KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Down 24-0 with less than 11 minutes remaining in the second quarter on Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs already faced a monumental challenge: Only three teams had overcome a larger deficit to win a playoff game.
Before the first half was over, the Chiefs had a lead over the Houston Texans they wouldn’t relinquish. Their domination over the game’s final 41 minutes in their 51-31 divisional-round victory was even more impressive than the Texans’ command of the first 19 minutes.
The Texans scored a touchdown on a return of a blocked punt and recovered a Chiefs fumble on the Kansas City 6 to help build their early lead.
But then the game shifted to the Chiefs, and in a hurry.
Patrick Mahomes threw four touchdowns passes in the final 10 minutes of the second quarter, becoming only the second player in postseason history to have four scoring throws in one period, joining Washington’s Doug Williams, who accomplished the feat in Super Bowl XXII.
“Obviously, we didn’t want to be in that spot,” Mahomes said. “But the biggest thing I was preaching to the team was, let’s go do something special, let’s go do something special. Everybody’s already counting us out…Play by play we just chipped away at that lead and got to half and came out the 2nd half and kept firing.”
The Chiefs led 28-24 at halftime, making them the first team to lead at the break after trailing by at last 24 points, according to Elias Sports Bureau. They continued their barrage until the game’s final moments, becoming the first playoff team to win by 20 after trailing by 20 or more, according to Elias.
Travis Kelce caught three of Mahomes’ TD passes in the second quarter, becoming the first NFL player with three scoring catches in one period of a postseason game.
The momentum seemed to change when the Chiefs, trailing 24-7, stopped Houston’s punt fake on fourth-and-4 from the Texans 31 for a 2-yard gain. Mahomes threw his second TD pass of the quarter three plays later.
The Chiefs will face the Tennessee Titans next Sunday at Arrowhead in the AFC Championship Game. They opened as 7-point favorites at Caesars Sportsbook,