The Houston Texans (11-7) blew a 24-0 lead against the Kansas City Chiefs (13-4), who scored four touchdowns in the second quarter to regain the lead 28-24 by halftime. The Texans imploded during their worst meltdown in playoff history as the Chiefs coasted to a 51-31 victory.
With the win, the Chiefs advanced to the AFC Championship game against the Tennessee Titans. Kansas City will host the AFC title game for a second year in a row. Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes lost to the New England Patriots in overtime last year.
Coming into the AFC title game, the Chiefs are 2/1 odds to win the 2020 Super Bowl.
Despite being down 24-0, Mahomes retained his composure and rallied his teammates on the bench.
“The biggest thing I was preaching was, ‘Let’s go do something special. Everybody is counting us out. Let’s go out there and play by play put it out there.’ And play by play, we did what we were supposed to do,” said Mahomes.
“You saw him going up and down the bench, he was talking to everybody,” said Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. “As a head coach, you can’t ask for more than that. When he’s the leader of your team and he’s going, ‘Hey, we’re going to be fine. Let’s not wait for the fourth quarter. Let’s go!’ And he did that.”
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Chiefs became the first team in NFL playoff history to be down by 20 points, yet win the game by 20 points.
Game of Swings
The Houston Texans jumped out to a 24-0 lead, but Patrick Mahomes threw four touchdowns in the second quarter including three to tight end Travis Kelce. By halftime, the Chiefs scored 28 unanswered points to regain the lead.
Kelce finished with 10 receptions for 134 yards and three touchdowns.
“We’ve got full confidence, not only in the players, but the game plan going into it,” said Kelce.
Mahomes torched the Texans for five touchdowns on 23-for-35 passing and 321 yards. Mahomes didn’t turn the ball over, and the Chiefs offensive line didn’t allow any sacks.
Mahomes, who bounced back from a dislocated kneecap injury earlier in the season, led the Chiefs in rushing with 53 yards on seven rushes. Damien Williams rushed 12 times for 47 yards and two touchdowns. Williams also caught a receiving touchdown.
THE LEAD IS OURS! pic.twitter.com/wP8twefm8B
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) January 12, 2020
“Guys were making plays,” said Mahomes.
Houston Collapse, We Have a Huge Problem
During the epic collapse, the Texans scored only seven points in the second half, and were outscored 23-7 by the Chiefs.
Texans QB DeShaun Watson finished with 388 yards and two touchdowns on 31-for-52 passing. He also scored a rushing touchdown.
“I definitely thought we were going to have to score more than 24,” said Texans coach Bill O’Brien. “I think that they’re, obviously, a very explosive team and it just didn’t work out.”
O’Brien made several questionable calls during the Texans’ second quarter collapse. The failed fake punt, when the Texans were ahead 24-7, and which inevitably resulted in a Chiefs touchdown, is one play O’Brien might not escape for the rest of his career.
— NFL (@NFL) January 12, 2020
By the time the game ended, the Texans suffered their worst implosion and playoff loss in team history. During the post-game press conference, a stunned O’Brien told reporters, “I don’t know what happened. A little bit of everything.”