Scott Pioli was hoping Justin Houston would break through. He got his wish as the season wore on. The Kansas City Chiefs GM knew that Tamba Hali would get held and the Chiefs lacked another pass rusher on the opposite side that made offensive linemen take notice. Andy Studebaker held up fine for a year, but he was never going to complement Hali enough to free him up. So Pioli did what many front offices are now wishing they would have done and took the Georgia linebacker/defensive end who had some character concerns.
In the end, the Chiefs are the ones laughing as Houston came alive in the season's second half to become one of the most impressive aspects of a defense that was celebrated all season. Even among a unit that includes playmakers like Brandon Flowers, Brandon Carr, Hali and Derrick Johnson, Houston truly stood out in the second half with 5.5 sacks in the team's last five games and showed signs of pressuring the quarterback at many other moments.
Chris Burke loved his play in Sunday's win over the Broncos, "Kansas City’s defensive front has been excellent lately, especially in an upset of the Packers. Sunday, it was linebacker Justin Houston who wreaked the most havoc. He picked up 1.5 sacks of Tebow and recovered a fumble."
The Chiefs have to feel good about their bookend rushers moving forward and Romeo Crennel finally figured out how to get the best out of his linebacking duo. If the Chiefs are able to move forward with some continuity and a full off-season, Houston could truly break through to a whole other level next season.