Although they were underdogs in Sunday night’s game in Kansas City, the Titans played like a team with nothing to lose.
Their defense applied consistent pressure and covered Patrick Mahomes’ many receivers, which forced him to make quick decisions all night. However, in the end, it was not enough. In a thrilling comeback victory, the Chiefs tied the game late in the fourth quarter, took the lead in overtime, and then got the stop they needed to secure the victory.
In the 20-17 victory, Mahomes threw for a total of 446 yards on 68 attempts, coming within two of the NFL record. His legs were the key to his success, as he scored a touchdown and converted a two-point try on the ground to tie the score.
The Titans’ offense managed only two significant plays in the first half, one of which was a 56-yard run by Derrick Henry. In the second half, the Chiefs completely stifled their running game while also dominating time of possession.
Malik Willis, a first-year starter at quarterback in place of Ryan Tannehill, struggled with his passing when given opportunities. Only five of his passes were completed, and not a single one went to a wideout.
Henry rushed for 100 yards for the fifth game in a row, but he was unable to break free in the final minutes of the contest.
The Chiefs share first place in the AFC with the Bills and are separated from first place only by the tiebreaker of head-to-head results. The loss dropped the Titans to 5-3 overall, but they still lead the AFC South by a large margin.
The Sporting News provided live updates and highlights during Sunday Night Football’s matchup between Kansas City and Tennessee. Relive the action from Week 9’s game if you missed any of it.
Titans Vs. Chiefs Score
Why The Chiefs Won
The Chiefs were in dire need of a running game, but Isiah Pacheco, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Jerick McKinnon were unable to provide one. The trio managed only 14 rushing yards on 12 carries.
Tennessee was content to sit back in coverage and bottle things up in the secondary due to the Titans’ inability to establish a ground game. So, Patrick Mahomes decided to use his own two feet to solve the problem. He led the team in rushing with 63 yards and his contributions on the ground ultimately decided the outcome of the game for the Chiefs.
Mahomes’s fourth-quarter touchdown drive featured three notable scrambles: a third-and-17 conversion, a touchdown, and a two-point conversion to tie the game.
Although his rushing efforts will get all the attention, Mahomes also made great use of his legs to extend plays and set up passes downfield. On a third-and-inches play in overtime, he rolled out and threw a sensational 27-yard pass to Noah Gray, moving the ball deep into Tennessee territory and setting up the game-winning field goal.
The Chiefs did an excellent job stopping Tennessee’s most dangerous offensive weapon, Derrick Henry. Henry ran for 92 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, but K.C.’s defense limited him to just 23 yards on eight carries in the second half and overtime.
Causes Of The Titans’ Defeat
Tennessee started setting the tone for how rough the game would get from the very beginning. The Titans’ physical play, especially on defense, was noticeable throughout the contest and disrupted Kansas City’s rhythm.
While constantly trying to get Mahomes out of the pocket, they were able to get four sacks and eight quarterback hits on him. With Derrick Henry crashing through the line of scrimmage, the offense was throwing similar haymakers.
Although the Titans’ aggressive play style helped them to a 14-6 halftime lead over the Chiefs, the team’s inability to pass the ball ultimately doomed them.
The physical approach was abandoned at some point in the second half,
leaving Malik Willis in a position where he had to throw for the win while also trying to keep up with Patrick Mahomes. Moreover, he was unable to.
There was not a single catch made by a Titans wideout as Willis threw for a net loss of -2 yards in the second half and overtime.
Late in regulation, when the Titans had a chance to go down the field and set up a game-winning drive, they were unable to do so due to their inability to move the ball through the air.
Tennessee got the ball back with under three minutes remaining after Mahomes’ touchdown run tied the game at 17. Willis threw an interception and took a sack, leading to a three-and-out and a loss of four yards for the offense.
The Titans got the ball back with 35 seconds left in the game, giving them one last chance, but Willis threw three straight incompletions and the team had to punt.
Willis threw an interception on fourth down to seal the victory for Kansas City in overtime after being sacked twice.
At the 7:11 mark of the fourth quarter, with the Titans up 17-9, Patrick Mahomes faced a third-and-17 from his own 31. If the Chiefs failed to score,
they would have been forced to punt to a Tennessee offense that would have been thrilled to hand the ball to Derrick Henry in an effort to run out the clock and increase the Titans’ chances of pulling off the upset.
To gain 20 yards while under pressure from the Titans’ defensive linebackers, Mahomes used his left hand to great effect.
In a pattern that would repeat itself throughout the evening, pressure forced Mahomes out of the pocket, and he used his elusiveness to avoid a sack and gain first down.
The latest Chiefs vs. Titans odds from Caesars Sportsbook have Kansas City as 13.5-point favorites, with the over/under, or Vegas’s prediction of how many points will be scored, set at 45.
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