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The light has come on for Justin Houston


Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston didn’t record his first NFL sack until Week 13 of last season.

He must have liked the way it felt, because Houston’s been bingeing on sacks since then. In the last five games of his rookie season and the first three of this season, Houston has picked up a total of 9.5 sacks. That leaves the 2011 third-round pick tied with Vikings defensive end Jared Allen and Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware for the most in football over that time period.

That’s pretty lofty company for a third-round pick in his second year. It looks like the character concerns that helped Houston slip in the draft have turned into a blessing in disguise for Kansas City.

It bodes well for Houston’s future as well as the Chiefs pass rush since Tamba Hali is lined up on the other side. Houston acknowledged that Hali draws some extra attention from offenses, but the more performances that Houston has like the one he put together in New Orleans last week -- three sacks, including a safety -- the harder it will be for opposing teams to pick their poison when trying to slow the Chiefs defense. Saints tackle Zach Strief asked to be blamed for the team’s loss following that game because of how dominant Houston was over the course of the afternoon.

“The speed of the game has slowed down,” Houston said, via the Associated Press. “I feel like I’m doing my job. They brought me in here to put pressure on the quarterback.”

That’s just what Houston’s been doing and the Chiefs’ chances of erasing an 0-2 start are all the better as long as he keeps on doing it.