Someone needs to tell these Tennessee Titans (8-6) that they are not supposed to win big games such as this.
Facing a Kansas City Chiefs (10-4) team that has won eight of their previous nine games entering today’s contest, the Titans reeled off a 19-17 win on Sunday thanks to a game-winning 53-yard field goal by kicker Ryan Succop as time expired.
Things got off to a hot start for the Chiefs when rookie receiver Tyreek Hill raced 68 yards for a touchdown early in the first quarter. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith followed that score with a 10-yard touchdown run on their very next drive. His touchdown was a result of a fumble recovery by Chiefs safety Daniel Sorenson on the previous drive by the Titans.
A young Titans team that is led by quarterback Marcus Mariota has found the art of resiliency this season. Wins over Chicago, Denver, and Detroit were evidence of a team that did not want to fold the chairs and call it a day. A four-yard touchdown run by rookie running back Derrick Henry drew the Titans a little closer with a 14-7 deficit in the second quarter. That trend of resiliency began to surface at that point for Tennessee.
Another touchdown run by Henry trimmed the Chiefs lead to just 17-16 with a little over three minutes remaining in the game. After a three-and-out by the Chiefs on the ensuing drive, Mariota orchestrated a 40-yard drive to get the Titans in range for the field goal. That drive included a 15-yard conversion by Mariota to tight end Delanie Walker on 3rd-and-4 at midfield with 21 seconds remaining.
Succop, who once kicked for the Chiefs from 2009-2013, was 16-of-18 in field goals coming into the game but his 53-yarder as time expired was his most important kick on the season. Which also kept the Titans playoff hopes alive.
For the Chiefs, Smith tossed for just 168 yards and an interception. Outside of Hill’s 68-yarder, the Chiefs were held to just 90 rushing yards on the game. Also, Chiefs receiver Jeremy Maclin hauled in six catches for 82 yards on the day.
The run game for the Titans has been productive all year and was key today for Tennessee with 147 yards between Henry (58 yards, two TDs) and starter DeMarco Murray (89 yards). Despite three turnovers by the Titans offense, they were still able to pull off 6.2 yards per play and post 389 total yards on the day. With the win coupled with the Texans win over the division rival Jacksonville Jaguars, the Titans are tied for first place with Houston. The Texans own the tiebreaker thanks to a week four win over Tennessee.
The loss for the Chiefs comes at an inopportune time after reeling off a string of wins to have themselves placed in the upper echelon of the league.