Not again, Houston: Texans inexplicably blow enormous lead before halftime, Chiefs storm back for blowout win

At least the Houston Texans didn’t have the biggest collapse in NFL history. Not even the biggest collapse in Houston pro football history.

For any longtime Houston fan who switched allegiances from the Oilers to the Texans, Sunday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs brought back some bad memories.

The Texans became the first team in the 100 seasons of the NFL, regular season or playoffs, to take a 24-point lead in the first half and not even lead the game by halftime. The Chiefs became the first team in NFL postseason history to have seven straight touchdown drives, which means the Texans became the first playoff team to allow seven straight touchdown drives.

It wasn’t exactly the infamous playoff game in which the Houston Oilers blew a 35-3 lead to the Buffalo Bills and lost, but the Texans’ 51-31 loss to the Chiefs was gruesome in its own way. The Chiefs move on to the AFC championship game. They’ll host the Tennessee Titans next Sunday.

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The first quarter was like a dream for Houston. The rest was an avalanche of mistakes, from physical errors to coaching ineptitude.

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Kansas City Chiefs star quarterback Patrick Mahomes
LUBBOCK, TX - NOVEMBER 15: Patrick Mahomes #5 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the game against the Oklahoma Sooners on November 15, 2014 at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. Oklahoma won the game 42-30. (Photo by John Weast/Getty Images)
NORMAN, OK - OCTOBER 24: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes II #5 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders gestures to his players during the first half of their loss against the Oklahoma Sooners on October 24, 2015 at the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. (Photo by Jackson Laizure/Getty Images)
MORGANTOWN, WV - NOVEMBER 07: Patrick Mahomes #5 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders in action during the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers on November 7, 2015 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
MANHATTAN, KS - OCTOBER 08: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes II #5 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders warms up prior to a game against the Kansas State Wildcats on October 8, 2016 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas. (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: Football quarterback and NFL draft prospect Patrick Mahomes visits SiriusXM Studios on April 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 03: Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine on March 3, 2017 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 11: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) before an NFL week 1 preseason game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs on August 11th, 2017 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. The 49ers won 27-17. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) scrambles for a first down at the end of the first quarter against the Tennessee Titans at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. (John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 10: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) before an AFC West showdown between the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs on December 10, 2017 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) takes the field for his first NFL regular season start, against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, at Sports Authority Field in Denver. The Chiefs won, 27-24. (David Eulitt/Kansas City Star/TNS via Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - JANUARY 06: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) before the AFC Wild Card game between the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs on January 6, 2018 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 25: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) looks on during game action in a preseason NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Chicago Bears on August 25, 2018 at Soldier Field in Chicago IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 25: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) throws the football during game action in a preseason NFL game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Chicago Bears on August 25, 2018 at Soldier Field in Chicago IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 16: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs in action during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on September 16, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 23: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks up at the scoreboard during the third quarter of the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Arrowhead Stadium on September 23rd, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 23: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) handles the football in action during an NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs on September 23, 2018, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 1: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs scores a second-quarter rushing touchdown, the first of his NFL career, against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High on October 1, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 1: Patrick Mahomes (15) of the Kansas City Chiefs looks to sidelines during the third quarter against the Denver Broncos. The Denver Broncos hosted the Kansas City Chiefs at Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver, Colorado on Monday, October 1, 2018. (Photo by Eric Lutzens/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
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Texans were in control for first quarter

The Texans were on their way to the AFC championship game, until Bill O'Brien foolishly changed his mind and took a field goal on fourth-and-1.

The Texans were in total control of the game at that point. It was 21-0. The Chiefs imploded in the first quarter, with a blocked punt returned for a touchdown and a muffed punt setting up another. Because Kansas City has a great offense it didn’t seem like the game was over, but close. The Texans could have delivered the knockout blow. They backed off.

On fourth-and-short deep in Chiefs territory, the Texans left their offense on the field. That made sense. Then there was a timeout, and O’Brien changed his mind. CBS showed him on the sideline yelling, perhaps at himself for not following through on going for it. The Texans kicked a field goal. And that was the start of the collapse.

The Chiefs got a long kickoff return after that, and the game was never the same. Kansas City was unstoppable for seven straight possessions. Finally the Texans kept the Chiefs out of the end zone on the eighth drive, giving up just a field goal. Part of the comeback was the Chiefs stopping a Texans fake punt in Houston territory on a great tackle by safety Daniel Sorensen. The fake punt call itself was fine, but surely didn’t align with the decision to kick a field goal on fourth down and a foot to go. The Chiefs scored a touchdown after that, then the Texans fumbled the ensuing kickoff.

You won’t see many games turn around so quickly and decisively.

Houston made some history by giving up the lead before halftime, and not the kind of history you want to be remembered for. The Chiefs’ comeback ties for the fourth largest comeback win in NFL playoff history.

Chiefs play almost perfect football for three quarters

The Texans had help in blowing their 24-point lead.

The Chiefs played incredible football from the second quarter on. Tight end Travis Kelce shook off an early third-down drop to take over the game, with three touchdowns in the second quarter. Patrick Mahomes joined Doug Williams as the only quarterbacks in NFL playoff history to throw four touchdowns in one quarter. The defense clamped down on Deshaun Watson and the Texans offense. The Chiefs outscored a playoff team 51-7 over three quarters after their horrendous start. It was an impressive performance.

Still, it’s really hard to lead a game by 24 points and end up getting blown out, and the Texans somehow pulled it off. According to CBS, the Chiefs were the first team in playoff history to win by 20 points after trailing by at least 20 points. For all the talk about the Chiefs’ heartbreak through the years, Houston has never been to a Super Bowl. The Oilers couldn’t do it. The Texans haven’t done it. The Texans haven’t even made a conference championship game. They certainly had a good shot on Sunday.

The Chiefs move on, with a golden opportunity to go to their first Super Bowl since the 1969 season. The Texans go home for the offseason, wondering how a 24-0 lead could turn into such a nightmare.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

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