Tennessee Titans 22 @ Kansas City Chiefs 21
THE KANSAS CITY Chiefs failed to score in the second half as the Tennessee Titans scored 19 unanswered points to win their AFC Wildcard game in the early hours of Sunday Morning.
A touchdown with three seconds remaining in the first half looked to have given the home side an unassailable 21-3 lead, especially as the score capped a 15-play, 91-yard drive that took over eight minutes off the clock.
However, the Titans — who won’t know their Divisional round opponent until the result of Buffalo @ Jacksonville — mounted an improbable comeback kick-started by Marcus Mariota passing to himself for a touchdown.
The quarterback was scrambling inside the 10-yard line on the opening drive of the third quarter and tried to fire a pass to Corey Davis in the back of the end zone.
Chiefs cornerback Darrelle Revis jumped up to block the throw, but succeeded only in deflecting the ball back to Mariota, who caught it and dove into the pylon for the score.
Mariota to Mariota! pic.twitter.com/toCiPTjj7Y— Kevin Wade (@KwadeSays) January 6, 2018
Despite Kareem Hunt winning the NFL’s rushing title, the Chiefs failed to get the ball into his hands — the running back had just 11 touches — and were made to pay when Derrick Henry galloped in for a 35-yard run one minute into the fourth quarter.
After the failed two-point conversion, the gap was down to five points and, with Kansas City failing to move the football, the Titans grew in confidence.
With just over six minutes to play, Mariota took a more traditional route to the end zone when he found Eric Decker on a 22-yard pass to give the Titans a 22-21 lead.
Once more, the two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful but Decker’s grab would prove to be the last score of the game as the Titans won their first playoff game in 14 years.
For their part, the Chiefs appeared unable to recover from the loss of Travis Kelce when the tight end — who had four catches for 66 yards and a score – sustained a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet hit late in the first half.
The loss means that Kansas City fans have not seen their side win a home playoff game since 1994, when the Joe Montana led them to victory over the Houston Oilers — the Tennessee Titans’ former name — and Warren Moon.
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