By KRISTIE RIEKEN AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON (AP) — Wearing shirts that read “Conquered the West” and baseball caps commemorating their AFC West title, the Kansas City Chiefs celebrated winning the division for a seventh straight season after outlasting the Houston Texans in overtime Sunday.
Amid the jubilation, their star quarterback was quick to point out the feat was only the beginning of what they hope to do this season.
“When we start every season, the first thing we get told when we first walk in is let’s win the AFC West,” Patrick Mahomes said. “That’s our first goal … (and) we accomplished our first goal.”
Jerick McKinnon had a 26-yard touchdown run in overtime and the Chiefs got three touchdowns from Mahomes in the 30-24 win.
The Chiefs (11-3) got the ball first in overtime but had to punt it away after Mahomes was sacked by Blake Cashman on third down. Texans quarterback Davis Mills fumbled on a scramble on Houston’s first play, and it was recovered by Kansas City’s Willie Gay on the Texans’ 26.
McKinnon, who also had a TD reception, dashed untouched into the end zone on the next play.
He said Mahomes reminded him before the play to keep two hands on the ball.
“I said: ‘I’m about to score,'” McKinnon said. “Juju (Smith-Schuster) looked at me and said: ‘I’ve got your block, bro. Just find me when you get out there’. And it worked out exactly like that.”
Houston (1-12-1) tied it at 24 on a 29-yard field goal with about five minutes to go in the fourth quarter. The Chiefs had a chance to win it in regulation, but Harrison Butker’s 51-yard attempt was wide right.
Kansas City overcame two turnovers and a season-high 102 penalty yards to win for the seventh time in eight games.
Mills threw for 121 yards and two touchdowns sharing time at quarterback with Jeff Driskel. The Texans dropped their ninth straight game for their longest skid since losing the final 14 games of the 2013 season.
“That team out there has won one game but they’re not playing like that,” coach Lovie Smith said. “They’re showing up every day, taking coaching, getting better and coming into the game and giving ourselves a chance to win.”
Kansas City’s streak of division titles is tied with the Rams (1973-79) for the second-longest in NFL history behind the Patriots, who captured 11 in a row in the AFC East from 2009-2019.
“I think one of the most difficult things in the National Football League is consistent success,” Kansas City owner Clark Hunt said. “The rules are designed to make that difficult, whether that’s the draft or the salary cap. So, it’s a real testament to the job that general manager Brett Veach and coach Andy Reid have done over the last several years.”
The Chiefs trailed for much of the day and were behind by five early in the fourth quarter when Mahomes dashed in from 5 yards out. His 2-point conversion pass to McKinnon came next to give Kansas City a 24-21 lead.
Mahomes thew for 336 yards and had touchdown passes of 20 and 4 yards. He has 35 TD passes this season to become the fifth player in NFL history with 35 or more touchdown tosses in four or more seasons, joining Tom Brady (6), Aaron Rodgers (6), Drew Brees (4) and Peyton Manning (4).
Mahomes, who is from Tyler, Texas, and starred at Texas Tech, played his first NFL game in the state in his sixth professional season. The crowd was overwhelmingly made up of Chiefs fans, many of whom wore his No. 15 jersey. A handful donned his scarlet and black Texas Tech jersey.
The Chiefs piled up 502 yards to set a franchise record with their 19th straight game with at least 300 yards, and it was their ninth in a row with more than 400 yards.
Travis Kelce had 102 yards receiving and Smith-Schuster had 88 yards receiving for the Chiefs.
The Chiefs led 16-14 after a field goal early in the third and were driving again when Tremon Smith forced a fumble by Smith-Schuster that the Texans recovered near midfield. It wasn’t ruled a fumble initially, but Houston challenged the call and it was reversed.
Houston cashed in on the mistake when Mills threw a 12-yard TD to Jordan Akins on third down to make it 21-16.
Houston took a 7-0 lead when Mills connected with Teagan Quitoriano on an 8-yard TD throw late in the first quarter. That score was set up when the Chiefs were flagged for pass interference on third-and-10 two plays earlier to give the Texans a first down at the 4.
Mahomes connected with McKinnon for a 20-yard score on Kansas City’s next drive to tie it at 7-7.
Mario Addison forced a fumble by Isiah Pacheco later in the second quarter and the Texans recovered on the Kansas City 17. Two plays later Mills scrambled 17 yards for a score to put Houston on top 14-7.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling caught a 4-yard pass from Mahomes for a touchdown just before halftime, but the extra point sailed wide left to leave Houston up 14-13 at halftime.
Chiefs: Host Seattle on Saturday.
Texans: Visit Tennessee on Saturday.
By KRISTIE RIEKEN AP Sports Writer