KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs remained unbeaten, but there was nothing easy about their 17-16 victory over the Houston Texans on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
Coach Andy Reid's Kansas City team turned in an uncharacteristically ragged performance. The Chiefs' offense turned the ball over twice, and the defense gave up big plays at every turn. However, with the help of the home crowd and some late pass-rush pressure from outside linebacker Tamba Hali, they were able to push their record to 7-0.
The Texans (2-5) lost their fifth and in a row, but they did not go down without a fight. Despite being hamstrung by injuries and starting a quarterback, Case Keenum, who was seeing his first regular-season NFL action, they hung with the Chiefs until the end.
The Texans lost running back Arian Foster in the first quarter with a hamstring injury. In the third quarter, linebacker Brian Cushing left with a left knee injury. Starting quarterback Matt Schaub was inactive for the game because of a leg injury.
Running back Ben Tate went out for a time with an unspecified injury, leaving the Texans with only fullback Greg Jones in the backfield. Tate eventually returned, and that was crucial because Houston coach Gary Kubiak was trying to protect his inexperienced quarterback.
Keenum did not display any jitters filling in for Schaub. He ended up completing 15 of 25 passes for 271 yards and a touchdown, and he was careful with the ball all day. His only turnover was a fumble at the end of a sack from Hali, who finished with 2.5 sacks on the day.
Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles had 86 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith went 23-for-34 for 240 yards with one interception. He also ran for a score.
Houston got great field position early in the third quarter when Charles fumbled the ball and the Texans recovered at the Chiefs 28-yard line. Keenum connected with tight end Garrett Graham for 27 yards to the 1-yard line. However, an unsuccessful sneak by Keenum, a Greg Jones run and an incomplete pass to Hopkins in the end zone brought Bulluck out for a 21-yard field goal, and the Texans trailed just 14-13.
The teams traded field goals later in the third quarter, as Ryan Succop hit from 22 yards for Kansas City and Bulluck was good from 47 yards for Houston. Neither team scored in the fourth quarter.
Behind Keenum, Houston controlled the first-half tempo. On their first possession, the Texans kept the ball for 4:55 and 10 plays before settling for a 48-yard field goal by Randy Bullock.
Kansas City answered with an 82-yard, 11-play drive, and Charles scored on a 1-yard run. Big plays in the possession included a third-down pass for 21 yards to wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and a 15-yard roughing-the-passer call on Houston defensive end Jared Crick. The PAT kick put the Chiefs up 7-3.
The Texans came back with another scoring drive, as Keenum threw his first NFL touchdown pass on the first play of the second quarter. Rookie wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins beat Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith down the left side and was open in the end zone for a 29-yard score. Houston led 10-7.
A sputtering Chiefs offense finally put together a strong possession, as Smith led them 97 yards in 15 plays before he scored on a 5-yard run on third-and-goal in the last minute of the half. The Chiefs led 14-10 at halftime.
NOTES: Foster went out after his fourth carry on the Texans' first possession. He finished with 11 yards, as he did not step on the field again. ... The Chiefs' 97-yard scoring drive was their longest of the season. ... Keenum's last start was Jan. 2, 2012, in the Ticket City Bowl in Dallas, where his University of Houston team beat Penn State 30-14. He threw for 532 yards and three touchdowns.