NFL Nation: 2013 Week 7 HOU at KAN Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Houston Texans

October, 20, 2013

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.

Rapid Reaction: Kansas City Chiefs

October, 20, 2013

KANSAS CITY -- A few thoughts on the Kansas City Chiefs' 17-16 win over the Houston Texans.

What it means: The 7-0 Chiefs remain unbeaten for at least one more week. They would be the NFL’s last undefeated team and take sole possession of first place in the AFC West if the Denver Broncos lose Sunday night at the Indianapolis Colts.

Stock Watch: Outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali both failed to get a sack until one of the game’s biggest plays. They combined on a sack and strip midway through the fourth quarter to kill a Houston drive. Hali later had two more sacks, including a sack and strip with less than two minutes left that ended the Texans' last drive. They entered the game as two of the top pass-rushers in the league with 16 sacks between them. The Chiefs received meaningful contributions from Dwayne Bowe and Dexter McCluster, each with four receptions. Alex Smith threw an interception in the fourth quarter with the Chiefs approaching field-goal position. Jamaal Charles scored a touchdown for the seventh straight game but also lost a fumble that led to a Houston field goal.

Late pass rush: Houston largely eliminated Kansas City’s pass rush until the fourth quarter. The Chiefs managed four sacks of Houston quarterback Case Keenum in the fourth quarter. But on too many occasions they allowed Keenum plenty of time to get the ball to an open receiver down field. They never forced Keenum, playing in his first NFL regular-season game, to commit a turnover or otherwise make a mistake. The Chiefs entered the game with a league-leading 30 sacks. They dragged down Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor nine times in last week’s game.

What’s next: The Chiefs finish off a three-game homestand with a game against the Cleveland Browns. After that, the Chiefs won’t be home until a Nov. 24 game against the San Diego Chargers. In between, the Chiefs have a game at the Buffalo Bills, an off week and then a meeting with the Broncos in Denver.