KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Marcus Mariota led Tennessee to a few second-half touchdowns, extremely throwing one among his TD passes to himself , and the Titans rallied from a 21-Three deficit to beat the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs 22-21 on Saturday for his or her first playoff win in 14 years.
Mariota threw for 205 yards and two scores, together with the 22-yard go-ahead strike to Eric Decker with simply over six minutes left that ushered the Titans into the divisional spherical of the playoffs.
“Particular, particular,” Mariota stated. “I am part of an incredible crew. I am part of a bunch of men that actually simply consider in one another. And, it is one thing particular and I am stay up for enjoying subsequent week.”
They will head to New England or Pittsburgh subsequent week.
Derrick Henry had a career-high 156 yards dashing and one other rating for Tennessee (10-7), whereas a protection that was fileted by Alex Smith and the Chiefs (10-7) throughout the first half pitched a shutout within the second half — dooming the Kansas Metropolis franchise to a different humiliating postseason defeat.
The Chiefs have not gained a house playoff sport since January 1994.
Smith threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns , however most of that got here earlier than halftime. He could not get on monitor within the second half and misfired on fourth-and-9 on the Titans 44 with simply over two minutes to go, denying the Chiefs an opportunity for Harrison Butker to kick a go-ahead area aim.
The letdown was made much more miserable when Henry appeared to fumble as Tennessee tried to expire the clock.
The Chiefs’ Derrick Johnson picked up the ball and returned it for a landing with 1:47 to go, however a video replay confirmed that Henry was down and the decision was overturned.
Tennessee succeeded in working out the clock from there.
Within the first half, the Chiefs appeared each bit the crew that had gained 4 straight in convincing trend, and the Titans appeared each bit the crew that backed into the playoffs.
Kareem Hunt, the league’s high rusher this season , plunged in from 1 yard for a 7-Zero lead, and Smith hit Travis Kelce with a 13-yard landing go a couple of minutes later. Smith added one other landing toss to Demarcus Robinson on the ultimate offensive play for a 21-Three lead on the break.
Smith was 19 of 23 for 231 yards within the half. Mariota was 7 of 13 for 81 yards and a choose.
The Titans’ younger quarterback acquired on monitor within the second half, although, changing a few key third downs — one among them along with his legs — in marching his crew 91 yards. He capped it by throwing the primary TD go to himself, the primary participant to perform the feat in playoff historical past.
The earlier participant to do it in any sport was the Vikings’ Brad Johnson throughout the 1997 season.
“Proper place, proper time,” Mariota stated with a smile.
Tennessee almost squandered its momentum when Adoree Jackson fumbled a punt, however the Chiefs had been unable to select up a primary down and Butker knocked a 48-yard area aim off the upright.
This time, it was Henry who led the Titans downfield, capping one other TD drive by rumbling almost untouched 35 yards proper up the center to get inside 21-16 with 14:08 to go.
“Grit. It is simply grit,” Henry stated of his crew’s rally.
“You have to consider in one another, man. We had been down like this final yr and we got here again. We instructed them we have got 30 minutes left, all we have got to do is play our sport, execute the performs and the whole lot will maintain itself.”
The Chiefs’ offense had been rendered impotent by that time, unable to maneuver the ball a lot after Kelce left with a concussion within the first half. The Titans blanketed Tyreek Hill every time he touched the ball, they usually stacked the field to sluggish Seek out in apparent dashing conditions.
The Titans lastly pulled forward when Mariota threw a strike to Decker from 22 yards, and that led to a second of controversy. The Titans went for a 2-point conversion and the field-goal edge, and Mariota misplaced the ball as he was getting sacked by the Chiefs’ Daniel Sorenson.
Frank Zombo picked it up and started working for 2 factors that might have swung the lead again to Kansas Metropolis, however the officers had dominated that Mariota’s progress had been stopped.
It wound up being a vital name in a sport that got here right down to the wire.