Patrick Mahomes leads remarkable Kansas City fightback against Houston
Texans roared into a 24-0 lead before home side scored 41 unanswered points
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes makes a throw while being tackled during the AFC Divisional playoff game against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. Photograph: Larry W Smith/EPA
Kansas City Chiefs 51 Houston Texans 31
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes rallied Kansas City from an early 24-point deficit on Sunday, passing for 321 yards and five touchdowns as the Chiefs outraced the Houston Texans 51-31 in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs at Arrowhead Stadium.
Kansas City moves on to host the AFC Championship Game for the second straight year – after never before doing so – and will face the sixth-seeded Tennessee Titans.
In claiming their seventh straight victory, the second-seeded Chiefs scored 41 unanswered points, with 28 points in the second quarter. They generated 434 yards, and the Texas posted 442.
Kansas City scored touchdowns on seven straight possessions, an NFL post-season record, after Houston bolted to a 24-0 lead barely 19 minutes into the game.
Houston’s Deshaun Watson countered with 388 yards and two touchdowns passing, but the Texans fell to 0-4 all-time in the divisional round. DeAndre Hopkins snagged nine receptions for 118 yards.
Mahomes generated a 28-point second quarter with four touchdown passes to give Kansas City a 28-24 half-time margin, marking the highest-scoring first half in NFL post-season history.
The first three touchdowns the Chiefs recorded came during a span of 3:24, aided by a 58-yard kickoff return by Mecole Hardman, a fake punt thwarted by safety Daniel Sorensen and a fumbled Houston kick-off forced by Sorensen and recovered by Darwin Thompson.
Mahomes then passed for his fourth score, tying a post-season record set in Super Bowl XXII by Washington’s Doug Williams for touchdown passes in a quarter. The five-yard strike to Kelce with 44 seconds left capped a 90-yard march.
Houston scored three quick touchdowns for a 21-0 lead, the most first-quarter points the Texans have recorded in franchise history. They capitalised on four drops, a blown coverage and a muffed return by the Chiefs, while also scoring off a blocked punt.
Watson connected for a 54-yard score to Kenny Stills for the first touchdown on the opening possession. Lonnie Johnson then returned a punt blocked by Barkevious Mingo 10 yards for the score. Finally, Watson hit Darren Fells with a four-yard scoring strike after Tyreek Hill mishandled a punt.