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Tape Study: Chiefs 31, Texans 35 -- Shelters Better Than Tents

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I could do another spiel where I repeat myself about the defense. It would be long, it would be painful, and it would make you want to slit your wrists. But between going on vacation (I'll be gone by the time you read this) taking up the time I have to write this and a desire to not make myself angry, I'll compromise and write a sentence on them for every time they were able to get the Chiefs off the field via a punt. That seems fair, right? Okay then:

Bernard Pollard was way too amped up and missed a few tackles, the worst of which was on the Thomas Jones touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Shaun Cody came to play and was probably the best player on the field, which is a really sad idea to think about. David Nixon looked completely lost and his release was probably deserved, all things considered; unless the LB injury situation continues to spiral out of control he shouldn't be back. The schemes continued to be embarrassing.

With that out of the way, let's talk about Owen Daniels, Antoine Caldwell, the surprisingly tame KC defense, and some questionable offensive play-calling.

 Are you down with OD....D?

This was the first time all year that I've seen Daniels look confident on his knee. It wasn't evident in his downfield play, mostly because the Texans aren't really isolating him one-on-one yet, but he showed good separation on quite a few plays. The one I want you to look at in particular is where he gets Javier Arenas off balance here off the snap:

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The Texans offense had been sort of struggling without Daniels contributions in the past couple of weeks, although there are certainly other things that could be blamed before TE production, but this was a real relief to see, and with the bye week past us, perhaps Daniels can get back to being a key cog in this offense. It certainly couldn't hurt to have that safety blanket back for Schaub.

Like the protect spells, generally useless.

With how close the competition in training camp was between Caldwell and MIke Brisiel, I don't think anyone really thought that the Texans would be hurting without Brisiel after his MCL tweak. But get to the field, and all of the sudden, the Texans are really missing him out there. Given a diet of stunts by the Kansas City defense, he looked perplexed and confused:

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This one was one that initially was blamed on Chris Myers, but you can see that Caldwell and Arian Foster are there to block these two rushers. The general idea is that the offensive lineman wants the inside guy and the running back wants the outside guy, since the inside rush is more devastating. So Foster goes behind him to get the outside guy and Caldwell lets the inside man get right by him and get the pressure on Schaub.

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Here we have Eric Winston and Caldwell combining to totally muff this play. Caldwell lets his man go free inside and Winston holds so that his man doesn't. 

So here's the surprising thing: The Kansas City defense, which I thought would maul Schaub on pass rush, was almost completely useless. They got a few sacks, but the pressures were few and far between. Want a clue as to why that happened? The Chiefs rushed five or more players on just six snaps in the entire game. All of them came on the last few drives. I don't know why Richard Smith suddenly possessed the body of Romeo Crennel, and I don't know the Kansas City defense's weaknesses as well as I know the Texans', but considering that the Texans offensive line has struggled in pass protection all season, this seemed like an enormous mistake to me. 

More like Rick Dennys-On.

I thought Rick Dennison had an interesting day, and was successful in general but with a few dull spots. I was happy with the lack of bootlegs (the Chiefs sniffed out the lone attempt at it) and I thought the lack of screens was at least excusable given how little actual rushing the Chiefs did. The play-action game seemed to be back on track, probably partly due to the absence of the bootlegs; gains of 44, 19, and 12 were pretty great. Both sacks did come on PAs, but it looks like the PA game is at least on the right track.

On the other hand, why on earth are you calling two running plays on second and twenty, and then third and twenty, in a tie game and inside your own twenty? They were barely getting pass pressure, so even if they were going into a huge deep zone, you were sure to find passing lanes underneath. Even if you don't get the first down, you at least get more field on your side for the punt. Instead, the Texans fell on their own sword to try to run clock, which is an excellent idea because we all know the defense really plays well up against the clock as time is winding down.

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