HOUSTON — Kansas City’s defense forced Houston into some early mistakes, and Alex Smith capitalized on enough of them to give the Chiefs a win.
Smith threw for 243 yards and three touchdowns in the first half as the Chiefs built a big lead and held on for a win over the mistake-prone Texans on Sunday.
“It’s tough to turn the ball over a couple of times and win the game,” Kansas City coach Andy Reid said. “With that we were able to score points … and get up fairly quickly and decisively.”
Travis Kelce caught two touchdown passes in the first quarter, the first one coming after Kansas City intercepted Brian Hoyer’s first pass as a Texan.
The Chiefs were up by 14 in the second quarter when Justin Houston sacked Hoyer, forcing a fumble. Kansas City recovered it and a 7-yard touchdown reception by Jamaal Charles pushed the lead to 27-6.
“We got the couple of turnovers in the red zone and were able to capitalize and I think in the end that was the difference,” Smith said.
Hoyer struggled in his debut before Ryan Mallett took over with about six minutes left and led Houston on two scoring drives to cut the lead to a touchdown.
“I feel terrible,” Hoyer said. “I feel like I let this entire organization down. I mean, it just went from bad to worse.”
Coach Bill O’Brien was asked if Hoyer would start next week.
“I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll review the film, and we will find out once we get into next week.”
J.J. Watt had two sacks, nine tackles and tied a career high with six tackles for losses. Jadeveon Clowney, last year’s top overall pick, had four tackles, with one for a loss, in his first game since microfracture surgery in December.
Broncos 19, Ravens 13 — The debut of Peyton Manning’s new mashup offense was a dud. Not so about Denver’s dazzling defense, which came up huge a win over Baltimore.
Former Ravens safety Darian Stewart, who followed Gary Kubiak from Baltimore to Denver over the winter, snatched the ball from tight end Crockett Gillmore in the end zone with 28 seconds left to seal the win for the four-time defending AFC West champs.
Joe Flacco drove the Ravens to the Denver 16 in the final minute. One play before Stewart’s interception, cornerback Brady Roby got a hand in Steve Smith Sr.’s face and a would-be touchdown catch bounded away from the veteran receiver. Neither offense found the end zone.
Chargers 33, Lions 28 — This is why the San Diego Chargers gave Philip Rivers an $84 million contract extension during training camp. Rivers rallied San Diego to 30 straight points, including throwing a go-ahead, 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ladarius Green early in the fourth quarter, and the Chargers stunned Detroit in what could be their final home opener at Qualcomm Stadium.
Rivers overcame two interceptions, including a 31-yard return for a touchdown by Glover Quin, to complete 35 of 42 passes for 404 yards and two scores.