The Houston Texans did their best to not allow Patrick Mahomes to beat them in Thursday’s season opener, but Mahomes still had his usual, outstanding performance. Mahomes finished 24 of 32 for 211 yards with three touchdowns and a 123.3 passer rating, leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a 34-20 victory. Houston’s plan was to take away the deep pass, and while they were successful in doing do, Mahomes once again proved that he can beat a defense in other ways. 

Mahomes was held to his third-lowest yards per attempt (6.6) in a game in his career and the Chiefs were held to just 8.8 yards per completion, which marked their lowest total since the start of the 2018 season — when Mahomes became the full-time starter. Of course, despite limiting Mahomes’ big-play ability, the Texans were unable to stop the Chiefs from moving the football consistently. 

Part of the evolution of Mahomes’ game is his ability to make adjustments quickly, which was on display in the season opener.  

“Pat did a really nice job of checking it down, some deeper things that he decided to come down on because they were covered downfield and those checkdowns are good for him. I thought he played very well,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid after the game.

“They came in and played a little Cover 2. They’ve been a man team against us in the past, but they kind of mixed it up with a bunch of different coverages. Some of our underneath stuff was good. (Travis) Kelce had a big night and Sammy (Watkins) had a big night, so we were able to hit some of the shorter things and keep them working. Tyreek (Hill)—our whole receiving corps I thought did a really nice job.”

Playing Cover 2 allowed Clyde Edwards-Helaire to have an historic debut, as the Chiefs demonstrated they can beat their opponents in a variety of ways. The Chiefs were held to 203 net passing yards, which was their fifth-lowest total since the start of the 2018 season. The Chiefs also failed to score in the first quarter for the first time since Week 11 of last season. None of that helped the Texans get any closer to defeating the Chiefs.

Houston had a game plan to slow down Kansas City’s offense, but they still allowed 31 unanswered points in the loss. 

“We had trouble stopping the run and the time of possession was not good, which involves the offense too,” said Texans head coach Bill O’Brien. “We got to play the run better obviously…I thought the guys fought. At the end, we were able to score a couple touchdowns at the end, but it was too little, too late. There are some things to build on, but we have a long way to go here obviously and we have to get going. We have to improve very quickly.”

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