Down by 10 points early? Definitely not a problem for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs' deficit in Sunday's AFC Championship Game was nothing like the one they had faced a week prior. In the divisional round, the Houston Texans scored 24 straight points before Kansas City rallied back for a victory.
This time, the Chiefs again overcame a slow start vs. the Tennessee Titans to lead by halftime and pulled away in the second half for a 35-24 win to capture their first AFC title in franchise history. They also advanced to the Super Bowl for the first time since winning it in the 1969 season, prior to the AFL-NFL merger.
The Titans had an incredible run to reach the AFC title game after coming off back-to-back wins over the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens. A major key to those victories was stellar play of running back Derrick Henry. And it was no surprise that Tennessee went to him early and often on Sunday.
The 26-year-old scored a four-yard touchdown run with five minutes, 52 seconds to go in the first quarter that pushed the Titans' early lead to 10-0.
But just like a week earlier, the Chiefs showed their resilience. And they didn't wait as long this time to battle back.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Tyreek Hill, cutting Tennessee's lead to 10-7 with 46 seconds to go in the opening quarter.
The momentum didn't last long for the Chiefs, though.
The Titans put together an impressive 15-play 75-yard drive that spanned 9:07 to push their lead back to 10 points. Ryan Tannehill threw a one-yard touchdown pass to offensive lineman Dennis Kelly that made it 17-7 with 6:39 to go in the first half.
However, the Chiefs took the lead by halftime. Mahomes and Hill connected for another touchdown with 4:03 to go, as the 20-yard strike cut the Titans' lead back to three points.
Then, the Kansas City signal-caller delivered one of the biggest plays of the game shortly before the break. With 11 seconds to go, he scampered for a 27-yard touchdown run, rushing down the left sideline and evading several Titans defenders before barreling into the end zone.
The score gave Kansas City a 21-17 lead and will likely be a highlight many will remember from the Chiefs' postseason run.
Mahomes made it sound simple.
"They were doubling all these guys," he said, according to the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). "I just ran it and got some good blocking at the end and found a way to get in the end zone."
After a scoreless third quarter, the Chiefs put the game away with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Damien Williams scored on a three-yard touchdown run with 14:50 to go in the final quarter. Then, Mahomes threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Sammy Watkins with 7:33 remaining.
Through the Chiefs' first two playoff contests, they're averaging 43 points per game. According to ESPN Stats & Info, the only other team to average more points in its run to the Super Bowl was the 1990 Buffalo Bills with 47.5 points.
However, that Bills team went on to lose the Super Bowl. The Chiefs will be looking for a different result when they face the San Francisco 49ers in Miami on Feb. 2.