While Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense stole all the attention for the miraculous 51-31 comeback win, it would not have been possible without key efforts from the defense and special teams. Daniel Sorensen and Frank Clark lead the way for both units, Sorensen with nine total tackles and a big hit on a kickoff to cause a fumble, and Clark with three sacks on Deshaun Watson. The Chiefs would find themselves in a 14-0 hole early in the game but on a big third-down Frank Clark would get home and sack Watson for the first time of the day.
The Chief’s game plan was to keep Watson contained and try to beat him with the coverage downfield for most of the day. Clark was able to get home when he needed to and the Chiefs kept Watson contained most of the day. This took away his ability to make plays with his feet. Although Clark was able to make the nice play a botched punt return by Tyreek Hill would set up a short field for the Texans. The Texans would score but early on we would see how dedicated the Chiefs were to stopping the run.
Sorensen played the QB keeper perfectly and was able to prevent him from getting to the edge and forced him back inside. While it looked bad early this was all cumulating for a dominant showing in the last three-quarters of the game.
Early in the second quarter, the Texans would try to get Hyde going but once again Sorensen was there for the big stop. In the October matchup Hyde had just killed the Chiefs by hitting the backside gaps on zone plays. Here the Chiefs were ready to take those away. Clark penetrates the B gap making a cut there impossible as Sorensen came from a deep safety spot took away the outside lane. Damien Wilson blasted through to prevent a large gain. Houston would settle for a field goal, but also provided the spark KC needed.
KC would come down and score, but on Houston’s ensuing drive they would attempt a fake punt on fourth and four. Sorensen did his job again and was in the right position to make the play. Reid gave some slight movement that appeared to tip-off Sorensen that the play was on its way.
The stop would lead to another KC score and set up yet another massive special teams play ignited by Sorensen.
Sorensen initially fell down, but with a tremendous second effort he was able to get up and while making the tackle he knocked the ball out. The ball was recovered by Darwin Thompson who ran it down close to the goal-line for the Chiefs. At this point, the momentum was fully in KC’s favor and another score would cut the lead down to three points. The Chiefs would score again to take a lead into the half and score on the first possession of the second half. The pressure was now on Watson and the Texans to put points up. On a key third-down and five, Frank Clark would show some of the best efforts of any player all game.
Excellent coverage downfield and a disciplined contain gave Watson nowhere to go as Clark kept battling to get the sack. After several seconds of gameplay, Clark would catch Watson for a loss of two and ultimately forced another Texans’ punt.
The Texans would go on to score one more time but the Chiefs’ electric offense kept growing the lead. On Houston’s final play of the game with the ball, Frank Clark would once again come up big with a sack, closing the door on the Texans for good.
Clark showed a perfect example of a team’s high dollar star power showing up to play in the biggest games but for the Chiefs to finish this thing off right they will continue to need contributions from role guys like Sorensen. Through effort and leadership, Sorensen was able to remain on the roster, and once again when the Chiefs needed him the most he stepped up to make enormous plays.
Clark and Sorensen stole the show but it was a team effort for the Chiefs on this day. In October vs the Texans, the Chiefs didn’t record one sack on Watson all game. This time around the team finished with five. After being gashed by Carlos Hyde in the run game of the previous matchup they held him to a pedestrian 44 yards on 13 carries on this day. They accomplished this without, arguably the Chief’s best defensive player, Chris Jones. With Jones out, Clark was forced to step up to provide the pass rush. Clark looked as healthy as ever and made a huge impact. Once again, Sorensen was ‘Johhny-on-the-spot’, making the two huge special teams plays, as well as being good in run support. All in all the Chiefs had players stepped up all over the field. They overcame adversity and shut down one of the most dynamic gamers in the league in Watson. The unit will continue to be battle-tested with another tall task on the horizon with Derrick Henry and the Tennesee Titans coming to town for a showdown in the AFC Championship Game this Sunday.