I was bored out of my mind. After nine years of waiting to see the Tennessee Titans make the playoffs, the day had finally arrived. The only problem, the kickoff was at 4:30 pm. The time was moving as fast as an 80 year old on a crosswalk. There were several pregame shows but after a while it got repetitive. The temperature outside was well below freezing, so I wasn't going anywhere.
Finally, 4:30 rolled around. Excitement was in the air as the ABC cameras showed the Kansas City fans barbecuing outside the stadium. The Chiefs were also ready to go. In the first quarter they completely controlled the game. They scored two touchdowns and the Titans looks lifeless.
In the second quarter the Titans defense woke up. There wasn't much offense from either team. With three minutes until halftime, it was still 14-0. The Titans managed to put a drive together and were on the Chiefs 22 yard line. On 2nd and 4, instead of running the ball, keeping the clock running, and trying to pick up a first down, the Titans threw an incomplete pass into the end zone. On 3rd and 4, Mariota got sacked and fumbled the ball. BUT, the referee blew the whistle and ruled the quarterback's forward progress had stopped. And on 4th and 13, Tennessee kicked a 49 yard field goal to get on the scoreboard.
Kansas City got the ball back with 2 minutes to go and on the first play Tennessee sacked Smith. On second and long, Smith completed a pass to tight end Kelce. Kelce got hit in the helmet and sustained a game ending injury. But the Chiefs seemed to be just fine. They drove down the field and score a touchdown as the second quarter ended.
Halftime Score: Kansas City 21, Tennessee 3
It felt like mission impossible for the Titans. They had only scored three points. The offense didn't look good. The coaching didn't look good. And when the defense needed a stop before halftime, they couldn't get it. The only hope I had was that the Titans were receiving the ball to start the second half.
Tennessee came out in the 3rd quarter with a commanding eight and a half minute drive. They moved the ball down to the Chiefs six yard line and were facing a 3rd down. Mariota scrambled around trying to find an open receiver. In the end, he threw a ball towards Davis but a defender deflected the ball back. The ball floated backwards towards Mariota who caught it and scored a touchdown! Check out the highlights video because words can't describe how amazing (lucky) this play was.
The third quarter ended with the Chiefs leading 21-10. There was hope going into the fourth quarter as the Titans had the ball again. They couldn't afford a mistake. On the second play of the fourth quarter, Tennessee's running back, Henry eluded all the defenders and ran for a 35 yard touchdown! The two point conversion was unsuccessful and the score was 21-16.
Tennessee's defense stepped up and/or the Kansas City's offense was ineffective without Kelce. Either way, Titans got the ball back with 11 minutes to go. They put together another solid drive that ended with Mariota throwing a 22 yard touchdown pass to Decker! On the two point conversion, Mariota was stripped and the Chiefs returned the ball for a 2 point score! BUT, the referee ruled that the QB's forward progress had stopped and no score would count. Tennessee held the lead for the first time, 22-21 with 6 minutes to go.
It was nerve-racking knowing that the Chiefs only needed a field goal to win the game. Three weeks earlier Tennessee had the lead with less than one minute to go but couldn't stop San Francisco from kicking a game winning field goal.
Kansas City came out and started to move the ball. The Chiefs got down to the Titans 45 yard line and had a fourth and long. Luckily the pass was incomplete. Tennessee got the ball back and right after the two minute warning disaster struck.
Mariota handed off the ball to Henry who didn't get far. Before the play was blown dead, Kansas City's Peters stripped the ball and Johnson picked it up and returned it for a touchdown! Wow, I went from feeling great to miserable in 5 seconds. BUT, the video replay showed that Henry was down before the ball came out! And, instantly I was on top of the world again! That's sports for you.
Tennessee managed to get one more first down thanks to Mariota throwing a crucial block. That was it, the Tennessee Titans had won!
As for the Titans chances against the Patriots this coming up Saturday, that's Mission Impossible 2.