Dec 18, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Jerick McKinnon (1) runs with the ball and scores a touchdown during overtime as Houston Texans cornerback Tremon Smith (1) defends at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
The Houston Texans, despite being outgained by almost 300 yards (502-219), battled the Kansas Chiefs through four quarters and overtime before a Davis Mills fumble midway through the overtime period set the Chiefs up deep in Houston territory. One play later, Jerick McKinnon took a handoff over left guard 26 yards for the game-winning score as the Texans fell to the Chiefs, 30-24.
The Texans’ two-quarterback system was in full effect again on Sunday, and while it didn’t pile up the yards, it resulted in near mistake-free, opportunistic football for almost 65 minutes. Houston reached the end zone three times in four red zone opportunities, and five of their 18 first downs were thanks to Kansas City penalties. The 2-1 edge in the turnover battle and the 69-yard edge in penalty yards (102-33) kept the Texans in this one all the way and in the lead for much of the contest when the stat sheet said they had no business being within hailing distance.
Mills was a pedestrian 12-of-24 for 121 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He added five carries for 21 yards and a score. His fumble in overtime, Houston’s only turnover of the afternoon, ultimately cost the Texans the game. The other half of the two-headed QB attack for Houston, Jeff Driskel was 2-for-4 for 8 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, along with four rushes for 8 yards.
Houston struck first late in the opening quarter; a Davis Mills 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end Teagan Quitoriano capped an 11-play, 80-yard drive to put the Texans up 7-0. A 34-yard completion down the right sideline to wide receiver Chris Moore on second-and-11 was a huge play in this drive for Houston.
The Chiefs answered right back on their next possession with a 20-yard TD pass from Patrick Mahomes to Jerick McKinnon to square it at seven.
After Desmond King recovered Isiah Pacheco’s fumble at the Kansas City 17, Davis Mills raced into the end zone on the second play of the drive to put Houston back on top. The 17-yard TD run was the longest rush of Mills’ NFL career.
After the two clubs exchanged punts, the Chiefs took over at their own 3 with just over 4 minutes until halftime. Kansas City would embark on a precision 13-play, 97-yard drive that ended with a Marquez Valdez-Scantling 4-yard TD catch in the waning seconds of the half. Harrison Butker would miss the extra point to send the Texans into halftime up 14-13.
The Chiefs would take their first of the afternoon on Harrison Butker’s 27-yard field goal with just under 6 minutes gone in the third quarter.
Later in the third quarter, Kansas City’s second lost fumble of the game, a play where JuJu Smith-Schuster was ruled down by contact but was changed to a fumble after a successful challenge by Lovie Smith, set up the Texans with another short field. Seven plays and 49 yards later, Houston was in the end zone again, thanks to a Jordan Akins 12-yard touchdown reception from Davis Mills, and back in front, 21-16.
Kansas City answered right back with a nine-play, 84-yard drive that ate up over 4 minutes, spanning the latter portion of the third and early portion of the fourth quarter. After a successful 2-point conversion, the Chiefs led 24-21 with 12:05 left in regulation.
A Ka’imi Fairbairn 29-yard FG on the Texans’ sole red zone drive not to end up in a touchdown squares knots it at 24 with 5:14 left in the fourth quarter.
After Harrison Butker missed a 51-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds of regulation, Houston took a knee and set up overtime.
After the Texans defense forced a punt, giving the ball to Houston at their own 13, disaster struck. A first-down scramble resulted in a fumble by Davis Mills, which Willie Gay recovered for the Chiefs at the Texans 26. On the very next play, Jerick McKinnon scampers in from 26 yards out to deal Houston a devastating 30-24 defeat.
With the win, the Chiefs improve to 11-3 and clinch the AFC West, while the loss drops the Texans to 1-12-1.
Up next for the Texans is a date on the road with division rival Tennessee on Sunday at noon.