So far so good
Houston beat the Kansas City Chiefs 17-10 on Thursday night’s opening batch of preseason games. The biggest names surrounding this game were of no surprise: Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes.
Deshaun being the breakout rookie who took the league by surprise as soon as he stepped onto the field against the Bengals last season. Many college quarterbacks who find success running around and throwing don’t translate to the NFL as easy as Watson did, i.e Johnny Manziel. Deshaun was leading the NFL in several categories before his untimely knee injury so the hype to see this young player take the field again is warranted.
On the other hand, Mahomes was the coveted gunslinger who inevitably got Alex Smith shipped out of Kansas City. Andy Reid and the Chief’s organization felt encouraged enough by Patrick’s play in a small sample at the end of last season to let their current pro bowl passer go in a trade with Washington. We’ve heard raves out his giant arm and whispers about his questionable decision making.
Long story short, Deshaun went 1/1 for four yards. Mahomes went 5/7 for 33 yards. No one expected Deshaun to do anything besides hand the ball off, but a lot of eyes were on Mahomes who showed questionable confidence in the pocket and a huge arm that out threw Travis Kelce. Nothing spectacular from either starting quarterback, but there were several points that Houston can be encouraged by.
The seemingly 40-year-old quarterback Brandon Weeden went 9/11 for almost a hundred yards.
Having an adequate backup quarterback is key in this league. Especially when your starter is coming off an ACL tear. Houston has shown in the past not to have competent backups, (*whispers’ “and starters”) at that position, but Weeden showing comfortability has to be encouraging.
Rookie Duke Ejiofor jumped off the screen
Last season when Whitney Mercilus and J.J Watt went down, Houston had little to no pass rushing on the roster. Ejiofor displayed power and finesse moves several times off the line in his first NFL action. Going against starters he even forced Mahomes into a sack, which only thrills Romeo Crennel. With Watt and Mercilus back, having even more depth off the defensive edge can only be a good thing for Houston. Rotating fresh defensive bodies up front never hurt, just ask Philadelphia how it worked out for them.
May seem like a simple statement but for an injury-riddled team that didn’t have a lot of depth, it’s huge. Getting through a game with no major injuries to your young guys is always a plus, especially as we’ve seen players across the league already going down with season-ending injuries.
All in all, Houston is starting off positively. Players were engaged and not just going through the motions. Bill O’ Brien has to be mainly pleased after week preseason week 1.