Texans ride defense to win over Chiefs

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[September 19, 2016]  HOUSTON -- Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler and his Houston offensive teammates were doing just enough Sunday that any small measure of extra productivity proved more than sufficient to complement yet another stellar defensive effort.

Carried by a stifling defense and aided by a staunch commitment to running the ball, the Texans extended their regular-season winning streak to five games with a 19-12 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at NRG Stadium.

The Texans (2-0) limited Kansas City (1-1) to 291 yards, with the Chiefs only eclipsing the 200-yard plateau deep into the fourth quarter.

Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith passed for 186 yards, was sacked four times and averaged 5.0 yards per attempt. Kansas City managed just two trips into the red zone and found the sledding tough offensively against a defense that forced three turnovers and flew to the football.

"With all those turnovers and penalties (nine for 77 yards), you can't settle for four field goals in a game like this. You've got to find a way to get in the end zone," Smith said.

"They did a bunch of different stuff today. They had a good plan. Even when there were opportunities, we didn't even do our part. We left a lot out there."

Despite averaging just 2.9 yards per rush, the Texans remained true to the ground game with 34 attempts. They were a second shy of 34 minutes in time of possession, including 10:49 in the fourth quarter to thwart any potential Kansas City rallies.

While setting up Nick Novak field goals of 31 and 43 yards in the fourth quarter, the Texans exhausted 10 minutes off the clock and covered 96 yards in 22 plays.

"They did a great job," Texans defensive end J.J. Watt said. "When they run off so much of that clock in the fourth quarter, it really doesn't give them a chance to get the ball back and get in a rhythm."

Shut out at home 30-0 by the Chiefs in the wild-card round of the 2015 playoffs, the Texans didn't exactly get their offense rolling in the third meeting between the teams since the start of last season.

But Novak converted four field goals and the Houston defense made a 27-yard touchdown pass from Osweiler to receiver DeAndre Hopkins with 8:01 left in the first quarter stand. That lone touchdown followed the first Chiefs turnover.

Osweiler passed for 268 yards but also threw two interceptions, both to Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters. Texans running back Lamar Miller, on the heels of a career-high 28 carries last week against the Chicago Bears, rushed 25 times for 83 yards.

The Texans attempted 33 passes to strike an offensive balance that, while not always efficient, proved effective enough working in concert with the rabid defense.

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Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) celebrates after recovering a fumble during the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

"We have a good running game, we think," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "Sometimes it doesn't look great and it'll get better and better as we go. But I thought in the fourth quarter there when we had to have some runs, I thought our line blocked well, our tight ends, and I thought Lamar and Alfred Blue pounded it in there."

Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos converted field goals of 53, 43, 35 and 30 yards. He was the lone bright spot for an offense that struggled against the Texans and complicated matters with an avalanche of miscues.

"Too many penalties, dropped balls, you name it," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "Three turnovers -- all these things led to points. That's my responsibility.

"A kickoff out of bounds -- three points. You can't do that against good football teams. That's what the Texans are."

NOTES: Chiefs PK Cairo Santos tied his career long with a 53-yard field goal in the second quarter. ... Texans WR Braxton Miller departed in the second quarter with a hamstring injury and did not return. Miller caught one pass for 6 yards in his NFL debut last week and had two touches for 1 yard on Sunday. ... Zach Fulton and Jah Reid started at left and right guard for the Chiefs, respectively. LG Parker Ehinger suffered a concussion in practice last week and RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was out with a high ankle sprain. ... DE J.J. Watt, CB Kevin Johnson and LB Whitney Mercilus recovered first-half fumbles for Houston, marking the first time in franchise history the Texans had three fumble recoveries in the first half of a game.

[ 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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