NFL·NFL PLAYOFFS

Chiefs rally from huge deficit to beat Texans, advance to face Titans in AFC championship

After digging a 24-0 hole against Houston Texans early in the second quarter, Patrick Mahomes and the rest of the high-flying Kansas City Chiefs embarked on the biggest comeback in franchise history for a 51-31 win in the divisional round of the playoffs on Sunday.

Kansas City climbs out of 24-0 hole for blowout win

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) celebrates with wide receiver Tyreek Hill during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff game against the Houston Texans, in Kansas City, Mo., on Sunday. (Jeff Roberson/Associated Press)

Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are back in the AFC championship game.

How they returned to the brink of their first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years was unlike anything anybody could have imagined.

After digging a 24-0 hole against Houston early in the second quarter Sunday, Mahomes and the rest of the high-flying Chiefs embarked on the biggest comeback in franchise history. Their young superstar proceeded to throw for 321 yards and five touchdowns, Travis Kelce and Damien Williams reached the end zone three times apiece, and Kansas City reeled off 41 consecutive points in a 51-31 victory over the Texans in the divisional round of the playoffs.

The Chiefs are the first team in NFL history to win a playoff game by at least 20 points after trailing in that game by at least 20 points. And Mahomes is the first player in NFL history with at least 300 passing yards, at least five TD passes and at least 50 rushing yards in a playoff game.

"Yeah, I mean, obviously we didn't start the way we wanted to, but all we were preaching — offence, defence and special teams — is let's do something special," Mahomes said. "Everybody's already counting us out, let's keep fighting and just go one play at a time, and we found a way. Obviously, this is a huge win and now we've got the AFC championship game at home."

The Chiefs (13-4), who lost to the Patriots in overtime in last year's conference title game, will play Tennessee next Sunday for a spot in Miami. The Titans stunned Lamar Jackson and the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night.

"We've already played them and we know they're a tough team," Mahomes said of the Titans, who beat Chiefs in November. "They're a team that battles all the way until the end. They're a team that's really hot, playing really good football right now, so we know it's going to take our best effort. And, whatever way, we've got to find a way to win. That's the biggest thing you saw here today was we've just got to find a way no matter what."

Kelce finished with 10 catches for 134 yards, Williams ran for two scores while catching a TD pass, helping the Chiefs win their seventh consecutive game and reach back-to-back AFC title games for the first time.

Epic collapse

Watson, meanwhile, threw for 388 yards and two touchdowns while running for another, but not even his heroics could bail out the Texans (11-7) after they were outscored 28-0 in the second quarter. They continued to allow Kansas City to pull away during a dismal third, their epic collapse leaving the reborn Houston franchise 0-4 in the divisional round.

The Chiefs certainly gave them the perfect opportunity to finally break that streak in the first quarter.

On defence, Kansas City blew overage on Kenny Stills on the opening possession, allowing him to walk into the end zone from 54 yards. On offence, they wasted timeouts, dropped a series of easy passes and managed just 46 yards. And on special teams, the Chiefs had a punt blocked for a score and fumbled a return that set up another touchdown.

Indeed, the Texans were humming right along after finishing on a 22-3 run to beat Buffalo last week, while the mountain of miscues made by the Chiefs made them only the fourth home playoff team to trail 21-0 after the first quarter.

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