The Titans and Chiefs put the Wild in Wild Card Weekend. When the dust settled, it was the Titans, who entered the game as a nine-point underdog, advancing to the Divisional Round.
The Titans shook off a bad start and stuck to their gameplan. With DeMarco Murray out of the lineup, Derrick Henry tore through the Chiefs defense. Marcus Mariota threw an early interception, but completed his first career postseason TD pass (to himself) and another to Eric Decker. It’s the largest halftime deficit any road team has overcome in the postseason since 1957.
The tenor of the game changed drastically before halftime, when Travis Kelce was forced out of the game with a concussion. It didn’t mean much at the time, as the Chiefs proceeded to score their third TD of the half before the break. But when the second half began, it was clear that the Chiefs sorely missed Kelce. The Pro Bowl tight end caught four passes for 66 yards and a score in the first half, and the Chiefs were unable to meet that production in the latter stages.
It’s an improbable win for the Titans, who snuck into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season. The Titans haven’t seen the Divisional Round since 2008, when Kerry Collins was under center.
The Titans will now head to New England to face the top-seeded Patriots. The game will be on January 13th at 8:15 p.m. Eastern and will air on CBS. The teams have met just once during Marcus Mariota’s tenure in Tennessee, but he was inactive for the December contest. Zach Mettenberger hit Delanie Walker for two scores, but the Patriots refused to yield and cruised to a 33-16 victory.
For the Chiefs, it’s another massive disappointment to end their season. Kansas City has double-digit wins in four of Andy Reid’s five seasons as Chiefs head coach, but he has yet to win a playoff game during this time.