The Tennessee Titans’ magical season has come to an end after they fell to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday.
After jumping out to a 10-0 lead, the Tennessee Titans simply had no answer for Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense, and what’s even worse is Tennessee’s offense stalled, leading to a 35-24 loss in the AFC Championship Game.
This loss no doubt sucks, but man, what an amazing run it was. We can’t lose sight of just how special this season has been despite its sad end.
Let’s get to the analysis.
-Tennessee’s offense came out the gate and was aggressive and unpredictable. The Titans had a nice mix of run and pass, and it was keeping the Chiefs’ defense off balance. That changed from the second quarter on, and particularly on the last offensive drive of the first half when the Titans predictably went run, run, pass while trying to avoid giving Patrick Mahomes the ball back, leading to a three-and-out. When the Titans had the ball down two scores at the beginning of the fourth quarter, Tennessee went away from Derrick Henry and threw three straight passes. It’s hard to be OK with getting away from what got you here, which is Henry. There was enough time for the Titans to run their offense there.
–Ryan Tannehill threw for the most yards he’s had in these playoffs, totaling 209 yards through the air and two touchdown, completing 21-of-31 passes. Tannehill was noticeably short on some throws that he usually has no problem completing. He also made some poor decisions and took negative plays and sacks that he could have avoided simply by throwing the ball away or at his receiver’s feet.
-After getting off to a hot start with 12 carries for 62 yards in the first half, the Chiefs successfully shut Henry down in the second half to the tune of seven carries for seven yards. Tennessee went away from Henry a bit too early, and it also didn’t help that the Chiefs dominated time of possession in the final two quarters. Kansas City actually out-gained Tennessee on the ground, 112-85, albeit with Mahomes as the leading rusher.
-The offensive line simply wasn’t able to dominate upfront like it has in the run game in weeks past. Tannehill was sacked three times, but he did make some poor decisions in not throwing the ball away on a few occasions.
-The Titans defense simply had no answers for Patrick Mahomes. Whether it was with his arm or with his legs, the Chiefs quarterback was able to beat Tennessee on defense over and over again. If the Titans played man, Mahomes found a way to make plays. If the Titans played zone, Mahomes would find a way around that. As if trying to stop Mahomes through the air wasn’t hard enough, Tennessee also couldn’t keep him in the pocket.
-After getting solid pressure at the very start of the game, the Titans weren’t able to keep it up. As a result, Mahomes had forever to throw the football. Dean Pees was content with rushing three and not blitzing, which allowed Mahomes to pick the secondary apart. With no pressure, there was no shot for the Titans’ secondary to keep up with the speedy Chiefs receivers for very long. This game was yet another example of why Tennessee needs to invest in another stud pass-rusher this offseason to pair with Harold Landry.