Sunday’s Divisional Round matchup against the Houston Texans started in disastrous fashion, as the Chiefs found themselves down 24 points with about ten minutes to play in the second quarter. It was during this time that the reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes and All-Pro Tight End Travis Kelce took over the game, and lead one of the largest comebacks in the history of the NFL. After starting the game off with a drop Kelce, would go on to take over the game. After a long Mecole Hardman return Mahomes would hit Kelce for 17 yards moving the Chiefs deep into the red zone.
This would ignite the offense to a 51-7 run. One play later Mahomes found Damien Williams for 17 yards and the score. A nice wheel rout concept and an absolute dime by Mahomes gave the Chiefs life.
The next Chiefs possession would also be on a short field. On second down and goal from the five, Mahomes would step up right and Kelce gave a nice hesitation step on his route to get open. Mahomes delivers a dart and Kelce is able to dive in for the score.
After a fumble on the kick off the Chiefs would again get a short field, and once again Mahomes and Kelce would make them pay. This time on third down and goal from the six. The Chiefs would again use the roll-out, but this time a little improvisation from the two would lead to the score. Mahomes doesn’t have anyone open on his initial reads, but as he continues to run Kelce turns back into the field where Mahomes finds him for the score. Excellent improvisation, in finding the soft spot in the Houston D. Houston was forced to respect Mahomes’ space and ability to run but the second they stepped over to corral him Kelce found his opening.
On the next drive, they would show up again this time for 19 yards and another big chunk to put the Chiefs in position to take the lead. Kelce hits a little double move, but still is being doubled. That doesn’t stop Mahomes from firing a rocket into Kelce’s waiting hands. Threading the needle would further boost the Chief’s confidence, as Houston was watching their lead vanish before their eyes.
The Chiefs would complete their ten-minute assault with another roll out and more improvisation by Mahomes to find Kelce. Mahomes showed incredible awareness to look away from the defenders around Kelce, drag his foot at the line of scrimmage, and keep the throw legal.
It was a Herculean effort and as the Chiefs headed into the half there was little doubt to who would come out victorious. Kelce, who had injury concerns heading into the game, didn’t appear on the Chiefs’ opening drive of the second half. It mattered not as Mahomes came up with a deep throw to Sammy Watkins that lead to 48 yards and put the Chiefs in position to extend their lead.
Kelce would return with a vengeance on the next drive and catch a pass that would lead to one of the biggest attitude plays of the year for the Chiefs.
Mahomes hits Kelce after a little shake move but as he is surrounded by defenders he refuses to go down. This gives Anthony Sherman and several Chiefs’ offensive linemen time to come in and push the pile a few additional yards. This kind of effort and attitude from the Chiefs is what lead them to not feel sorry for themselves being down by 24. Instead it would lead them to the greatest comeback in the history of the franchise and turn the game into a beat down. This drive would result in another Damien Williams rushing score. Which would more or less seal the game. Mahomes would have one more touchdown throw, this time to Kelce’s back up Blake Bell.
On this throw, Mahomes, again showed great instinct and awareness against the blitz by firing the ball quickly to an open Blake Bell.
Something I have found interesting in the last few weeks is Andy Reid’s offense, which garnered much attention last season for the deep throws, seems to be reverting back to more of its West Coast origins the past few weeks. This strategy combined with the Chiefs’ weapons, has Mahomes looking more comfortable every game. The change in offensive strategy also increases the difficulty for opposing teams on how they defend the Chiefs’ offense. Here the Texans are so concerned with the Chiefs deep threats that Kelce is able to make one move on his drag rout to get open, and Mahomes delivered a dime for another big pick up.
The final a score would end up being 51-31. This team showed great heart and an unwavering belief in one another to be great and succeed. This attitude was lead by Mahomes and Kelce. The leaders of the pack stepped up huge. If the Chiefs are to continue this run deep into the postseason it will be with these two leading the way. As we approach the AFCCG against another team that beat the Chiefs in the regular season it will be interesting to see who else emerges. If teams want any chance they will have to stop Kelce, which in turn could open up additional and faster options on the Chiefs’ offense. The Chiefs’ offense seems to have gone full West Coast at times during this current streak of wins but it could be setting up the deep strike game they are known for. With Kelce dominant in the intermediate game and the offense in full rhythm, they could be primed for another explosion in the AFCCG. The leaders of the team will be put to the test, but if they trust their game there is no stopping them.