Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs Advance to AFC Title Game After Massive Rally vs. Texans

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2020

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) reacts after a touchdown by tight end Travis Kelce during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game against the Houston Texans, in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

The Kansas City Chiefs are just one game away from the Super Bowl after an incredible 51-31 comeback win over the Houston Texans.

The Texans appeared ready for a blowout win after jumping out to a 24-0 lead, but the Chiefs stormed back with four second-quarter touchdowns to grab the lead before halftime.

Patrick Mahomes stayed sharp after halftime as part of a stretch of 41 unanswered points, with Kansas City scoring touchdowns on seven straight possessions. 

NFL Research @NFLResearch

No team has overcome a 21+ point deficit at the end of the first quarter to win a game in the regular season or playoffs in the last 8 seasons. #HOUvsKC | #Texans

In a battle of exciting young quarterbacks, Mahomes stole the show with five touchdown passes, outdueling Deshaun Watson on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. It was enough to get the Chiefs to the AFC Championship Game for the second straight season.

Watson finished with 388 passing yards, but it wasn't enough to pull off the upset on the road.


Notable Stats

  • Patrick Mahomes, QB, KC: 23-of-35, 321 passing yards, 5 TDs, 53 rushing yards
  • Travis Kelce, TE, KC: 10 catches, 134 receiving yards, 3 TDs
  • Damien Williams, RB, KC: 12 carries, 47 rushing yards, 2 catches, 21 receiving yards, 3 TDs
  • Deshaun Watson, QB, HOU: 31-of-52, 388 passing yards, 2 TDs, 37 rushing yards, 1 TD
  • DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU: 9 catches, 118 receiving yards
  • Will Fuller V, WR, HOU: 5 catches, 89 receiving yards


Patrick Mahomes Incredible in Comeback Effort

A 24-point deficit is a significant one, unless you have Mahomes at quarterback.

The 2018 NFL MVP looked the part Sunday, leading his team back from the dead with four touchdown passes in the second quarter.


The @Chiefs are on the board! @PatrickMahomes to Damien Williams for the 17-yard TD. #ChiefsKingdom #NFLPlayoffs 📺: #HOUvsKC on CBS 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/ytW9g3rQZM https://t.co/5qmXoAtX4k

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Chiefs are alive 👀 Only trail by 10 after being down 24-0... (via @Chiefs) https://t.co/fuYF4Mb67v


Mahomes. Kelce. Again. THREE TDs in THREE minutes. And just like that it's a three-point game! #NFLPlayoffs #ChiefsKingdom 📺: #HOUvsKC on CBS 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/ytW9g3rQZM https://t.co/y9g7OTvRjY


PATRICK MAHOMES. 28 straight points. 4 first-half touchdown passes. And the @Chiefs have the lead! #ChiefsKingdom #NFLPlayoffs 📺: #HOUvsKC on CBS 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/ytW9g3rQZM https://t.co/AroX5mr1F4

Although we have seen Mahomes do impressive things in the past two seasons, he was particularly spectacular against the Texans, including throwing three touchdown passes in a span of three minutes and 18 seconds.

Next Gen Stats @NextGenStats

Patrick Mahomes by Quarter [At the Half]: ➤ 1st Qtr: 4/10, 43 yards (-30.9% CPOE) ➤ 2nd Qtr: 8/12, 95 yards, 4 TD (+6.2% CPOE) Mahomes has been more successful in the 2nd quarter despite targets averaging 2.4 yards of separation (1st Qtr: 3.7 yards) #HOUvsKC | #ChiefsKingdom https://t.co/7MfRJ8MsDe

Bobby Carpenter @Bcarp3

Pat Mahomes is amazing... his arm is one thing but his creativity and vision while on the move are unreal

Dave Pasch @DavePasch

Don’t know that I’ve ever seen a more talented football player than Patrick Mahomes. Wow!!!

NFL Research @NFLResearch

Patrick Mahomes is the first player in NFL history with 300+ pass yards, 5+ pass TD & 50+ rush yards in a playoff game. #ChiefsKingdom | @Chiefs

Travis Kelce was also at his best with 10 catches for 134 yards, also becoming the first player in the Super Bowl era with three receiving touchdowns in a quarter of a playoff game, per NFL Research.

The second half was more of the same as the Chiefs eventually made it 41 straight points to take control of the game.

Damien Williams scored two rushing touchdowns, and the offense was simply unstoppable, scoring on eight straight drives.

It all came after a nightmare start, featuring uncharacteristic mistakes.


What a start for the @HoustonTexans. They come up with the loose ball on the punt! #WeAreTexans #NFLPlayoffs 📺: #HOUvsKC on CBS 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/ytW9g3rQZM https://t.co/jyBmkS69IL

Mina Kimes @minakimes

From @ESPNStatsInfo: The Chiefs had 4 drops in the first quarter. They had 4 drops in their previous six games COMBINED.

Chris Wesseling @ChrisWesseling

3rd downs: Kelce drop, Robinson drop, Hill dropped 4th downs: blocked punt TD, muffed punt sets up TD, punt return to midfield

Ultimately, this will go down as one of the most stunning comebacks in NFL history:

Warren Sharp @SharpFootball

Teams trailing by 21 points after the first quarter are: 8-135 in NFL history 0-6 in NFL playoff history They lose by 39 ppg on average. BUT... one team forced OT: - SD @ MIA in the 1981 season

Instead of folding under the pressure, Kansas City showed great resolve to fight its way back into the game and eventually come away with the win. 


Bill O'Brien's Decisions Don't Pay Off As Texans Squander Big Lead

The start of the game couldn't have gone better for Houston, which scored two touchdowns on huge plays in the first five minutes.

B/R Gridiron @brgridiron

Kenny Stills couldn't have been more open. Texans strike first. (via @NFL) https://t.co/oQLWLSqExK

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Texans block the punt and take it all the way back for six. Two TD's in two minutes. (via @NFL) https://t.co/8c9uGT0wpF

Vahe Gregorian @vgregorian

From stunned silence after first TD to some disgruntled buzz and boos here as Texans block punt to go up 14-0 at Arrowhead not even 5 minutes in. Jawdropping start

A 24-0 lead through the first 20 minutes of game action made Texans coach Bill O'Brien look great.

However, he was overly conservative by kicking a field goal on 4th-and-1 in opposing territory and then overly aggressive on the next possession with a fake-punt attempt.


The Texans go for the fake punt and the @Chiefs defense makes a huge play! #ChiefsKingdom #NFLPlayoffs 📺: #HOUvsKC on CBS 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/ytW9g3rQZM https://t.co/SQ4heoPvSO

When the Chiefs grabbed momentum back, the decisions weren't received fondly.

trey wingo @wingoz

To recap: Bill kicked a FG one 4th and inches...and runs a fake punt inside his own 40? Ok then

Matt Lombardo @MattLombardoNFL

Feels like Bill O’Brien lost that game with that fake punt. Give Mahomes an opening ...

Bill Simmons @BillSimmons

Let’s waive the 5-year waiting period and induct Bill O’Brien’s 2nd quarter into the Bad Coaching Hall of Fame, pantheon wing, with his bust covered in gold and vomit.

John McClain @McClain_on_NFL

Instead of O'Brien screaming at his players at halftime, they should scream at him for that botched fake punt that ignited the Chiefs' rally.

Mike Finger @mikefinger

There are way more things that go into coaching than decisions about when to go for it on fourth down and when to call timeouts but it sure seems like Bill O’Brien gets every single one of those wrong.

Of course, the players also unraveled from there with mistake after mistake.

A fumbled kickoff and a missed field goal were key miscues in the second quarter. In the second half, the defense couldn't get any stops that would've given the offense a chance at a comeback.

Giving up four first downs from penalties also never helps. 

Watson did nearly everything he could to keep Houston in the game, making plays with his arms and legs.


.@DeshaunWatson capitalizes on the turnover and it's 21-0 in the first quarter. #WeAreTexans #NFLPlayoffs 📺: #HOUvsKC on CBS 📱: NFL app // Yahoo Sports app Watch free on mobile: https://t.co/ytW9g3rQZM https://t.co/WskxqAtyC1

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

DESHAUN TOOK IT HIMSELF 💪 (via @NFL) https://t.co/XOHBbXWmUq

Still, it wasn't enough to keep up with Mahomes on the scoreboard.


What's Next?

The Chiefs will host the AFC Championship Game next Sunday at 3 p.m. ET and play the Tennessee Titans, who are a legitimate threat after upsetting the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens the last two weeks.


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