The Texans responded to the challenge, scoring early and often, and built up a 24-0 lead, but then things fell apart and when the final gun sounded Kansas City walked off the field victorious with a 51-13 victory.
Houston won the coin toss and elected to receive to begin the game. Weather conditions were much better than on Saturday when 6 inches of snow fell in the metropolitan KC area. The temperature rose to 29 at kickoff with a 12 mph WNW wind, which equated to a wind chill of 17.
The Texans were on fire from the opening kickoff. Deshaun Watson led the Houston offense on a 6 play, 75-yad drive that culminated with a 54-yard TD pass to Kenny Stills with 11:59 left in the first quarter. Ka’imi Fairbairn nailed the PAT and the Houston took an early 7-0 lead.
The Houston defense forced a KC punt on the Chiefs first possession, and a Dustin Colquitt punt was blocked by Barkevioius Mingo. The ball was picked up by Lonnie Johnson at the 10 and he returned the ball into the end zone for a touchdown with 10:06 left in the opening frame. Fairbairn added the extra point and the Houston lead grew to 14-0 after their second TD in 11:53.
On the third KC possession, Tyreek Hill muffed a Bryan Anger punt at the 6 and Keion Crossen recovered. It took just 2 plays and 48 seconds for Houston to score again. The score came on a 4-yard pass from Watson to Darren Fells with 1:21 left in the first quarter. Fairbarin’s PAT moved the Houston lead to 21-0.
The Texans added to the lead with 10:54 left in the half when Fairbairn kicked a 31-yard field goal at the conclusion of a 9-play, 38yard drive that consumed 4:55.
Just when it appeared the Texans had taken the Chiefs and their fans out of the game, Patrick Mahomes and the offense lit things up. Damien Williams snagged a 17-yard TD pass from Mahomes with 9:55 left in the half. Harrison Butker added the extra point and the Chiefs deficit was 24-7. The drive was 2 plays, 42 yards and took just 59 seconds.
Coach Bill O’Brien decided to try a trick play on a 4th down and it blew up in his face. Justin Reid came up 1-yard short as he took a direct snap out of punt formation. He was stopped at the Houston 33. That was the beginning of the end of the Texans momentum.
Mahomes and company moved the 33 yards into the end zone in just 3 plays and 23 seconds. Mahomes hit Kelce on a 5-yard TD pass with 8:05 left in the half. Butker added the extra point and the chiefs trailed 24-14. The score was set up with a pass interference against Lonnie Johnson, JR.
KC got a break on the ensuing kickoff when DeAndre Carter fumbled the return and the Chiefs recovered on the Houston 6. It took just 3 plays and 1:25 for Mahomes to get the Chiefs the 6 yards into the end zone. The score came on a 6-yard pass from Mahomes to Kelce. Butker kicked the extra point and the Chiefs narrowed the deficit to 24-21 with 6:31 left in the half.
Houston managed a couple of first downs on their next possession, but the Chiefs defense forced a punt. Mahomes and his offensive teammates went on another drive with just under 4 minutes remaining in the half. Mahomes hit Kelce from 5 yards out with 44 seconds left in the half, putting KC up 27-24. Butker added the extra point and Kansas City led 28-24. The drive as 8 plays, 90 yards and took 2:03.
Houston drove down to the Chiefs 33 with 3 seconds left and Fairbiarn came in to attempt a 51-yard field goal The kick was wide to the right and the half ended with the Chiefs up 28-24 after giving up 24 points to begin the game and then scoring 28 straight points to finish the half.
KC got the ball to begin the second half of play. Mahomes and company picked right back up where they left off at halftime, as Damien Williams ran into the end zone from the 1 with 11:24 left in the third quarter. Butker missed the extra point wide right, but the Chiefs advanced the lead to 34-24 and put Houston in a huge hole. The drive was 7 plays, 85 yards and took 3:36 off the third quarter clock.
Houston was forced to punt on their ensuing possession and Mahomes and company found the end zone once again. The score came on a 5-yard run by Williams with 4:39 left in the third quarter. The drive was 6 plays, 77 yards and took 3:55. Butker added the PAT and the KC lead swelled to 41-24.
The Texans FINALLY found the end zone once again when Watson ran in from the 5 with 24 seconds left in the third quarter. Fairbairn added the extra point and the Houston deficit was cut to 41-31. The drive was 9 plays, 75 yards and took 4:15.
The Chiefs marched right back down the field and Mahomes hit Blake Bell from 8 yards out with 13:52 left in the game. Butker nailed the extra point and KC extended the lead to 48-31. The drive was 4 plays, 72 yards and took 1:32.
Houston went for a 4th and 4 from the KC 42 on their next possession but Watson threw incomplete and the ball turned over on downs.
Mahomes and his unit drove down to the 7 and Butker came in and kicked a field goal with 8:06 left in the game, moving the score to 51-31. The drive was 7 plays, 52 yards and took 3:31.
The Texans turned the ball over on downs at the KC 42 on their next possession with 4:53 left in the game when a pass intended for DeAndre Hopkins fell incomplete.
Houston forced a KC punt and got the ball back inside their 10 with an opportunity to at least make the game look a little more respectable. They moved down to the KC 8, but Watson was sacked back at the 25 with 1:34 left in the game, ending the threat.
Mahomes and the KC offense set up in victory formation and ran out the clock, capturing the 51-31 win and sending the Chiefs to the AFC Championship game next Sunday.
Houston Coach Bill O’Brien had his usual “we need to coach better” answer when asked how his team blew a 24-0 lead. He has become a broken record with that answer after every humiliating loss. Sadly, he will keep his job because he has won the AFC South 4 of the 6 seasons he has been the head coach. Of course, that is a LOT better than Jason Garrett did in 9 seasons at the helm of the Dallas Cowboys, so O’B is probably safe for another 3 years or so. Don’t expect him to EVER get the Texans to the AFC Championship Game, let alone to a Super Bowl.
Chiefs Coach Andy Reid made light of the fact his team came back with a vengeance after trailing 24-0 early.
“When you’re down 24 to nothing, if you don’t have a good locker room, things will go the wrong way for you. It showed the strength of our team, along with our fans. I thought our fans were tremendous. Nobody out there gave up and they all stayed and cheered us on.”
We had a chance to ask Quarterback Patrick Mahomes in his presser after the Chiefs big win what he would say to his fans back in East Texas who are hoping to see the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.
“Yeah, I love East Texas. I’ve always loved East Texas and I love the support that they’ve showed me. Everywhere I’ve been I’ve gotten great support, so I’m just saying just stay with us. We’ll take this one day at a time and try to find a way to get another win.”
You can be certain that playing at Arrowhead Stadium in the AFC Championship Game this coming Sunday that the Chiefs WON’T fall behind 24-0 and my money is on Mahomes and the Chiefs to make it to the “big dance”!