(CBS Los Angeles) — The Kansas City Chiefs seemed to continue the 2019 season in Week 1 to 2020. The defending Super Bowl Champions, led by Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, handled a strong Houston Texans team en route to a 34-20 win at home. It was their 10th straight win dating back to the second half of last season.
The Texans jumped out to a 7-0 lead on the notoriously slow-starting Chiefs. But Kansas City soon showed the benefit of continuity in this strange season. With the same coaching and system and similar player personnel in place, finally got going late in the first quarter with beginning of its first scoring drive. They would go on to score 31 unanswered points. By the time Houston scored again in the fourth quarter, the game was already well out of reach.
Mahomes finished off the evening going an efficient 24-32 for 211 yards and three touchdowns. Sammy Watkins hauled in one of them; Travis Kelce added another. Rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire, a new addition who seems to have improved the running game, piled up 138 yards on his 25 attempts and added a touchdown of his own. The offense hummed right along, as if a preseason was completely unnecessary.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs defense limited Deshaun Watson and the Texans high-powered offense for much of the game. While Watson ultimately threw for a respectable 253 yards, much of that came after the game was essentially over. The Kansas City defense seemed a little vulnerable against the run. Running back David Johnson, hoping to jump start his career in Houston, looked sharp. He ran for 77 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries and added three catches for 32 yards.
Kansas City will now turn their attention to Los Angeles, where they’ll face a Chargers team this Sunday that doesn’t present quite the offensive punch of their previous opponent. The Chargers slipped by the Cincinnati Bengals, 16-13, in their opener. It’s hard to put much stock in the win, however. The Bengals won two games last season and kept rookie quarterback Joe Burrow on a tight leash, and the Chargers still needed to come back in the fourth quarter.
There were some positives, however. The running game was productive, with Austin Ekeler picking up 83 yards on 19 carries, and Joshua Kelley adding 60 more on his 12 carries. The defense also turned in a strong performance against the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner, sacking him three times, hitting him four times and forcing an interception on a scramble.
Tyrod Taylor, who took over for the departed Philip Rivers, was his usual pedestrian self, avoiding mistakes but also missing out on big plays. The Chargers quarterback threw for just 208 yards on 16-30 passing.
That sort of performance from Taylor won’t be enough for the Chargers to keep pace with Mahomes and the Chiefs. They’ll need the running game and defense to defense to step up as well. The Texans showed in Week 1 that the Chiefs run defense is still susceptible. The Chargers D showed last season that they can play the Chiefs tough. In both their matchups last season combined, Mahomes completed just 35 of 57 passes for 356 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions. If the Chargers offense can control the clock and limit Mahomes’ opportunities, and Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram can contain him somewhat with the pass rush when he is on the field, the Chargers might just have a chance. Not a big chance, but a chance.
The Chiefs are currently favored by 8.5 points, and they’ve enjoyed a few extra days of rest since their opener last Thursday. But the Chargers will be playing their first game in the new SoFi Stadium, and they played the Chiefs tough in their last two meetings.
Still, “how can you go against the Chiefs, asks CBS Denver sports anchor Michael Spencer. “Their offense seemed to pick up right where it left off after the Super Bowl. And I think they maybe got even better with the addition of Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The Chiefs are every bit as dominant as they were last year at least they were in Week 1.”
The Chiefs play the Chargers Sunday, September 20 @ 4:25 pm ET on CBS.