Houston’s top-rated defense had Arrowhead Stadium’s crowd on the edge of their seats. The Chiefs were clinging to a one-point lead when their defense stole the show. Tamba Hali placed his hat on a case (Texans quarterback Case Keenum) and a ball surprisingly popped out. Fellow Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson picked it up, displayed it to onlookers and Houston’s chances at winning the game vanished. The venue erupted in awe.
The game had been promoted as a defensive spectacle and lived up to its billing. I, however, was mystified by some statistics involving the headlining performers. The numbers were an illusion of their own.
Kansas City’s defense was, and still is, ranked fifth in the NFL. That is a deceptive assessment. Prior to the game, they had given up 306.3 yards per game, 53.5 more yards than the amazing Texans. If the stat were based on points per game, the Chiefs would’ve been the obvious league leader. They had only relented 65 points in six games, for an average of 10.8 per game.
In contrast, Houston had given up 177 points this year, averaging 29.5 per game. Points are what win games, right? The Texans defense had allowed 112 more points than Kansas City’s but were touted as the best? I was bewildered.
The Texans are still viewed as the best defensive team in the league after giving up 357 yards to the Chiefs’ 294 this weekend. That’s a difference of 63 yards, I thought. Kansas City had only trailed them by 53.5 … I was mesmerized.
I had been duped. The NFL ranks defenses based on “average” number of yards allowed per game I realized, not total yards. Pretty slick sleight of hand.
The Chiefs defense has now allowed 36.9 more yards per game (on average) than Houston. They’re also 7-0, the Texans are 2-5. No good magician would expose his secrets, so I’m going to quit asking questions about my disillusionment.
What I know is Kansas City pulled a 17-16 win over another Texas team out of their bag of tricks on Sunday. It was the second time fans had seen it, déjà vu of their September 15 win over the Dallas Cowboys by the same score.
It may be the same old trick, but Chiefs fans will never tire of it. Next showing is at noon on October 27 against the Cleveland Browns. Ask former Cleveland linebacker Dwayne Rudd what kind of magic Kansas City can pull out of a hat…
Troy Alan is a Kansas City Chiefs writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TRantMedia.