When elite young NFL players are about to hit free agency, they generally don't have to worry about whether their current team will pay their asking price. Someone always will. I imagine Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston has no worries then, as he is on pace for a career year as a pass rusher heading into free agency this off-season. I kind of understand why the Chiefs were slow to try to get a contract done with him, especially after drafting Dee Ford in the second round this spring. Still, each time Houston puts a quarterback on the ground this season I imagine his price tag inching up ever so slightly.
That price tag would have moved at least three times on Sunday as Houston pretty much embarrassed Rams right tackle Joe Barksdale en route to three sacks of quarterback Austin Davis on the day. I know the final score was a lot to a little, but believe it or not this game was pretty close at halftime. The Chiefs definitely needed Houston's big day to help bury the Rams for good.
Houston's first sack came on a third-and-9 play in the first quarter with the Rams up 7-0. The Rams were backed up inside their own 15-yard line and they needed to make at least one first down so they wouldn't give up so much field position on a punt. Houston had other ideas, however, as he raced around Barksdale with a speed rush and ran down a scrambling Davis from behind before he could try to get a pass off.
The Rams' punt ended up going out of bounds at the 50-yard line and the Chiefs scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive. That's what I call an impactful play.
Oh, I should have pointed out that Houston almost had four sacks. Around the middle of the second quarter the Rams recovered a fumble at the Chiefs' 7-yard line. After two short runs on first and second down, the Rams faced a third-and-goal from the 6-yard line with the score tied at seven apiece. At the very least they were probably assured a field goal as long as disaster didn't strike. Well disaster did strike, and its name was Justin Houston.
Houston ran up to Barksdale and gave him a stutter/inside club move that literally knocked him on his ass. Houston went inside of on-his-ass-Barksdale and flushed Davis out to his right. By that time the posse was coming. Chiefs safety Ron Parker came screaming from the outside like a bat out of hell and made Davis change directions. Houston, who had fallen, was back up giving chase as he and Parker got to a falling Davis at almost exactly the same time. Parker touched him just before Houston so he got credit for the sack, but I think if you saw that play you know who deserves most of the credit.
Oh, and Davis lost 14 yards on that sack and Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein missed the 38-yard field goal attempt. Like I said, impactful!
Houston was actually credited for his second sack with a little over two minutes left in the third quarter. The Chiefs were attempting to pull away and had a 13-point lead, 20-7. On second and 10 from the Rams' 35-yard line Houston once again gave Barksdale a quick stutter step and went inside. Barksdale didn't fall on his ass again, but Houston did come home with the sack that time. The Rams threw an incompletion on the next play facing third-and-16 and ended up punting.
Guess what the Chiefs did on the ensuing possession. No for real, go ahead and guess.
Yep, they scored another touchdown to go up 27-7 and pretty much put the game to bed.
Now, Houston still wasn't done though. With the Rams facing a third-and-1 on what was going to be their last real possession of the game with only 3:15 left in regulation, they decided to try to take a shot deep. Houston didn't appreciate that, so he gave Barksdale a bull rush to an inside move to sack Davis again for the third and final time that day. Yeah, the score was already 34-7 but that's what I call closing out the show!
Houston now has 10 sacks in seven games this season. That's just one sack off his career high of 11, which he accomplished last year in 11 games.
I don't know how much money Houston will have thrown at him this offseason, but for now I shall award him with something worth more than all the gold in Fort Knox, my Hoss Of The Week award for his efforts against the Rams.