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Alex Smith's quick work of Texans propels Chiefs

The Chiefs had their way against the Texans on Sunday, carving up Houston's defense in a 27-20 win that wasn't nearly as close as the score. Our takeaways:

  1. Brian Hoyer's first pass of the year: A dreadfully thrown lob that was picked off by first-round cornerback Marcus Peters at the Houston 13. The Texans quarterback struggled mightily before finally -- and unsurprisingly -- giving way to Ryan Mallett in the fourth quarter. Hoyer gave coach Bill O'Brien no choice, overthrowing too many targets and never looking comfortable. His pair of turnovers inside Houston's 15-yard line were inexcusable. That had plenty to do with a Chiefs defensive front that notched five sacks and controlled the line. Mallett, who led two scoring drives in relief, is bound to start in Week 2.
  1. Kansas City's offensive line is far from pristine, but Alex Smith made up for it by employing plenty of quick passes. Smith made wise decisions, threw accurately and showed immense comfort inside an offense he's come to know so well. The veteran signal-caller tossed three touchdowns during a 22-of-33 passing afternoon that saw Smith shred Houston's secondary for 243 yards. He calmly led the Chiefs on five straight scoring drives in the first half. The addition of Jeremy Maclin (5/52) paid immediate dividends, with the former Eagles star getting open downfield unlike any wideout did for this team in 2014.
  1. Travis Kelce notched 862 yards and five touchdowns off just 688 snaps last season. The Chiefs tight end will shatter those numbers in 2015. He was on the receiving end of a 10-yard touchdown strike and raced into the end zone for another 42-yard score -- all in the opening quarter. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound target brings a nasty mix of power and speed, which helped him pile up 106 yards off just six targets. Kelce hurt his abdomen during a violent first-half collision, but returned to the field soon after.
  1. Two years removed from his 70-catch season, Jamaal Charles is a candidate to top that if Kansas City uses him this way every week. The MVP-level running back gashed the Texans for 46 yards off five grabs out of the backfield. Looking comfortable under center, Smith repeatedly found Charles matched up outside against single coverage and floating linebackers. More concerning was Charles totaling just 57 yards rushing on a day that saw Kansas City run for just 3.3 yards per carry.
  1. It's only a matter of time before J.J. Watt makes his mark. Last year's Defensive Player of the Year dropped Smith for two sacks and six tackles for loss. Still, Watt can't save this defense alone. Houston goes into the workweek with plenty of corrections to make after giving up 331 yards and 19 first downs.
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