Saturday night the Tennessee Titans rallied from an 18 point second half deficient to shock the heavily favored Kansas City Chiefs 22-21.
What went wrong?
Here is a gameplay rundown of the collapse.
With 6:06 left in regulation Marcus Mariota (205 yards 2 TD’s) threw his 2nd touchdown pass of the half, a 22 yard strike to first year Titan Eric Decker (2 catches 21 yards 1 TD) who managed to hold onto the ball as he had to absorb a hit from Chiefs DB Eric Murray in the end zone.
On the ensuing possession the Chiefs would move the ball into Titan territory and find themselves in a 4th and 9 at the Titan 44 with 2:15 to play. They had 2 options, go for it, or punt, pin the Titans deep in there own end and use your their timeouts with the 2 minute warning to get the ball back.
Andy Reid decided to go for it, with Alex Smith (264 yards 2 TD’s) in the shotgun he tried to hit Albert Wilson (2 catches 26 yards) deep over the middle but the ball just tipped off his fingertips and the ball went back to Tennessee. The Chiefs still had a chance to get the ball back, after Derrick Henry (156 yards) ran for a 12 yard gain on first down the clock would stop for the 2 minute warning, still leaving the Chiefs with 3 timeouts.
On the first play after the 2 minute warning Henry was hit behind the line and fumbled the ball, it was picked up by Derrick Johnson and returned 56 yards for a touchdown. After watching the replay you could see that Henry was down by contact so the touchdown was taken off the board. On second down Henry was stuffed at the line, this set up a 3rd a long with 1:53 left.
With Mariota in shotgun, he would hand the ball to Henry, Henry would hesitate at the line as there was some penetration, this allowed Mariota to get in in front of him, he would throw a block that would spring Henry for 22 yards and sealed the win.
The Chiefs would get the scoring started in this contest, after both teams punted on their first possessions Kansas City would start their second possession at their own 19. Facing a 3rd and 3 Alex Smith found Tyreek Hill (7 catches 87 yards) open on the right side for a 45 yard catch and run to set the Chiefs up at the Titans 29.
After a 27 yard connection to Kelce (4 catches 66 yards 1 TD), 2 plays latter Kareem Hunt (42 yards 1 TD) punched it it from one yard out to give the Chiefs the 7-0 lead. On their next possession the Titans would again go 3 and out and 5 plays latter Smith would find Travis Kelce in the end zone for a 13 yard TD and now a 14-0 lead.
The Titans would answer with a 49 yard field goal with 1:55 left in the first half, after a 23 yard kick return by Charcandrick West the Chiefs were looking for more points before the end of the half. On 2nd and 18 Smith hit Travis Kelce cutting across the field for 12 yards but the Chiefs paid a high price, Kelce took a helmet to helmet hit from Titan Safety Johnathan Cyprien and would not return.
The Chiefs would score on a 14 yard pass from Smith to Demarcus Robinson (4 catches 57 yards 1 TD) with 3 seconds left to take a 21-3 lead. With Kelce out, Smith’s favorite target, the Chiefs would not score another point in this game.
Trailing 21-3 the first possession of the second half was very important for the Titans, after amassing just 119 yards in total offense in the first half they started the 2nd half out just as they needed, putting together a 15 play 91 yard drive capped by a playoff first.
Facing a 3rd a goal from the Chief 6 Mariota scrambled to his right to avoid the rush, it appeared that he was going to try and run for it but at the last second he decided to try and hit Corey Davis (4 catches 35 yards) in the back of the end zone, but the ball was batted down by Darrelle Revis right back into the hands of Mariota who caught the ball and dove for the end zone.
Mariota’s first playoff touchdown pass was to himself. “Right place right time” said a smiling Mariota after the game. With the score now 21-10 the Titans had some life, on the Chiefs next possession they forced a punt by the punt was muffed by Adoree’ Jackson and the Chiefs recovered.
They were however unable to convert that into points as the 48 yard field goal was missed by Harrison Butker. The Titans would take the ball over and 3 minutes latter Derrick Henry would break free for a 35 yard touchdown run to make it a 21-16 game.
The Titans will travel to New England this Saturday night to face the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. This figures to be a tough test for the Titans, the Patriots are currently a 13 point favorite.