The Tennessee Titans pulled off a miraculous comeback win in their Wildcard Round game Saturday afternoon in Kansas City.
Kansas City was in complete control for the entire first half, and scored two early touchdowns to go up 14-0 in the first quarter. When the Titans were finally moving the ball, Marcus Mariota threw a terrible interception just outside of the red zone. Tennessee got on the board via a Ryan Succop 49 yard field goal with 1:55 remaining in the half. The Titans needed a stop before the half to build momentum for the third quarter, but K.C. drove down the field and scored with 3 seconds left, giving the Chiefs a 21-3 lead at the break.
The Titans got the ball to start the third quarter and had to reach the end zone to have any chance of making it a game. Tennessee had a touchdown called back due to a penalty, but that lead to the highlight play of the game. On third and goal from the 6 yard line, Mariota rolled to his left and tried to throw on the run, but the ball was batted back at the line of scrimmage. Mariota caught it in the air, and ran into the end zone for a touchdown.
On the ensuing drive, the Titans defense forced a 3 and out, but Adoree’ Jackson fumbled the punt and gave the ball back to Kansas City inside of field goal range. That was the most Titans thing that could have happened, but Tennessee’s defense stood up again and Harrison Butker missed a 48 yard field goal, leaving the Titans with life.
Tennessee went to the 4th quarter down 21-10, but Derrick Henry ripped off a 35 yard touchdown run on the second play of the quarter. The Titans went for two to try to cut the deficit to 3, but they were unable to convert. Eric Decker caught the go-ahead touchdown pass on the next drive to give the Titans a 22-21 lead, but what happened next was the story of the game.
Mike Mularkey opted to go for two so Kansas City would not be able to win the game with a field goal. Mariota came out in the shotgun, and fumbled the ball. The Chiefs picked it up and ran it all the way back for two points, putting them ahead by one point, but the referees ruled that Mariota’s forward progress had been stopped before the ball came out. The two points were taken off the board, and Tennessee retained their one point lead.
The Chiefs then turned the ball over on downs, and then Derrick Henry sealed the game with a 22 yard run on third down.
Most of the talk after the game was about the officiating. The biggest call of the game was the forward progress ruling on the failed two point conversion late in the game, but there were a handful of other questionable calls throughout the game. The other big story was that this was the second time Andy Reid’s team has blown an 18 point lead or larger in a playoff game while he has been in Kansas City.
Marcus Mariota is getting a lot of the credit for leading the Titans to victory, but Derrick Henry was the real offensive hero of the game. Last week we said that Henry would have to have a big game for the Titans to have a chance, and he had a massive game. He had 156 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and he also had 6 catches for 74 yards. Henry averaged almost 7 yards per carry against the K.C. defense.
Give the Titans defense a lot of credit too. After getting carved up for 21 points in the first half, Dick LeBeau’s defense pitched a shutout in the second half.
It was not pretty, but the Titans found a way to win a playoff game on the road after being down by 18 at the half, and being -2 in the turnover battle. It does not get any easier for Tennessee though. Now they have to travel to Foxborough to face the top-seeded Patriots this weekend. Kickoff is set for 7:15 CT Saturday night, and will be aired on CBS.