For Tennessee the Dream season ends; The Kansas City Chiefs makes it back to the big game after a 50 year absence.
The stars aligned Sunday afternoon for the Chiefs. After making two of the first four Super Bowls Kansas City finally gets another shot at a world title.
Kansas City coach Andy Reid was 1-5 previously in conference championship games including a 1-8 record against the Tennessee Titans. Reid is the winningest coach in NFL history without a title. Last year Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes never got a shot at a opportunity for a game winning drive versus New England in last year’s AFC championship game. Both men got the respective monkeys off their backs.
After taking down three of the top four seeds in the AFC in consecutive weeks the Titans dream run finally ended. They lived off Derrick Henry’s production and subpar production is what doomed Tennessee in the end. Add to that a defense that had no answer for Mahomes and you have a formula that’s hard to overcome.
Despite a wind chill at Arrowhead that made it feel like it was five degrees the tension and anticipation was hot.
Tennessee got the ball to start and struck first. A promising start that got the Titans into Chiefs territory stalled and ended with a Greg Joseph field goal.
Kansas City’s first drive would end in a three and out and the Titans went for the jugular. A nine play drive ended for Tennessee when running back Derrick Henry took the direct snap and waltzed into the end zone untouched from four yards out to go up 10-0 on Kansas City.
Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs would finally hit their stride on their next drive as Tennessee had no answers for the Kansas City passing game. After a staggering ten play drive that spanned 74 yards and capped off by a Tyreek Hill eight-yard touchdown reception.
The Titans next drive took up over nine minutes in 15 plays culminating with a Dennis Kelly one yard touchdown reception from Ryan Tannehill. Tennessee carried a double-digit lead into the second quarter.
But double-digit deficits don’t faze the Chiefs.
Patrick Mahomes led back-to-back touchdown drives, including a second touchdown pass to Hill and a 27 yard touchdown scamper, to put the Chiefs up 21-17 at the half.
The late first half and early second half was not kind to Tennessee. The four drives between scores netted 33 yards on 14 plays. Not since my prom night was there such lack of scoring.
Kansas City meanwhile kept pouring it on including a Damien Williams scoring run and a 60-yard touchdown strike from Mahomes to Sammy Watkins. Watkins made the Titans defenders go every which way in a brilliant play into man coverage.
A late Anthony Firkser touchdown from Ryan Tannehill made it 35-24 but the Titans, at this point, were already Firk’d.
Kansas City could relish after a hard fought season with with up and downs.
Patrick Mahomes had a classic performance. 2018’s MVP went 23/35 for 294 yards, three passing touchdowns and 53 yards on the ground with a score. Sammy Watkins led the Chief receivers with seven grabs for 114 yards and a touchdown.
The Kansas City defense sacked Tannehill three times and held the juggernaut Derrick Henry to only 69 yards.
Greg Joseph’s 30 yard field goal in the first was the Titans first field goal made in 49 days and first attempted field goal in four weeks. Tennessee’s kicking woes had six different kickers on the active roster in 2019.
After rushing for 1,273 yards in the last eight games (including the previous two playoff game) Derrick Henry was held to a 69 yards on Sunday. The 3.63 yards per carry was his worse performance average since the week ten loss to Denver.
The last time the Chiefs had made the Super Bowl it was still played between the AFL and NFL champions. January 11, 1970 to be exact. Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson led the Chiefs to a 23-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings, despite Kansas City being a 13-point underdog.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid ended a 15-year Super Bowl drought. He led the Philadelphia Eagles to a 24-21 loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Up next for the Titans is the offseason and their quarterback conundrum. Marcos Mariota is more than likely gone but do the Titans keep Ryan Tannehill, reach for an established star in free agency or draft a signal-caller for the future?
Kansas City will face off February 2nd against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LI and try to bring home their second world championship.
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