HOUSTON (AP) -- Mario Williams smiled broadly, clutched his
football and breezed into the room.
After a year of carrying the burden of Houston's seemingly
inexplicable decision to draft him, the 6-foot-7 player seemed to
stand a little taller when it was time to talk about Sunday's game.
Last year's top pick finally had his breakout game, returning a
fumble for a touchdown and finishing with five tackles, including
two sacks to help the Houston Texans to a 20-3 win over the Kansas
City Chiefs on Sunday.
"There's so much more," Williams said. "Not just me -- as a
defense. There's a lot of things we did, and a lot we could do
better. Today was just a start. Hopefully, we can keep going that
It was Houston's first win in an opener since 2003 and is the
first time in franchise history the team has won three games in a
row, dating to last year.
The Texans led 10-0 when Jamar Fletcher knocked the ball out of
Kris Wilson's hands and Williams recovered it. The defensive end
got up and rumbled 38 yards for the touchdown. He kept the ball
from that play and held onto it long after the game had ended.
DeMeco Ryans jumped on Williams to congratulate him after the
score. It was a change from last season, when Williams endured
endless criticism in part because the Texans passed on Reggie Bush
and Vince Young to get him. Kansas City challenged the ruling of a
fumble, but the call was upheld.
Asked if a game like this helps take pressure off him, Williams
didn't address it.
"I don't really feel like I'm under any pressure," he said.
"When you look at it, the pressure applied from critics and media
and whatever, I'm always behind anyway. I was drafted No. 1, but I
was never really whoever else you might try to compare me to."
Williams also got a hearty laugh when someone pointed out that
he has more touchdowns than Bush this year.
"I didn't think about that," Williams said. "There you go."
Matt Schaub had a successful, if a bit inconsistent, debut. He
was 16-of-22 for 225 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Both of Williams' sacks came after halftime, the second a 6-yard
loss on second down inside the 20 that forced the Chiefs to settle
for a field goal. Justin Medlock's 27-yarder made it 17-3 in the
Coach Gary Kubiak said the sack "did a lot for the team" and
the coaching staff expected a big game from Williams because he had
his best practice as a Texans player on Thursday.
"This game is about confidence," Kubiak said. "When you're a
player and a couple of good things go your way, you start to get a
lot of confidence. I would expect him to feel really good coming
out of this one moving forward."
Houston's effort was helped by a slew of errors by the Chiefs
offense. Kansas City fumbled three times, losing two of them,
missed a short field goal, and Damon Huard threw two interceptions.
In addition, Chiefs receivers dropped a number of passes.
"You can't turn the ball over four times on the road and expect
to have a chance," coach Herm Edwards said.
Even with Larry Johnson back on the field, the offensive
problems continued after a preseason in which the Chiefs scored
just two touchdowns. Johnson finished with 10 carries for 43 yards.
Huard's first interception came just before halftime when Von
Hutchins drilled Jeff Webb, who tipped the ball to Dunta Robinson.
First-round pick Dwayne Bowe dropped a couple of passes but had a
nifty 25-yard catch that set up Kansas City's only score.
Bowe said he was a bit "jittery" before the game but a
halftime pep talk from Edwards calmed him down. Huard was 22-of-33
for 168 yards.
The Texans' offense wasn't particularly impressive, considering
the interception, a fumble by the normally steady Andre Johnson and
more of the protection problems which have plagued the team. Schaub
was sacked two times and hurried plenty more. He was impressive in
Schaub found Andre Johnson up the middle for a 77-yard touchdown
reception that was the longest of Johnson's career and made it 10-0
midway through the second quarter. Johnson, who had seven catches
for 142 yards, tiptoed out of an arm tackle by a diving Bernard
Pollard and jogged into the end zone.
The backup to Michael Vick for three years in Atlanta, Schaub
also avoided the rush to find rookie Jacoby Jones for a 26 yard
gain in the first quarter. He engineered a nice drive after Medlock
missed a 30-yard field goal attempt in the first quarter, but the
Texans came away empty-handed when Jarrad Page intercepted an
ill-advised throw into the end zone.
Brown added a 28-yarder in the fourth quarter.
Texans 20-year-old rookie Amobi Okoye became the youngest
player to appear in an NFL game since 1967 on Sunday. ... Houston
SS Jason Simmons left the game with a torn left patellar tendon and
is out for the season. ... Texans DE N.D. Kalu cracked bones in his
hand and returned to the game after getting a cast put on it in the
ESPN Browns reporter Pat McManamon explains that perennial Pro Bowl tackle knows the wear and tear on his body; if he needs a day off in OTAs and during the season, Cleveland Browns are wise to give it to him.
DeSean Jackson has missed too many voluntary workouts to collect his $500,000 bonus, but Washington isn't concerned about his absences.
Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck tried his hand at auto racing on Wednesday, doing a few laps with former Indy 500 champion Mario Andretti.
Broncos offensive lineman Ty Sambrailo will get a shot at guard this season, but the coaches know he also has the ability to play tackle.
New York Jets DT Sheldon Richardson is keeping a positive attitude regarding his offseason workouts and possible discipline from the NFL.
ESPN Jets reporter Rich Cimini says that with Ryan Fitzpatrick still unsigned, Geno Smith led the first-team offense and looked sharp on Wednesday and Smith said he sees this as an opportunity.