the first few drives, the Houston Texans defensive line was able to draw flags against the offensive tackles of the Kansas City Chiefs.
After a slow start to the season, defensive end J.J. Watt has been on a tear and this game was no different. On this play, Watt and outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus were able to draw holding penalties both offensive tackles Mitchell Schwartz and Cameron Erving.
The Texans accepted the penalty to try to push the Chiefs out of filed goal range, but Tyreek Hill had different plans. Despite the drive ending in a highlight reel touchdown, the early penalties and the trouble the Chiefs had blocking would prove to be game changing.
Charles Omenihu has been one of the better interior defenders according to Pro Football Focus this season and a huge steal from this year’s draft for the Texans. Despite only playing 16 snaps on Sunday against the Chiefs, Omenihu may have made the biggest play of the game.
After the game, Omenihu said that he knew what the protection calls were for the Chiefs, and it allowed him to take advantage of the matchup on this play. Being one on one with the center proved to be a mismatch, and Omenihu pushed him back to collapse the pocket and get to Patrick Mahomes.
The ball came free after Omenihu attacked Mahomes’ throwing arm, and it looked as if the Chiefs offensive linemen would easily recover the fumble. Benardrick McKinney came flying in and pulled the ball away from the two Chiefs players. The turnover led to a touchdown before the end of the half, closing out a big 20-point quarter for the Texans.
Will Fuller had career high numbers against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5 helping push the Texans to a win. This week he wasn’t as lucky, and had some issues securing a catch on some potentially big plays.
The Texans’ ability to run the ball against the Chiefs helped to set up this play as the front seven follows the flow of the play. Deshaun Watson sets his feet after the play action and sees that Fuller only has one defender on his side of the field.
With a clean pocket, which is becoming a trend, Watson set his feet and let go of the pass to Fuller running towards the end zone. Fuller has a step on Tyrann Mathieu but the pass goes just off of Fuller’s fingertips.
The drive would result in a field goal, but had Fuller been able to pull the pass in, the game would’ve been tied. There were two other opportunities later in the game that Fuller was unable to secure, though one of them would’ve been an incredibly difficult play to make.
Even with the incomplete result, after the misses against the Carolina Panthers, it’s a good sign that Watson is able to put downfield throws on target and has the time to do so.
The Texans used their tight ends well again this game and they took advantage of a wrinkle on offense several times. Tight ends combined for nine catches on 10 targets, for 109 yards and six first downs.
Often on run pass option plays Watson rolled out with the tight end, Darren Fells in this case, open underneath. It gave Watson an easy throw and often the receiver was able to get yards after the catch for a first down.
This specific part of the offense going forward could result in some big plays. The tight end underneath gives Watson the short throw, but could act as a lead blocker if the defense plays back. Over the course of a game, Watson’s running ability and the short gains to the tight end would eventually force the defense to account for this.
On the play you also see Keke Coutee running a wheel route down the sideline and Hopkins running a route inside to the sticks. This route combination forces the safety to make a decision. If the safety ever bites on the receiver underneath, the Texans would have a big play opportunity down the sideline.
The first few minutes of the game felt like a blow out on the road for the Texans. Thankfully the team held it together and turned the game in their favor before the end of the half.