It has been nine long years in these here parts since the Tennessee Titans tasted a playoff win. This was the goal Saturday after the team had just made the playoffs for the first time since 2008. It was once again another cold afternoon in Kanas City that brought back memories of a Titans comeback last year. In that game, the Titans were down 17-3 before getting the win on a Ryan Succop field goal as time expired.
Yesterday, it looked like this game would not produce the same results. The first half saw KC QB Alex Smith have the best first half a QB has ever had in the playoffs. He threw for over 200 yards, barely missed a pass and had two touchdowns. His RB, rookie Kareem Hunt, and WR Tyreke Hill could not be stopped. TE Travis Kelce, I feel the best TE in the game, took it to Tennesse as well before leaving with a concussion and the result was a 21-3 halftime lead that, for all intent and purpose, left the Blue for dead. Oh, the Chiefs would never score again.
This was one of those games that needed one of those good halftime speeches in the locker room. I am not sure who said what, but what followed put a frenzy in Nashville and Titans fans. The first half may have been dominated by KC, but the second half was a whole different monster.
Tennesse received the third quarter kickoff and proceeded to go 91 yards on 15 plays. The highlights of the drive included Marcus Mariota scrambling for 11 yards on a third and nine for a first down. On second and six from their own 45, he hit Derrick Henry with a pass for 26 yards and on the next play, Henry went for 12 to give his team first and 10 from the 14. On second down, Mariota would take off for 10 yards setting up one of the weirdest plays you can see.
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) January 6, 2018
After a penalty and a sack put Tennessee at the 6, Mariota scrambled around looking for a target to hit. What happened next baffled us all when the pass was tipped by a KC defender and landed right in the hand of Mariota. Yeah, a Mariota to Mariota touchdown pass that made it 21-10.
The domination would continue through the third and the defense did their part holding KC to a punt and a missed field goal. Another drive saw Mariota go back to work and six plays later Henry gutted KC for 35 yards to hit paydirt. The two-point conversion failed, but it was now 21-16 KC with memories of last year now on everyone’s mind.
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) January 7, 2018
Another defensive stand and another long drive for Tennessee (11 plays 80 yards) gave the Titans the lead at 22-21, but they missed another two-point conversion. From there, the defense did the rest and the Tennessee Titans finished a remarkable comeback and now head to round two of the NFL playoffs.
Once again, Mariota showed that crunch time is his time as he scrambled and passed his way to victory. He would finish the game going 19-31 for 205 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Henry, who said he ran soft last week, ran like a monster and finished his best game as a pro with 156 yards on 23 carries. The thing of beauty to watch was seeing him break down the KC defense as the game wore on. The NFL will always have their share of fourth-quarter running backs and Henry sure is one of them.
Now, the team waits for the outcome of the Bills/Jags game today to see if they will play the Patriots or the Steelers. Okay, not something to look forward to, but for now this win will be cherished for a few days before getting back to work.