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The Titans let one get away here last night against the Chiefs.
A decided underdog, the Titans led for a good chunk of the game at Arrowhead Stadium.
But the Chiefs rallied to win 20-17 in overtime, and they snapped Tennessee’s five-game winning streak in the process.
“It’s very disappointing,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. “I feel terrible for the players that compete, that put so much into this and play through pain, through discomfort, through any situation. I am lucky that I get to coach them – they fight.
“There’s no moral victories, that’s the thing I want to make clear. We came over here to win, and that’s all we were thinking about doing.”
The Titans led 17-9 late in the fourth quarter, but the Chiefs tied the game 17-17 with 2:58 left in the fourth quarter on a 14-yard touchdown run by Patrick Mahomes, and then a two-point conversion run by Mahomes.
The Chiefs then took a 20-17 lead with a 28-yard field goal by kicker Harrison Butker with 4:04 left in overtime.
The Titans had a possession in overtime, but they couldn’t do anything with the ball.
“We are just proud of how we played,” Titans safety Kevin Byard said. “I don’t know how many plays we played on defense – probably like 100 or something like that. We gave up a ton of yards, but we battled our asses off. We kept us in the game the majority of the game against an explosive offense.
“I told them when I walked to the sideline when they kicked the field goal – ‘Hey, … I can’t ask for nothing more. Everybody was out there battling. Guys were injured, giving everything they’ve got, and that’s all I can ask for at the end of the day.”
Malik Willis made his second career start for the Titans in place of an injured Ryan Tannehill.
Willis completed 5-of-16 passes in the contest for 80 yards, and he also ran for 40 yards on eight carries. Willis saw receivers let catchable deep balls escape their grasp in a game when he was sacked three times.
Running back Derrick Henry went over the 100-yard mark for the fifth straight game, this time finishing with 115 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries.
But the Titans dropped to 5-3 with the loss on a night when Mahomes completed 43-of-68 passes for 446 yards with a touchdown. Titans cornerback Roger McCreary picked off Mahomes in the contest.
“More than anything, I am proud of the guys for the way they fought,” Willis said. “We didn’t give up regardless of the situation, and I am super-proud of the guys. We didn’t come out on top this time, but it’s something to learn from.”
The Titans were a resilient bunch on defense.
Early on, the defense rose up early after Kansas City put together a long drive to start the game, holding the Chiefs to a 24-yard field goal by Butker after they’d held the ball over eight minutes on a 15-play, 69-yard drive.
The Titans turned in an explosive play on their first offensive play – a 48-yard completion from Willis to rookie tight end Chig Okonkwo. But the drive stalled, and the Titans were forced to punt.
On Kansas City’s next possession, Mahomes connected with Mecole Hardman for a seven-yard touchdown pass, which made it 9-0. The Titans appeared to be on the verge of getting another stop, but a missed tackle by McCreary on Hardman allowed him to score.
But the Titans answered back with a beautiful seven-play, 74-yard drive of their own, and capped it off with a four-yard touchdown run by Henry. Willis connected with tight end Austin Hooper on a 16-yard completion on the drive, and he also ran twice for 25 yards on the possession. Henry put the Titans inside the red zone on a 24-yard run.
When the Titans got the ball back, they scored again – on another touchdown run by Henry, this one from one-yard out. The five-play, 79-yard drive gave the Titans a 14-9 lead. The drive featured a 56-yard run by Henry, who broke Earl Campbell franchise record for rushing touchdowns with the 74th touchdown run of his career.
Early in the second half, the Titans extended their lead to 17-9 on a 44-yard field goal by kicker Randy Bullock. The field goal was set up by an interception by McCreary, who hauled in the Mahomes pass after it went off of Kelce’s hands.
The Titans continued to play bend-but-don’t-break defense in the third quarter, as they stopped a Kansas City drive, and then saw a 47-yard field goal attempt by Butker sail wide, and the score remained 17-9 with 5:17 left in the third quarter.
Fpr the longest time, it looked like the Titans might pull off the upset.
Then came the disappointing finish.
The Titans return to action on Sunday against the Broncos at Nissan Stadium.
“This one is tough, for sure,” Titans defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons said. “We will see them in the playoffs again. One play could have changed this game, especially in overtime. Our mindset is: How can we make that one play? But I am proud of the team – we fought ’til the end.”
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