At the end of the first quarter the Houston Texans led the Kansas City Chiefs 21-0. At the end of regulation the Chiefs won 51-31. What happened in between will go down as one of the craziest NFL Playoff games to ever happen.
I can’t help but put a good portion of the blame on Houston’s Head Coach, Bill O’Brien. Bill O’Brien blew a 24-point lead and his inability to make in-game adjustments as the Chiefs were chipping away at their enormous lead may have been the final nail in the coffin for O’Brien’s tenure in Houston. O’Brien committed two big mistakes in back-to-back drives that led to Houston’s demise.
Kicking the Field Goal
Early in the second quarter, the Texans were up 21-0 and facing a 4th-and-inches on the Kansas City 13-yard line. To be clear, that means the Texans only need 13 more yards to score a touchdown. O’Brien was going to go for it on fourth down, but after some confusion about which players should be on the field Houston burned a timeout and decided to kick the field goal.
Nothing really is wrong with that call. The 3 points put the Texans up 24-0. A great place to be if you’re the visiting team in Arrowhead Stadium trying to make it to the AFC Championship game. It’s what happened on Houston’s following drive that made this decision look like an amateur one.
The Fake Punt That Will Go Down in Infamy
After Houston’s field goal, Kansas City was able to score their first touchdown of the game and chip the lead to 24-7. The Chiefs’ defense forced a three-and-out and the Texans had to punt from deep in their own territory. The ball was on Houston’s 31-yard line. To be clear, the Texans had to go 69 yards to score, not 13. Houston decided to FAKE the punt and to no avail. The Chiefs’ special teams made a great open field tackle and now Patrick Mahomes and Co. only have to go 30 yards to score.
Kansas City scored in just over a minute to make the score 24-14.
Kansas City ended up scoring three touchdowns in a little over 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Kansas City Tight End Travis Kelce had three touchdown receptions in the second quarter alone.
After being up 24-0 with 10:54 left until halftime, the Texans went into halftime trailing 28-24. Houston became the first team to trail at halftime of a game after being up 24-0 early on.
Once the third quarter started it was nothing but the Kansas City offense putting on a show. Kansas City scored all 51 of their points in the final three quarters of the game. They dropped 28 in the second quarter and the Chiefs went on a 51-7 run starting at 9:55 left in the first half.
This may have been one of the craziest football games I’ve ever seen. Kansas City was down 24 and still were able to win by 20. This was the second-biggest comeback victory in NFL Postseason history behind New England’s 25-point comeback win against Atlanta in Super Bowl 51. Patrick Mahomes went 23-35 for 321 yards and 5 touchdowns. Three of those touchdowns went to Travis Kelce who had 10 receptions for 134 yards.
Houston had the momentum early, scoring on a 54-yard pass from Watson to Stills. They returned a blocked punt for a touchdown and were able to recover a muffed punt by Tyreek Hill inside of the Kansas City 5-yard line. Everything was going Houston’s way, until those two crucial coaching mistakes.
Houston we have a problem, and his name is Bill O’Brien. Yes, he’s had five winning seasons in his six years as head coach, but the errors he made in this game are inexcusable.
The stage is now set. After defeating Minnesota on Saturday, the San Francisco 49ers will play host to the Green Bay Packers who beat the Seattle Seahawks Sunday night 28-23. The blacksheep of the NFL Playoffs, the Tennessee Titans, will travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs in the AFC Championship.
Who will head to Miami for Super Bowl 54?