QB Patrick Mahomes leads comeback as Chiefs rally past Texans

Chiefs Texans Football
Chiefs Texans Football
APTOPIX Chiefs Texans Football
Chiefs Texans Football
Chiefs Texans Football
Chiefs Texans Football
Posted at 3:41 PM, Dec 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-18 18:38:42-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City clinched its seventh straight AFC West title Sunday at NRG Stadium in Houston, but the Texans didn’t make it easy.

The Chiefs trailed throughout most of the game before rallying for a 30-24 victory in overtime after missing a chance to close out the win in regulation.

Houston (1-12-1) has now lost nine straight and remains winless at home, while Kansas City reached the postseason for the eighth consecutive season and ninth time in coach Andy Reid’s 10 seasons with the franchise.

“Our fans were unbelievable today,” Kansas City coach Andy Reid said. “I think we had more fans than maybe what the Texans had. It was great to see all that red, and I think that helped us with all the support down in overtime.”

Kicker Harrison Butker whiffed on a 51-yard field goal in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter and the Chiefs’ first drive in overtime fizzled when quarterback Patrick Mahomes was sacked.

But defensive end Frank Clark knocked the ball free from a scrambling quarterback Davis Mills on Houston’s ensuing drive, linebacker Willie Gay Jr. won a wrestling match at the bottom of the pile for the loose ball, and running back Jerick McKinnon iced the victory with a 26-yard touchdown run on the next snap for the comeback win.

"That was a big play," said Mahomes, who finished 36 of 41 for 336 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. "That's why we have guys like Frank on the team."

He reminded McKinnon to keep two hands on the ball on the next offensive snap, but McKinnon said he was scoring to end the game.

“It was great blocking, man,” said McKinnon, who had two touchdowns for the second straight game and finished with 122 yards from scrimmage, including eight catches for 70 yards. “I didn’t even get touched on the play. They made it easy for me.”

Mahomes completed his final 20 passes, including all 19 passes in the second half. He's topped 300 yards in eight of his last nine games.

His favorite targets Sunday were tight end Travis Kelce, who finished with 10 catches for 105 yards, and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who also had 10 receptions for 88 yards.

Kelce extended his own NFL record with his 34th career 100-yard game, the most in league history by a tight end, and also passed Shannon Sharpe for fourth place among tight ends in career receiving yards.

The Chiefs outgained the Texans 502-223 and had 15 more first downs (33-18), but two turnovers and 10 penalties for 102 yards, kept the game close.

“We have a lot to work on and clean up at least with the turnovers and the penalties, but you have to celebrate,” Mahomes said. “We still won the AFC West and you have to enjoy that.”

Houston, which alternated between Mills and Jeff Driskel at quarterback, took the lead late in the first quarter on an 8-yard pass from Mills to rookie tight end Teagan Quitoriano and led throughout much of the game.

Kansas City finally got on the board early in the second quarter when Mahomes connected with McKinnon for the third time in the last two weeks, this time on a 20-yard touchdown catch and run.

Running back Isiah Pacheco’s fumble, his fourth overall and second lost fumble of the season, on the Chiefs’ next drive gave the Texans the ball in the red zone.

Two plays later, Mills scrambled 17 yards for another go-ahead touchdown for Houston.

Kansas City had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds before halftime.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling caught a missile from Mahomes for a 4-yard touchdown in the right front corner of the end zone with 14 seconds left, but Harrison Butker hooked the extra point allowing Houston to maintain a one-point halftime lead at 14-13.

“For us to come out and start slow in games, it’s definitely not who we are, it’s not our identity, it’s not what we want,” McKinnon said. “Over the course of the season, a lot of things happen that aren’t pretty and aren’t the nicest, but we just find a way to win and that’s all that matters.”

Butker’s 27-yard field goal capped the opening drive of the second half and provided Kansas City’s first lead, but another fumble — this one by JuJu Smith-Schuster — set up Houston near midfield.

The Chiefs’ defense was flagged for five penalties on the ensuing Texans drive, including one that was declined on Mills’ 12-yard touchdown to Jordan Akins for a 21-16 lead.

Mills finished 12 of 24 for 121 yards with three total touchdowns, including one rushing, but it was his fumble that proved to be the difference in overtime.

Kansas City answered with yet another long touchdown drive as Mahomes capped an 84-yard march with a 5-yard touchdown scramble.

He then dropped a short pass on a middle screen to McKinnon for a two-point conversion and a 24-21 lead.

Houston reached the 9-yard line, but settled for a game-tying 29-yard Ka’imi Fairbairn field goal with 5:11 remaining.

Butker had a chance to win the game in regulation, but he pushed a potential game-winning 51-yard field goal wide right — his fifth miss of the season, which is the most he’s ever had in his six NFL seasons.

Pacheco bounced back after the fumble, finishing with 15 carries for 86 yards and adding an 11-yard reception.

Safety Justin Reid, who played his first four NFL seasons in Houston before signing as a free agent with Kansas City, made six tackles against his former team. Linebacker Nick Bolton led the Chiefs with seven tackles.