On Sunday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs came back from 24 points down to score 51 points in a little over 30 minutes to defeat the Houston Texans in the Divisional round, booking their place in the AFC Championship Game.
This was a game no one will forget in a hurry.
It couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start. A blown coverage gave Deshaun Watson a layup 54-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive, when he hit Kenny Stills for the walk-in score. You won’t see an easier 50-plus yard score in your life.
How would the Chiefs offense react? Poorly.
A false start penalty was followed by a crucial third-down drop by Travis Kelce, whose eyes were caught looking downfield before securing the catch. So Dustin Colquitt and crew came on — and in true Chiefs playoffs fashion, nothing is ever simple. Barkevious Mingo split the line and got a hand on Colquitt’s punt. The ball bounced kindly for Lonnie Johnson allowing him to return the ball for six. The heavily-favored Chiefs found themselves down 14-0 down in just five minutes.
The Chiefs next drive ended early when Demarcus Robinson became the next to look downfield without securing the ball.
The Texans’ third drive felt huge — and the Chiefs defense held up. A Frank Clark sack forced a Texans punt. No more special teams blunders, right? Wrong. Tyreek Hill muffed the punt, the Texans recovered — and two plays later, it was 21-0.
The second quarter opened with the Texans deep in Chiefs territory. A touchdown would surely spell the end for Kansas City. On fourth-and-1, Bill O’Brien thought about leaving the offense out there, but elected to kick for the three points. The Texans led 24-0.
A momentum swinger was required — and it came in the form of a Mecole Hardman kick return all the way to the Texans’ 42-yard line. Two plays later, Mahomes found Damien Williams on a wheel route for a 17 yard score.
After not going for it on fourth down the last time out, O’Brien called a fake punt on fourth-and-3 — only to be stuffed by Dirty Dan — Daniel Sorensen. The Chiefs offense would once again start a drive in the Texans’ half of the field — and it ended with Mahomes hitting Kelce in the end zone. Two Kansas City scores in 1:53.
The Chiefs special teams redemption continued on the next play, when Sorensen forced fumble on the kickoff return, popping the ball into the grateful waiting arms of Darwin Thompson. A few plays later, Mahomes would find Kelce for six with the throw across his body. 24-21 Texans.
Given how the game started, the Kingdom would certainly have taken that — but the Chiefs weren’t finished. Backed up to their own 10-yard line, Mahomes worked his magic once more, marching the Chiefs down the field and capping off the drive with a toe-drag swag throw to Kelce at the front of the end zone.
Somehow, the Chiefs were winning the game — but it was just Patrick Mahomes reminding the league that he is the best quarterback in the world.
The Chiefs received the opening kickoff with a chance to extend their lead — and that they did. With the Texans caught in man coverage and their backs to Mahomes, the Chiefs quarterback caused damage with his legs. The drive would end with Damien Williams in the end zone. 34-24 Chiefs.
A three-and-out from the Texans would put Mahomes back on the field. The Chiefs had scored touchdowns on five consecutive drives. That quickly became six when Damien Williams found the end zone for the third time. 41-24.
The Texans were now down 17 — and in a hurry. On a drive where the Chiefs had the Texans at second-and-24, the Chiefs defense inexcusably gave up a huge conversion to Will Fuller. That drive would be capped with Watson scrambling for a touchdown.
The Texans required a stop to stand a chance. It didn’t come.
First, Mahomes found Watkins on a free play to set up the Chiefs with a first-and-goal. A play later, Mahomes threw his fifth touchdown pass to Blake Bell. Yes... Blake Bell.
Now everyone was getting involved.
Houston would then turn the ball over on downs — and then the Chiefs running game came out. An outside run from Damien Williams would put the Chiefs in favourable position — but this time the Chiefs would have to settle for three points, ending the streak of consecutive touchdown drives at seven.
With the game seemingly over, the Texans would again turn the ball over on downs. The classic fourth quarter offense came out; for the Chiefs, the game became about chewing the clock and protecting the lead. And that they did.
After a disastrous start to the game, the Chiefs offense found their 2018 form, scoring 51 points in a little over half an hour in game time. When playing like this the Chiefs are formidable opponent for any team. Now the Chiefs welcome the Titans to town with a spot in the Super Bowl on the line.
Mahomes ➡️ Kelce part 2 pic.twitter.com/unbBNSuxVz— Arrowhead Pride (@ArrowheadPride) January 12, 2020
Stats of note
- The 21 points the Texans scored in the first quarter was the most in franchise history.
- Patrick Mahomes became the 2nd player in NFL postseason history with 4 passing touchdowns in a single season, joining Doug Williams in Super Bowl XXII.
- Running back Damien Williams’ third career postseason rushing touchdown tied the franchise record for most career postseason rushing touchdowns. His fourth set a new record.
- Travis Kelce had eight receptions for 83 yards and three touchdowns — just in the first half.
- Through the first three quarters, Patrick Mahomes led the team in rushing yards with 56 .
- The Chiefs’ seven-straight touchdown drives was a postseason record.
- The Chiefs ran the ball just five times in the first half.