Friday Flicks: Hard-Hitting NFL Tackles
Hard-hitting tackles are not only hard to come by, but they’re also extremely rare. But if there’s one player who fits that description, it’s Kansas City Chiefs’ defensive end Justin Houston. In fact, Houston has been named the NFL’s “Toughest Lineman” four times since 2006.
Houston has played through injuries, including two surgeries on his left knee (one in 2011 and another last year). And yet, he still manages to play at a high level. He was named first team All Pro twice during his eight-year career with the Texans and finished second all time among defensive ends in sacks with 61.5.
In addition to being a dominant pass rusher, Houston is also a leader on defense. He leads the league in tackles for loss with 16.5 per game and ranks third in quarterback hits with 53.5. His leadership skills have helped him earn Super Bowl rings with the Chiefs and Broncos, respectively.
But what makes Houston so special? What sets him apart from other players? Why does he deserve to be called the toughest lineman in football?
It’s because of his style of play. Most defensive ends in the NFL rely on speed and finesse to be successful, while Houston has an aggressive approach to the game. It’s not unusual to see him slugging it out with opposing offensive linemen. He has the strength to take on — and beat up — much larger players.
Looking at his style of play, it’s obvious that he’s a throwback to an earlier era when football was a more physical game. His game is reminiscent of another great defensive end and former Chiefs player, Neil Smith. He resembles a boxer in the ring as he throws jabs and hooks with reckless abandon.
In an era where sacks come at a premium, Houston thrives in bringing down opposing quarterbacks. Quarterbacks are constantly on alert when #50 is charging their way. From Peyton Manning to Russell Wilson to Matt Ryan, no one is safe from his onslaught.
Defensive coordinators also have to account for him on every play. They can’t just focus all their attention on another one of Kansas City’s great players, Justin Houston makes everyone around him better.
This Friday Night, the Chiefs will take on the Broncos in an AFC West battle. It’s a game that pits Houston against one of the league’s best offensive lines. It will be a classic clash of strength vs. strength.
Will speed and finesse triumph over power? Or will Houston continue to prove that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard?
Whatever the outcome, one thing is certain. It’s going to be a great game!
Chiefs vs. Broncos: A Battle of Strength vs. Strength
“We’re ready for them, man. We’re ready.”
“That’s what I like to hear.”
Welcome to the latest edition of the Battle of Strength vs. Strength! In this series, we’ll examine two key aspects of a matchup that will determine the outcome of the game. In previous articles, we took a look at the battle between the Carolina Panthers’ top-ranked scoring offense and the Seattle Seahawks’ top-ranked scoring defense. The result: a close victory for Seattle.
This week, we examine the showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs’ top-ranked scoring offense (and top-ranked overall offense) and the Denver Broncos’ top-ranked scoring defense. The game could very well hinge on which team’s strength controls the outcome.
The current line favors the Chiefs by 3.5 points.
Offensive Attack: Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are coming off an upset win over the New England Patriots last weekend. It was the first time in nearly three decades that a team won a game in the regular season after entering the matchup as an 18-point underdog. The last time it occurred was in 1988 when the Washington Redskins beat the Denver Broncos as 18-point underdogs.
Kansas City’s win over New England wasn’t just a big deal for the Chiefs, but for the entire NFL. With the win, the Chiefs likely secured themselves a playoff spot and put the AFC’s No. 1 seed — and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs — out of reach for the Patriots.
Now, all that’s left to be determined is if the Chiefs will snag a first-round bye in the playoffs. A win over the Broncos combined with a loss by the Houston Texans (at the Colts) would lock up that second consecutive playoff bye for Kansas City.
The Chiefs’ success begins with their offensive juggernaut. They are first in the league in scoring (29.2 points per game), total yards (423.9), passing yards (315.3), and passing touchdowns (28).
The explosive attack is anchored by MVP candidate quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who is having one of the greatest seasons an NFL quarterback has ever had.
No matter how you cut it, Mahomes’ 2018 resume is impressive. He has 4,717 passing yards and 50 touchdowns, both of which are the most in a single season in NFL history. His 113.8 passer rating is the third-best mark in league history and he’s on pace to break the single-season touchdown record (55).
His 50 touchdowns have come off just 325 pass attempts. That means he’s averaging over 1.7 touchdowns per game. Quarterbacks don’t typically average over one touchdown per game, let alone over two per game.
He’s on pace to shatter records and it’s not just the ones he already owns. The Chiefs are winning games by an average of 18.2 points this season. That means opposing teams are having to play catch-up. More often than not, that means passing the ball a lot.
Sources & references used in this article:
i D ance C oncert O ffered I n DAC’SF estive W eekend by DAC CASINO-NITE, F NIGHT – services.library.drexel.edu
The avler tillS by JIM ARANDA – 1967 – core.ac.uk
Hell with the Lid Off: Inside the Fierce Rivalry Between the 1970s Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers by E Gruver, J Campbell – 2019 – books.google.com