HOUSTON — The Houston Texans kicked off the 2020-21 season by facing the team that eliminated them from the NFL playoffs last season, falling to the Kansas City Chiefs 34-20.
Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes thew for 211 yards and three touchdowns, Clyde Edwards-Helaire ran through the rain for 138 yards and another score, and the Chiefs began defense of their first championship in 50 years by beating the Texans before a socially distanced crowd of about 17,000 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill each caught TD passes for the Chiefs. They have won 10 straight dating to last season. That run includes a come-from-behind 51-31 victory over the Texans in the divisional round of the playoffs.
The Texans' Deshaun Watson threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score, but he also was under relentless pressure and was intercepted once. David Johnson provided the biggest bright spot for Houston, running for 77 yards and a score.
The Chiefs recover an onside kick and cap off a 19-yard drive with a field goal. They lead -- and ultimately win -- 34-20.
On 3rd and 1, Deshaun Watson rushes 1 yard for a touchdown. Texans still trail 31-20.
Jordan Akins scores a 19-yard touchdown to cut into the Chiefs' lead and cap off a 75-yard drive. Houston attempts a 2-point conversion but is unsuccessful. Chiefs still lead 31-13.
INJURY UPDATE: Duke Johnson is out for the rest of the game with a leg injury, the Texans said.
The Chiefs extend their lead to 31-7 after a 3-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes to Tyreek Hill.
Deshaun Watson throws an interception, a pass intended for Brandin Cooks that rookie L'Jarius Sneed caught and returned for 39 yards.
The Chiefs extend their lead to 24-7 after a 27-yard touchdown run from rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
The Chiefs tack on a field at the end of the half to extend their lead. Chiefs, 17-7.
The Chiefs have taken the lead after Patrick Mahomes found Sammy Watkins for a 1-yard bubble screen pass. Two plays earlier, Watkins had a TD catch overturned following a review determined he was down by contact before breaking the plane. Chiefs 14-7.
Funny moment between the quarterbacks taken two pick apart in the 2017 NFL Draft
The Chiefs tie it up early in the second quarter after Patrick Mahomes finds Travis Kelsey in the end for a 6-yard TD pass. The Chiefs converted on a 4-and-inches earlier in the possession to keep the drive alive. Tied at 7-7.
One of the newest Texans, running back David Johnson, scored his first TD for the team on a 19-yard run. Texans take early lead, 7-0.
The Texans defense forces a Chiefs punt after a long TD pass by Patrick Mahomes was overturned after a review.
A little sloppy start for the Texans first possession.
Football is back!
The Texans and Chiefs joined arms before the game as show of unity.
The Texans chose to stay in the locker room for the National Anthem and "Life Every Voice and Sing."
A look at the reduced crowd at Arrowhead Stadium.
Inactives for Game 1.
Ready for year 10.
Watch out Chiefs, J.J.'s in the house.
Representing at Arrowhead.
There are plenty of reasons for both teams to anticipate a good start.
Sure, the Texans' offense underwent a dramatic makeover with the departure of DeAndre Hopkins and Carlos Hyde, but in their place came wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb along with a healthy David Johnson at running back. And their defense has a healthy J.J. Watt, something they only enjoyed for about half of their games last season — and have missed far too often during his outstanding career.
“We have an opportunity going to the defending Super Bowl champs' home stadium right off the bat and compete with a great team. That's what you want,” said Deshaun Watson, who signed a four-year, $160 million contract extension last week. “This is the best opportunity you can have to start the season.”
That contract extension is the second largest in NFL history. The first: The 10-year extension that Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the reigning Super Bowl MVP, signed that could ultimately pay him about a half-billion dollars.
Nice paydays for two quarterbacks taken two picks apart in the first round of the 2017 draft.
“These two guys are just great players. Very, very dynamic players,” Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. “It's always interesting how the schedules are made that this is the game that opens up the season, especially with what's gone on. What's gone on the last six months, it's unprecedented. Now you have this game with these two quarterbacks who have done so much early in their careers, its' a great night for the league and a great night for football.”
SCOUTING THE TEXANS
Along with some new playmakers on offense, the Texans also have new defensive coordinator Anthony Weaver and special teams coach Tracy Smith. Defensive tackle Ross Blacklock, a second-round pick, was their initial selection in the draft while ex-Chiefs safety Eric Murray is expected to start after spending last season with Cleveland.
“You look at everything that they’ve done last season and even years past that they’ve played against us (and) you try to formulate a game plan,” Mahomes said. “There are going to be very few opportunities, so when you do have them, you need to be sure to execute. I think that’s what you saw in the playoffs.”
SCOUTING THE CHIEFS
The Chiefs also doled out big contracts to defensive tackle Chris Jones and tight end Travis Kelce, leaving little cash for free agents. Their biggest offseason addition was first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who will start at running back.
Kansas City will play without a trio of players who opted out right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, running back Damien Williams and rookie offensive lineman Lucas Niang. They also will miss cornerback Bashaud Breeland and defensive tackle Mike Pennel, who are suspended for the start of the season.