By Matt McMullen – Chiefs.com
The Kansas City Chiefs came back to defeat the Houston Texans, 30-24, on Sunday in a wild game that came down to the final minutes of overtime.
Both teams remained tied at 24 points apiece when Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes was sacked by Texans’ linebacker Blake Cashman on third down to force a Kansas City punt with just over six minutes left in overtime. The next score would win the game and Houston had possession of the ball, but on the Texans’ first play of their ensuing drive, Chiefs’ defensive end Frank Clark jarred the ball free from quarterback Davis Mills and linebacker Willie Gay pounced on it.
Kansas City took back over on offense, and just one snap later, tailback Jerick McKinnon broke free for a 26-yard, game-winning touchdown.
The go-ahead score marked a triumphant conclusion to an otherwise frustrating game for the Chiefs, who managed to escape with the victory despite racking up 10 penalties and two turnovers.
“The thing I was proudest [of] about our guys was that they kept playing,” said Head Coach Andy Reid. “They didn’t let anything hinder them – whether it was calls, fumbles or whatever. They kept playing.”
McKinnon’s touchdown run was part of another strong day for the veteran tailback, as he tallied 122 yards from scrimmage and two total touchdowns in the contest. It marked his second-straight game with more than 100 yards of total offense, and when his number was called on what turned out to be the final play, McKinnon explained following the game that he called his shot.
“Patrick looked at me and said, ‘Two hands on the ball. Let’s go.’ I said, ‘I’m about to score,'” McKinnon recalled. “[Wide receiver] JuJu [Smith-Schuster] looked at me and said, ‘I got your block, bro. Find me when you get out there.’ It worked out exactly like that. I made it to the second level, I literally ran off of JuJu’s block and was able to score. It’s just crazy it worked out like that, man. It’s crazy.”
Those overtime heroics were necessary following a back-and-forth battle through the first four quarters of play. Houston claimed an early lead when Mills found tight end Teagan Quitoriano for an 8-yard touchdown late in the first quarter, but the Chiefs soon answered with a 20-yard scoring strike from Mahomes to McKinnon.
Mills then put the Texans back in front with a 20-yard touchdown scramble a bit later, cashing in on a Chiefs’ fumble that provided Houston with a short field two snaps earlier, but Kansas City responded yet again when Mahomes hit wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling for a 4-yard score soon after that pulled the Chiefs within one point.
Chiefs’ kicker Harrison Butker provided Kansas City with its first lead of the game early in the third quarter with a 27-yard field goal, but the Texans later converted another Chiefs’ fumble into points as Mills found tight end Jordan Akins for a 12-yard score midway through the second half.
The teeter-totter proceeded to continue into the fourth quarter, too, when Mahomes reclaimed the lead for Kansas City with a 5-yard touchdown scramble. Mahomes’ efforts – which included a successful two-point conversion attempt moments later – put the Chiefs ahead by three points, but Houston managed to tie the game on its ensuing drive with a 29-yard field goal.
Kanas City seemed poised to end the back-and-forth on its final possession, however, with an 11-play, 44-yard drive that marched to the Texans’ 33-yard line. The series set up a potential game-winning, 51-yard field goal attempt for Butker, but his kick sailed wide right, and the contest went into overtime.
Things soon appeared dire as the additional period got underway, but as Gay recovered Mills’ fumble and McKinnon trotted into the end zone only one snap later, the Chiefs managed to escape with their 11th victory of the season in thrilling fashion.
The win was also significant, as it secured a seventh-straight division title for Kansas City. That matches the second-longest streak for any team in terms of consecutive division championships since the merger.
Mahomes completed 36-of-41 passes for 336 yards and three total touchdowns in the game, tallying his NFL-most ninth game of the season with 300+ passing yards. He continues to lead the league in both passing yards (4,496) and passing touchdowns (35). Additionally, Mahomes is now one of only five players in league history to record four or more seasons with 35+ passing touchdowns.
Those numbers have all added up to help Kansas City win yet another division title with three games remaining in the campaign.
“Obviously, we know we have a lot to work on – [we have] to clean up the turnovers and the penalties – but you have to celebrate. We still won the AFC West, and you have to enjoy that,” Mahomes said. “I told the guys to do that. Enjoy it for the plane ride home tonight. We’ve got a short week this next week, so enjoy it and we’ll get right back to it.”
In terms of injuries, Coach Reid didn’t have any news to report following the game. The Chiefs came away from the game with a clean bill of health.
The Chiefs will now quickly turn the page as they prepare on a short week to take on the Seattle Seahawks at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on December 24.