Kansas City, Mo. There’s nothing like playing the first preseason game in a driving rain to cause a lot of slipping and sliding and missed assignments.
There was plenty of that on both sides, but less by the Houston Texans, who beat Kansas City, 16-10, Saturday night in a pounding rain.
“It was a very sloppy night weather-wise, and whoever plays the best defense and whoever doesn’t put it on the ground usually finds a way to win in this league,” said Houston coach Gary Kubiak. “I was glad we did, but we paid a price. We have some guys banged up, and that usually happens when you get out there in a mess like that.”
Reserve quarterback Rex Grossman had to leave in the fourth quarter due to a hamstring injury.
“It looks like he has a pretty good hamstring,” Kubiak said. “The first play when he went in he booted and said he felt his hamstring pull or pop, or whatever. So we’ll have to wait and see.”
Chris Brown scored Houston’s only touchdown of the soggy night on a two-yard run in the first quarter, capping a 94-yard drive behind Matt Schaub. Kris Brown added three field goals as the Texans spoiled Todd Haley’s first game as head coach of the Chiefs.
“It felt good to finally hit somebody else for a change and not worry about hurting anybody else,” said Houston’s Ryan Moats, who had 10 rushes for 52 yards.
Schaub was 7-of-7 for 70 yards and looked impressive in a 94-yard touchdown drive that was aided by a penalty against Kansas City.
“We ran the ball effectively down in the red zone, and we were able to finish that drive 95 yards for a touchdown,” Schaub said. “That’s the way you want to finish off your day.”
In spite of the loss, Haley admitted it was a night he’ll never forget. Since being hired about six months ago, he made a point of not setting foot in Arrowhead Stadium until the preseason began.
“It’s your first game as head coach, and I know it’s just preseason, but it was an exciting, exciting moment for me,” Haley said. “If you tell me the first real one’s a win, I’ll take this loss any day of the week. It’s a special feeling when it’s your team and a lot of responsibility comes with that, and I didn’t live up to my end of that. That’s the part that’s got to change.”
Matt Cassel, acquired in a winter trade with New England and locked up with a six-year, $63 million contract, played only three series and had spotty success in his first appearance before Chiefs fans. He tried five passes and completed two for 15 yards and was not nearly as productive as backup Brodie Croyle.
The Texans led 13-0 at halftime and 13-3 deep into the fourth quarter until Tyler Thigpen, the third Chiefs quarterback, hit Brad Cottam with a one-yard TD pass.
Croyle, who lost the starting job last year when he kept getting hurt, was 12-of-18 for 145 yards. Also with some impressive throws was Schaub’s backup, Dan Orlovsky, who was 9-of-20 for 121 yards.
Having a good night on defense for the Texans was 338-pound tackle Frank Okam, who batted down two passes.
Nobody in a Chiefs uniform had a better game than Dwayne Bowe, and perhaps nobody needed one more.
Bowe, who has spent much of training camp in Haley’s doghouse, did not come into the game until Croyle replaced Cassel with about 51⁄2 minutes left in the half, and immediately caught a 14-yard pass. He wound up with a team-high five catches for 70 yards.
“Really, the last two days of training camp, anybody who was up there saw he’s definitely started to show up,” Haley said. “And in this game, I definitely thought he showed up. That to me was a definite positive in the game.”
Chiefs fans shivering in the cold rain had only one thing to cheer in the first half, when rookie kicker Ryan Succop nailed a 48-yard field goal. Croyle hit Bowe for 14 yards and Rodney Wright for 12 to set up the last man taken in this year’s NFL Draft.
Croyle had the Chiefs on the move again when Dantrell Savage fumbled after a long gain. Jesse Nading recovered for Houston on the Kansas City 37.