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Outside of the victory, not much could be offered up in a positive sense from the Titans’ pass defense. On the one hand, they were up against an offensive juggernaut. On the other, they allowed nearly 500 passing yards and 32 points. Should Tennessee find a way to sneak into the playoffs, the secondary will obviously need to up their game.
One defender who popped off the screen on several occasions was second-year linebacker Rashaan Evans out of Alabama. While his sack was nothing more than a clean-up/coverage sack, he very nearly scored several others while pressuring Patrick Mahomes. Evans also made several nice plays in run defense that aided Tennessee in limiting at least one aspect of the Kansas City attack.
Derrick Henry was close to unstoppable Sunday. Not only did he often find wide rushing lanes, but he constantly overpowered the Chiefs whenever they got their hands on him. His 68-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter was the result of a great cut back on outside zone. After he made the cut, he accelerated through a tackle and outran the Chiefs the rest of the way.
While the Titans leaned heavily on Henry, quarterback Ryan Tannehill made plays when they needed it most. After opening the final drive with an 18-yard run and an incompletion, Tannehill found open passing lanes over the middle for a 20-yard gain to Anthony Firkser and a 23-yard go-ahead touchdown to Adam Humphries. He then put the icing on the cake with a run for a two-point conversion.
The good news for the Chiefs is Mahomes is back. He was excellent against Tennessee. The bad news, other than the heartbreaking defeat, is the offensive line came away with several injuries that included left guard Martinas Rankin being carted off the field. Mahomes shredded the Tennessee secondary by pelting Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce throughout the game.
Hill, who was shadowed for most of the afternoon by Adoree’ Jackson, put together a monster statistical performance while being targeted early-and-often. While he also added a 39-yard touchdown catch, Hill dropped a pair of passes. Kelce caught all of his targets and found the end zone on a nicely executed RPO shovel pass for the Chiefs’ first score.
Chris Jones shined as a pass-rusher. He had a strip-sack in the first quarter and a clean-up sack at the beginning of the fourth. Later on, his bullrush against right guard Nate Davis flushed Tannehill out of the pocket, resulting in a sack by Frank Clark to force fourth down.