The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium, overcoming a 24-0 deficit, to advance to the AFC Championship Game for the second year in a row.
It did not look promising for the Chiefs in the first quarter of the divisional round playoff game against the Texans. At the 12-minute mark of the 1st quarter, the Texans drew first blood from their own 46-yard line with a deep pass to Kenny Stills. Deshaun Watson looked at Will Fuller for the screen and the Chiefs defense bit on the fake. Stills ran free down the field for a touchdown to take a 7-0 lead.
The Chiefs were not able to do much with their first possession which included a drop by Travis Kelce. With 10:10 left in the 1st quarter, the Chiefs set up to punt the ball from their 25-yard line, but the attempt was blocked and scooped up by the Texans for a touchdown taking the score to 14-0.
The Chiefs did nothing with their next possession and gave the ball back to Houston. The defense came up big this time for the Chiefs. With 3:02 left in the first quarter, the Texans were facing a 3rd and 11 from the 50-yard line. Watson dropped back to pass, but Frank Clark came up with a big sack to stall the Texans drive. On 4th and 17, with 2:02 left in the first, the Texans punted to Tyreek Hill. Hill fumbled the ball which was recovered by Houston at the Chiefs 5-yard line. On 2nd and goal, Watson passed to Darren Fells for a touchdown, taking the score to 21-0, Houston.
Again, the Chiefs offense failed to produce any points and punted the ball back to Houston. The Texans would grind out a drive that resulted in a field goal, extending their lead to 24-0. At this point, the ghosts of previous playoff failures started to creep into the psyche of Chiefs fans. The crowd was stunned. The Houston sideline started to celebrate. It started to look like the Texans were going to slaughter the Chiefs.
But the fans’ fears were put to rest with the next Chiefs possession. After Houston took a 24-0 lead with 10:54 left in the 2nd quarter, Mecole Hardman returned the ensuing kickoff to the Texans 42-yard line. This seemed to be the spark that ignited the entire Chiefs team. On the first offensive play, Patrick Mahomes threw the ball to Travis Kelce, who fought to the Texans 16-yard line. On the very next play, Mahomes threw to Damien Williams in stride out of the backfield for a Chiefs touchdown and cut the Houston lead to 24-7.
The Texans did not do much with their next possession and lined up to punt the ball back to the Chiefs on a 4th and 4 from the Houston 31. The Texans attempted a fake punt, with a direct snap to Justin Reid. Dirty Dan Sorensen read the play beautifully and made the stop at the line of scrimmage, forcing a turnover on downs. With 8:11 left in the 2nd quarter, on a 2nd and goal, Mahomes found Travis Kelce for a touchdown. The score was then 24-14.
On the ensuing kickoff, Deandre Carter attempted to return the kick from the goal line. He was hit hard at the 20 and the ball popped up into the air, landing in the hands of Darwin Thompson who ran the ball to the Texans 10-yard line. On a 3rd and goal from the 6, Mahomes once again found Kelce for a touchdown, taking the score to 24-21. At this point, there was doubt on the faces on the Houston sideline and confidence on the Chiefs sideline.
Houston moved the ball to midfield on their next possession, but the drive stalled. Receiving the ball back with 2:05 left in the half, the Chiefs hoped to score again before halftime. Mahomes dropped back to pass and to avoid the pass rush, he escaped the pocket to his right. He saw open field in front of him and he ran the ball to the Houston 33-yard line. On a 2nd and 15 from the Houston 30, Mahomes found Kelce across the middle and advanced the ball to the 20. On the next play, Mahomes had to escape the rush again and scrambled to Houston’s 5-yard line. On 3rd and goal, Mahomes rolled to his left, held the ball to the absolute last minute, and again found Kelce in the endzone with 44 seconds left in the half. This gave the Chiefs their first lead of the game. The score was 28-24 at halftime.
The Chiefs received the ball to start the second half. They picked right up where they left off with momentum to start the 3rd quarter. Mahomes got the Texans defense to jump early on a 2nd and 10 from their 25-yard line. He threw it deep to Sammy Watkins, who made some nice moves and advanced the ball to the Texans 27-yard line. Damien Williams capped the drive off with a 2-yard run for a touchdown and extended the Kansas City lead to 34-24. Harrison Butker missed the extra point.
Houston did nothing on their next possession and gave the ball right back to the Chiefs. Kansas City drove right down the field and Damien Williams scored another touchdown. Kansas City was then leading 41-24.
Houston scored another touchdown on a Deshaun Watson scramble, but at that point, the game was pretty much over. Kansas City scored another touchdown on a pass to Blake Bell and Butker added another field goal, leading to the final score of 51 to 31.
This game was the greatest comeback I can recall as a Chiefs fan. Many times, I’ve watched the Chiefs get behind in playoff game, and you could feel that they lost their fight. Not this team as they continued to fight, they continued to scrap, and they did not give up. After falling behind 24-0, they rallied and scored 41 unanswered points. They miraculously went 51-7 for the rest of the game after falling behind by 24 points. This game is the reason Chiefs Kingdom should believe that they can go the distance this year. They proved to me, and the rest of the NFL, that no lead is too great for them to overcome. This is a special team and we should all be proud to have witnessed greatness. The journey hopefully will only only continue to get better as the road to Miami is now one step closer.