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Sunday, October 20, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Houston Texans

By Tania Ganguli


KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A few thoughts after the Houston Texans' 17-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

What it means: The Texans fall to 2-5, unthinkable when the season began. They were done in by a ferocious Chiefs defense, ultimately too much for new quarterback Case Keenum to overcome.

Stock watch: It's an old cliché that the backup quarterback is the most popular player on the roster. In the Texans' case, it was the third-stringer, to whom the Texans turned in need of a spark. Keenum's stock probably remained about where it was this week. He looked poised. He showed off his ability on deep balls. He was patient in allowing plays to develop. He missed some reads, too. And he fumbled the ball twice, once with a chance to lead a game-winning drive.

Cushing down: It was a play likely to have put a pit in the stomach of his teammates. Texans inside linebacker Brian Cushing took a Jamaal Charles helmet to his left knee, the same knee in which Cushing tore his anterior cruciate ligament last year. Cushing, who did not return to the game, is an integral part of the Texans' defense, and losing him last season hampered them.

Salute altered: Texans defensive end J.J. Watt sacked Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith and then made a departure from his normal celebration. Instead of the salute he typically makes, Watt mimed tipping a cap, a move that could have been a nod to Bum Phillips, father of Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and a legendary former Oilers coach who died Friday night.

What's next: The Texans will have a lot to figure out during their bye week. After it, they host the Indianapolis Colts on Nov. 3.