51-AND-DONE

Chiefs rally from 24-0 hole to beat Tex­ans 51-31 in play­offs

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - SPORTS - By DAVE SKRETTA AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, MO. >> 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 high­fly­ing 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 —

of­fense, de­fense 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 topseeded 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.

Wat­son, mean­while, threw for 388 yards and two touch­downs while run­ning for an­other, but not even his hero­ics could bail out the Tex­ans (117) 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 de­fense, Kansas City blew over­age on Kenny Stills on the open­ing pos­ses­sion, al­low­ing him to walk into the end zone from 54 yards. On of­fense, 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.

JEFF ROBERSON - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Kansas City Chiefs run­ning back Damien Wil­liams (26) scores a touch­down past Hous­ton Tex­ans safety Justin Reid (20) dur­ing the sec­ond half of an NFL di­vi­sional play­off foot­ball game, in Kansas City, Mo., Sun­day, Jan. 12, 2020.

JEFF ROBERSON - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Kansas City Chiefs quar­ter­back Pa­trick Ma­homes (15) cel­e­brates af­ter throw­ing a touch­down pass dur­ing the sec­ond half of an NFL di­vi­sional play­off foot­ball game against the Hous­ton Tex­ans, in Kansas City, Mo., Sun­day, Jan. 12, 2020.

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