The Houston Texans looked impressive in their Week 1 victory over the Chicago Bears.
Despite a rough start that saw Brock Osweilerâ€™s first pass get picked off, the Texans put together a great performance on both sides of the ball. Osweiler ended up tossing two touchdowns and didnâ€™t throw another interception, while running back Lamar Miller and rookie receiver Will Fuller had stellar debuts.
But the key match-up in Houstonâ€™sÂ second game of the season wonâ€™t be what theÂ offense can do; it will be about who the defense can stop.
The Texans take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2. If Houston wants to exact revenge on the Chiefs after an embarrassing 30-0 loss to them in the playoffs, the team needs to focus on stopping one man: Spencer Ware.
Kansas Cityâ€™s versatile running back proved to be just the type of explosive player the Chiefs have needed on offense in their Week 1 victory over San Diego. The third year back ran the ball 11 times for 70 yards and a score and led both teams in receiving with seven catches for 129 yards. That comes out to an astounding 11.1 yards per touch.
If Houston wants to redeem itself against the Chiefs, it has to limit Wareâ€™s damage. And fortunately for the Texans, their defense is up to the task.
Although Chicago doesnâ€™t have a running back as dangerous as Ware is for Kansas City, the Texans were able to limit the damage the Bearsâ€™ run game could do. Jeremy Langford managed a touchdown, but otherwise he and the rest of Chicagoâ€™s running attack wasÂ inefficient. Langford managed just 57 yards on 17 carries and the Bears as a team ran for just 73 yards on 20 attempts. Langford caught just two passes for six yards as well.
Langford is no Ware, however. The Texans will have a much different task on hand this Sunday.
Ware is a big play threat. Langford is the kind of back who doesnâ€™t average much on yards per carry but can still score in the red zone and can catch the ball occasionally. Ware, however, can pick up yards in chunks and is dangerous no matter where the offense is on the field.
At 5-foot-10, 229 pounds, heÂ has the size to lower the shoulder and break some tackles, but he also has the speed and athleticism to evade defenders as well. Ware had the longest play of the San Diego-Kansas City game with a 45-yard reception. Even in more limited action last season, heÂ showed off his big play ability and ripped off runs of 52, 35, and 20 yards in three separate games.
In fact, the Texans were burned by Ware in the first round of the playoffs last year. HeÂ carried the ball 16 times for 67 yards and a score against Houston in Kansas Cityâ€™s 30-0 triumph. The Texans couldnâ€™t stop him then, but they better hope they can in this game.
The Chiefsâ€™ success on offense this season will largely depend on how big of an impact Ware has. Jeremy Maclin and Travis Kelce figure to be the most prominent fixtures in the passing game week-in and week-out, but Ware is a more than capable pass-catching running back, and he was the only back who did anything in the run game against San Diego.
He is the most dynamic player on the Chiefsâ€™ offense.
Houston has a better team than the last time these two played. The Texans are more than capable of getting revenge against Kansas City after their disastrous loss in last seasonâ€™s playoff contest. But in order to do so, they must limit Wareâ€™s damage.