KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It sure looked daunting. Last Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, the Kansas City Chiefs fell behind the Houston Texans, 24-0, early in the second quarter of their divisional round playoff game.

The Chiefs (13-4) got everything right the rest of the way. And their 51-31 victory propelled them into an AFC championship game match-up Sunday with Tennessee (11-7), which has merely knocked off the Patriots and top-seeded Ravens – on the road, no less – to reach the precipice of the Super Bowl.

Tennessee Coach Mike Vrabel won three Super Bowls with the New England Patriots. Now he has the Titans one win from their first Super Bowl appearance in 20 years. Charles Krupa/Associated Press

It will be the first time coaching this deep in the playoffs for the Titans’ Mike Vrabel, but it’s certainly familiar territory to his counterpart. Andy Reid had the Chiefs in the same position a year ago, when they lost in overtime to New England – and he led the Eagles to five NFC championship games during his 14 years in Philadelphia.

Experience is great. Successful experience is better, and that is where Reid falls short. His only conference title came during the 2004 season, when the Eagles lost the Super Bowl to the Patriots. And who should be on the New England roster that night but a game-wrecking linebacker named Vrabel, who even caught a touchdown pass.

Vrabel may not have any experience in this position as a coach, but he has plenty as a player. He lifted the Lombardi Trophy three times with New England before finishing his career – coincidentally – with two seasons in Kansas City.

“I spent 14 years in the National Football League,” Vrabel said, “and I don’t even know how many playoff games, but those were good experiences about preparation and really focusing on what got us to this point from where we were at different points in the season. And then, there’s also things that I have to do as a coach to make sure that we’re ready.”

On offense, that means pounding away with running back Derrick Henry and getting just enough production from Ryan Tannehill, just as the Titans did during a back-and-forth Week 10 win over the Chiefs.

On defense, it means slowing down the aerial assault of quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his fleet of game-changing playmakers: running back Damien Williams, tight end Travis Kelce and wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins.

“I think there is a belief in one another, first and foremost,” Tannehill said. “We’ve been through a lot this season, ups and downs, and won games in a lot of different ways. With that comes a lot of belief and a lot of confidence in one another.”

The Chiefs have plenty of confidence in their own right. They haven’t lost since that game in Tennessee, and their comeback last week gave them the belief they can overcome anything. Their offense is still shattering records, and a retooled defense under new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has been playing as well as any in the league.

“I think that with the Titans, the physicality and determination they play with is big,” Mahomes said.

“They’re going to get after it and fight for every single yard. Their defense is going to fly around to the ball and not give up on anything. We’re just trying to match that. We’re going to go out there and give it everything we have to come out with a victory.”

HISTORIC RUN

Henry already has made history as the first player in the Super Bowl era to run for at least 180 yards in three consecutive games, and nobody has more yards rushing over the first four postseason games than his 561. He also has the three best games in Titans history for yards from scrimmage, set the franchise’s single-game postseason rushing mark in each of the past two weeks, and he even threw a jump pass for a touchdown in their 28-12 win in Baltimore.

MORE MAHOMES

Last week, Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes became the first player to throw for at least 300 yards, run for at least 50 and throw five TD passes in a playoff game. Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Seemingly forgotten during the brilliant season of the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson, Mahomes has again put together an MVP-caliber resume.

He kept it going in the playoffs, too, becoming the first player to throw for at least 300 yards, run for at least 50 and throw five TD passes in a playoff game last week against Houston. He’s also healthy after ankle and knee injuries this season, including one that hobbled him in Week 10 against Tennessee.

TITANS DEFENSE

The Titans have gotten back to the stingy defense they played much of the season, including the first seven games, when they didn’t allow an opponent to score more than 20 points. They’ve allowed only two touchdowns on seven chances inside their 20, thanks in part to the return of injured cornerback Adoree’ Jackson. Defensive captain and defensive lineman Jurrell Casey says they wanted to make sure to try to match what the offense has been doing.

“And it’s just guys locking back in,” Casey said.

CATCHING KELCE

The Chiefs’ Travis Kelce became the first player with three postseason touchdown catches in one quarter in last week’s comeback win over Houston. It was another highlight in another Pro Bowl season for the tight end, who has been dealing with some minor knee pain during the postseason but should be ready to go Sunday.

“Just got to keep your foot on the gas pedal,” he said. “You can’t get too excited; you can’t get a sense of relief like, ‘Oh, we’re back in the game.’ You got to keep going forward and know that you’ve got a lot of unfinished business.”

ANCIENT HISTORY

The Titans haven’t won a conference championship since 1999 and haven’t appeared in a title game since 2002, though to the Chiefs, that probably seems like yesterday.

It has been 50 years since they played in the Super Bowl, and they ache to give owner Clark Hunt the AFC championship trophy that bears the name of his father, team founder Lamar Hunt.

“We’re going to put the pressure on ourselves to find a way to win it,” Mahomes said. “When you fall that short and that close last year, the next step is to get to the Super Bowl. We understood that going into this season and we know it’s a long season. We know it’s a process. We know that day by day we have to get better. I think that’s what this team is great at, just getting better every single day and then going out and fighting until the end in every single opportunity we get.”

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