Turnovers, penalties and miscues spelled doom for the Kansas City Chiefs in their 19-12 loss at the Houston Texans, digging a hole too deep to climb out of even for a team accustomed to the come-from-behind victory.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid found the lack of discipline from his team frustrating.
“All in all we had way too many mistakes today, too many penalties, dropped balls,” Reid told the media during his postgame press conference. “You name it. Three turnovers. All of these things led to points.”
The Texans, 2-0, proved far from perfect themselves but did just enough to beat the Chiefs, 1-1.
The Chiefs never seemed to find an offensive rhythm. Three first-half turnovers led to 10 Houston points that helped the Texans build a 13-3 halftime lead.
Quarterback Alex Smith finished the first half with a dismal 53 yards through the air while completing just 8 of 16 passes. Smith finished his day 20-of-37 passing for 186 yards.
The Texans sought revenge for dropping two games to the Chiefs a year ago, including a 30-0 playoff loss. Smith said Houston showed up ready to play.
“We certainly weren’t, especially offensively in that first half.” Smith said during his post-game press conference. “Just sloppy, sloppy football. We’ve got to find a way to get better.”
The Texans brought a mix of pressure against Smith, blitzing one moment and then dropping eight men in coverage the next. The game plan did its job, putting the Chiefs off balance most of the game.
“Even when there were opportunities there, it felt like we didn’t do our part,” Smith said. “We left a lot out there as well. It was tough.”
The lone spark from the Chiefs offense came from the backfield duo of Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West. The two combined for 118 yards on just 16 carries, averaging 7.4 yards per carry. Ware added two catches for 148 yards, as the pair accounted for 58 percent of the Chiefs’ offense.
But even Ware contributed to the turnovers, losing a fumble at the end of 9-yard run following the two-minute warning in the first half. Houston’s Kevin Johnson returned the fumble 53 yards to set up a 24-yard field goal by Nick Novak.
” I think in college I may have put it on the ground twice in my entire career, but I never lost a fumble,” Ware told reporters in the locker room following the game. “That is something that we don’t condone and it’s not acceptable. I am going to move on from it.”
On the defensive side of the ball, Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters figured in many of the games biggest plays, some giving the Chiefs life and others killing momentum.
On the Texan’s first possession, wide receiver Will Fuller beat Peters on a deep ball from quarterback Brock Osweiler for a 53-yard gain. Three plays later Peters intercepted an Osweiler pass at the goal line to end the scoring drive.
A bad snap from center Mitch Morse to Alex Smith later gave the ball to the Texans at the Chiefs’ 27-yard line. Osweiler hooked up with DeAndre Hopkins for a touchdown, with Peters in coverage. The Texans declined a pass interference call on Peters on the play.
Peters later picked up a second interception in the third quarter, making a juggling catch on an Osweiler pass intended for Hopkins and setting the Chiefs up at midfield.
Reid called Peters a competitive young player continuing to improve his game.
“He had some good plays,” Reid said. “There’s somethings that he’ll continue to work on.”
Peters appeared to lose his composure in the second quarter after defending a pass toward the end zone intended for Hopkins. Peters wagged his finger in the air celebrating the play, and drew a flag for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The penalty setup the Texans for a 32-yard field goal by Novak that put the Texans up 10-3.
Reid said Peters knows he cannot commit emotional mistakes on the field.
“He’s a competitive kid,” Reid said. “In that case, he’s competing against a guy and made a nice play on the ball, but can’t do it — you wag your finger, they’re going to get you.”
Offensive lineman Jah Reid suffered a sprained ankle, but remained in the game. Running back Spencer Ware briefly left the game with cramps and later returned to action.
The Chiefs played Sunday without running back Jamaal Charles and starting offensive guards Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Parker Ehinger. Zach Fulton and Reid earned starts in their place against the Texans.
The offensive line struggled in pass protection without their starting guards. The line allowed four sacks and seven quarterback hurries while committing five penalties for 35 yards.
Charles continues to practice with the team in his recovery from a knee injury, and could return to action next week.
The Chiefs, 1-1, come back home for a 3:25 kickoff Sunday against the New York Jets, 1-1. The Jets opened with a 23-22 loss to Cincinnati before beating Buffalo Thursday night in a shootout, 37-31.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick passed for 374 yards and a touchdown while running back Matt Forte add 100 yards on the ground with three rushing touchdowns.