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In an epic comeback that made NFL history in multiple ways, the Kansas City Chiefs clawed their way back from the dead Sunday to beat the Houston Texans 51-31 in a divisional playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs overcame a 24-point deficit with four Patrick Mahomes touchdown passes in the second quarter, then continued to pile on the points after halftime to earn their ticket to the AFC championship game.
Kansas City will play host to Tennessee on Sunday for the right to represent the conference in Super Bowl LIV in Miami.
The Chiefs weren’t in as deep a hole to Houston as Buffalo was in the 1992 wild-card round, when the Bills came back from 32 points down to beat the Oilers. But this was a historic comeback, nonetheless.
The Chiefs started the day 1-7 in their last eight playoff games at home, and early on, it looked like another loss was definitely on the way.
Then, a jaw-dropping first quarter was followed by a head-spinning second.
Kansas City set an NFL postseason record with touchdowns on seven consecutive drives.
It was not only one of the wildest games in memory, but the highest-scoring first half in NFL postseason history, with the teams accounting for 52 points.
(That was three points more than the previous mark, set in the 2009 divisional round, when New Orleans built a 35-14 lead on Arizona.)
The first quarter was all Texans. The visitors built a three-touchdown lead with a 54-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Kenny Stills, a blocked punt that led to a 10-yard scoop and score by Lonnie Johnson, and a four-yard scoring reception by Darren Fells.
When Houston opened the second quarter with a field goal, Arrowhead was so quiet you could have heard a dream drop.
But that’s when the Chiefs came alive. Mahomes threw four touchdown passes in 10 minutes, 10 seconds — three of them to tight end Travis Kelce, to stunningly claim a 28-24 lead.
The astounding comeback started with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Damien Williams.
Mahomes inked his name in the NFL record books alongside former Washington Redskins quarterback Doug Williams as the only players to throw four touchdown passes in a single quarter of a postseason game. Williams did so in the second quarter a come-from-behind Super Bowl victory over the Denver Broncos.
Likewise, Kelce’s three touchdown passes in a quarter were an NFL postseason record.