Kansas City Chiefs fans went through all the excitement on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. They ended with immense joy, that of seeing their team qualify for its second American Conference final (AFC) in a row thanks to its victory over the Houston Texans (51-21). But after twenty minutes of play, it was silence that reigned in one of the loudest speakers in the league. Houston had just climbed the score to 24-0 in his favor.
Everything was going awry for the Chiefs who could not catch a ball for the receivers and who made gross errors like this breakaway on 54 yards from receiver Kenny Stills (7-0, 4th), this clearance countered shortly after (14 -0, 5th) or even this ball lost upon receipt of an opposing clearance, which led to Houston’s third touchdown when the first quarter was not yet finished (21-0, 14th).
And then the match was totally over in a few minutes. A kick-off return from Mecole Hardman on 58 yards and two long passes by Patrick Mahomes put Kansas City and its audience back in the game (24-7, 21st). The result was an incredible festival of the Chiefs who registered six touchdowns in a row (4 to the pass, 2 to the race) in the space of 20 minutes (41-24, 41st).
Stunned, the Texans never recovered despite a small reaction of pride on a touchdown in the race of Deshaun Watson (41-31, 45th). It is even Kansas City who scored the only points of the last quarter (51-21) to validate the fourth largest comeback in the history of the NFL play-offs (the record belongs to the Buffalo Bills, authors of a return 32 points in 1992). The Chiefs are only one victory away from playing their first Super Bowl since 1969. They will have to have, at home, the Tennessee Titans, the surprise of this final phase.
This is the first time in NFL playoff history that a team led by at least 20 points in a game ended up winning by a margin of at least 20 points.
In the National Conference, the scenario between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks was not so crazy, but there was suspense until the end. Green Bay, at home and in the cold (-9 ° C temperature felt), held on late in the game to win 28-23 and return to the Conference final for the first time since 2016. Receiver Davante Adams was decisive for the Packers with 8 receptions, 160 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers was particularly effective in the decisive moments (16 successful passes out of 27, 243 yards passing and 2 touchdown assists).
The Seahawks will no doubt regret having needed a half to find the right fuel in attack, their delay of eighteen points at the break (21-3) proved insurmountable. In the Conference Finals, the Packers will travel to the San Francisco 49ers for a clash between two of the league’s most popular franchises, which have already been played eight times in the play-offs but never for a Super Bowl ticket, which will have take place on February 2 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.