Houston Texans 31-51 Kansas City Chiefs: Chiefs book spot in AFC Championship game after wild comeback
24-0 down? No problem. Mahomes marshalls seven straight touchdown drives in comeback win. Photo: Jeff Roberson - Associated Press

After a shaky start with various miscues early in the game the Kansas City Chiefs found themselves 24-0 down early in the second quarter against the Houston Texans. Unbelievably just over 10 minutes later at the half-time break the Chiefs found themselves 28-24 in front. 

The Chiefs held the Texans to just a touchdown in the second half as they put the final nails in the coffin of the Texans season coming out comfortable 51-31 winners, booking their place in the AFC Championship game against the Tennessee Titans

Rapid start for Houston

Houston have normally started games slow this season, even last week against the Buffalo Bills they left it late to comeback for the win, going 16-0 down early. This time Houston were first out of the blocks, scoring a touchdown on their opening drive. Quarterback Deshaun Watson connected with wide receiver Kenny Stills for a 54-yard TD to go up 7-0 early. 

Huge miscues for the Chiefs 

The Chiefs first drive was a three-and-out which ended with Dustin Colquitt’s punt getting blocked by Barkevious Mingo which Lonnie Johnson recovered and ran in for a TD to put Houston 14-0 up. 

The Chiefs next drive ended quickly with a punt. On both drives the Chiefs receivers made drops on what looked to be easy catches on third down. 

Houston’s next drive ended in a Bryan Anger punt which Tyreek Hill muffed. The Texans recovered at the Chiefs six yard line. Two plays later they were in the end zone again to make it 21-0 thanks to tight end Darren Fells four-yard catch down the middle. 

After another punt by the Chiefs, Houston finished the first quarter with possession and 21-0 up. That drive would end with Houston 24-0 up after a Ka’imi Fairbairn 31-yard field goal with the Texans at fourth and one. 

Chiefs on the march 

The next sequence of events was only the beginning of an almighty comeback for the Chiefs. Could Houston have been braver on fourth down and one and really gone for the jugular instead of kicking the field goal? They might have wished they did after Mecole Hardman returned their kick-off for 58 yards to put the Chiefs in great field position. 

Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes connected with Travis Kelce for 25-yards and on the next play he passed to running back Damien Williams for a 17-yard TD. In just one minute the Chiefs finally breached the scoreboard and all of a sudden the momentum was with the Chiefs even at 24-7 down. 

Houston facing another three-and-out on their next drive found the bravery they lacked on their last drive as setting up in punt formation they faked the punt in a bid to steal back momentum, unfortunately for Houston, Justin Reid on the direct snap could only get two of the four yards needed to gain first down and turned the ball over on downs. 

Just 23 seconds later the Chiefs had another TD. Starting again in great field position, the Chiefs were helped further by a 25-yard pass interference call before Kelce scored a five-yard TD, reducing the deficit to 10 points. 

Houston were dealt a further blow as on the kick-off return DeAndre Carter, tackled by safety Daniel Sorensen lost the ball. This was recovered by Darwin Thompson. Kansas City starting from Houston’s six-yard line scored three plays later with Mahomes connecting with Kelce for his second TD of the day. 

The Chiefs took 3:24 to score three TD’s to cut the deficit to just three points at 24-21. 

After another Texans possession again ending in a punt, this time the Chiefs found themselves with poor field position starting from the 10-yard line. That didn’t matter one bit to Mahomes as in just 2:03, he took the Chiefs up the field for another TD and the lead. Big plays from Hill (20-yard catch), Mahomes (21-yard run), Kelce (20-yard catch), Mahomes (14-yard run) came before Mahomes hit Kelce for his third TD of the game.

Mahomes scrambled before throwing five yards to Kelce, the play was reviewed to make sure Mahomes wasn’t past the line of scrimmage before he threw. The call stood and the Chiefs went into half-time with a 28-24 lead. 

Chiefs put game out of reach early in the second half 

Though the lead was just four points at half-time I’m not sure there are many who held belief that the Texans could make the necessary adjustments to come back into this game. After missing a field-goal to end the first half, the Texans defense were back out to try and stop Mahomes latest drive. 3:30 later and running back Williams ran in from one-yard for his second TD of the game for a 34-24 lead. Kicker Harrison Butker missed the extra-point. 

A quick three-and-out for Houston and the Chiefs were back with another touchdown, another high tempo drive this time was finished off by Williams for his third TD (two rushing TD’s) of the game. 41-24 Chiefs. 

The Texans put a TD on the board with just 29 seconds left in the third quarter, their first points since early in the second quarter. After Watson passed deep left to Will Fuller for 39-yards, Watson ran into the endzone himself for a five-yard TD to make it 41-31 Chiefs. 

They would be the final points for the Texans and early in the fourth quarter the Chiefs would score their final TD on another quick drive. Lasting 1:32 and four plays, Mahomes found Kelce and Sammy Watkins on big plays before passing to Blake Bell for a eight-yard TD, before finishing the scoring with their first field goal of the game, a 24-yarder from Butker. 

Not your standard comeback

In an epic postseason so far, with the drama of the NFC and AFC Championship games and the Super Bowl still to come, this was an amazing feat to comeback from 24 points down and the littany of errors the Chiefs started the game with.

It’s technically a comeback. It’s one of the biggest comebacks in NFL playoff history but once the Chiefs scored it felt inevitable that they would comeback. If there is ever a QB that can bring a team back into the game, it’s Mahomes.

It’s a comeback, but has there ever been a game where a team has been down 24 points and went on to lead the majority of the match? 

Seven touchdown drives in a row, two players, Kelce and Williams both with hat-tricks of touchdowns. Kelce also had 134 receiving yards to go with that despite spending time out of the game with a hamstring injury. Mahomes five passing TD’s, 321 yards passing, 53 yards rushing. 

The next visitors to Arrowhead are the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship game. I for one can’t wait. 

VAVEL Logo