The Kansas City Chiefs are headed back to the AFC title game, and because of the Tennessee Titans’ 28-12 Saturday night victory over the Baltimore Ravens, they will also host the game for the second straight year.
How they arrived there was incredible to watch.
Championship-caliber teams find ways to win games even when they make mistakes — and the Chiefs really couldn’t have made more mistakes than they did in the first quarter against the Texans.
A blatant blown coverage by Charvarius Ward, a blocked punt that went for a score and a Tyreek Hill muffed punt had the Chiefs down 21 points in the blink of an eye. But then the game completely changed on two downright baffling coaching decisions made by Texans head coach Bill O’Brien.
The Texans had the ball, up 21, at the Kansas City 13-yard line facing fourth-and-1. O’Brien initially chose to go for it, but Deshaun Watson couldn’t get the play off, so the Texans called a timeout. Rather than going for it, they opted for a field goal, which kept the lead at three possessions.
Mecole Hardman woke the Chiefs up with a 58-yard return, and Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs scored in two plays. On the next possession — up 17 points — O’Brien signed off on a fake punt, which failed when Daniel Sorensen tackled the runner in the open field.
Then the Chiefs scored in four plays. Blink.
24-14. Blink again.
The Chiefs went on to score 41 unanswered points in 20:16 of game time.
Patrick Mahomes had five touchdowns, and after an early blunder, Travis Kelce had the big-game effort we’ve been waiting to see for a long, long time. Damien Williams scored three touchdowns — just as he did in last’s season’s AFC title game.
For the first time all year, the Chiefs offense reminded me of the offense we saw for the first 11 weeks of last season. And that reminder could not have come at a better possible time...
Two wins away from a Super Bowl championship.