Is it possible that most Kansas City Chiefs fans go into every game expecting it to be a thriller until the very end? On Sunday, the team needed to go into overtime to defeat the lowly Houston Texans, who came into the game with just one win on the season.
But it was nine-year veteran running back Jerick McKinnon who saved the day with his game-winning touchdown to seal a 30-24 victory — which came on the second play after the Chiefs had ended their first overtime drive by punting the ball back to the Texans.
“It happened so fast,” McKinnon told reporters after the game in Houston. “We were just trying to get our thoughts together [from] the previous drive. We were just thankful for the opportunity — because in that specific situation, as offensive leaders, you definitely want to go down and score.”
But on the Texans’ first offensive play, Kansas City defensive end Frank Clark forced a fumble by Houston quarterback Davis Mills.
“So it was a big play by Frank to give us a chance to win the game,” recalled McKinnon. “Then we got the ball back. Everybody was just like, ‘We need to score!’”
And on the Chiefs’ first play after the turnover, they did. McKinnon ran for a 26-yard touchdown, giving him 122 total yards and two scores on the day — after collecting 134 yards an two touchdowns just a week ago.
“It was great blocking,” he said of the game’s last snap. “I didn’t even get touched on the play. They made it easy for me. So shout-outs to everybody.”
In the huddle, quarterback Patrick Mahomes had a final word for McKinnon — and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was ready to lead the way.
“Pat, he looked at me and said, ‘Two hands on the ball. Let’s go!’ I said, ‘I’m about to score.’ JuJu looked at me. He said, ‘I got your block, bro. Find me when you get out there.’
“It worked out exactly like that. I made it to the second level — and I literally ran off of JuJu’s block and was able to score. It’s just crazy it worked out like that, man. It’s crazy.”
At the end of regulation, the Chiefs had played for a field goal to win the game — but placekicker Harrison Butker missed his 51-yard attempt. So when the Chiefs got the ball back at the Houston 26-yard line, the Texans were expecting the same approach.
“They brought everybody up in the line of scrimmage to stop the run.” explained Mahomes. “The offensive line washed them down. Then Jet [McKinnon] hit the right spot and showed off [the] speed that he’s still got. He’s getting a little old, but he’s got a little bit of speed left. [He] got it in the end zone.
“It was just execution by everybody. Everybody did their job. When we do that, we’re hard to stop.”