On Sunday afternoon inside Arrowhead Stadium, the KC Chiefs knocked off the Tennessee Titans 35-24 to advance to their first Super Bowl in 50 seasons.
There was a lot to like about the Kansas City Chiefs performance in taking down the Titans, but there were still some areas of concern. Here are my 10 likes and 10 dislikes from the Chiefs’ biggest victory since winning Super Bowl IV.
Let’s start with the positive.
1. Unwavering Confidence
It’s not surprising, really, that the Chiefs rebounded from yet another double-digit deficit. Last week, against the Houston Texans, the Chiefs did the same thing, except in that game they started down 24 points instead of just 10.
Even when the Titans went up 17-7, things didn’t seem dire. So the Titans drained nine minutes off the clock to go up 10? Alright, Kansas City counters with a fully clicking offense led by the league’s reigning MVP who threw five touchdown passes last week.
That seemed to give the defense a boost, too, as after the Chiefs scored to cut the Titans lead to 17-14, the much-improved unit stood its ground, giving up just another seven points the rest of the way.
Now here’s to that unwavering confidence transferring to Miami in two weeks.
2. Quick Touchdown Strikes
I touched on this in Like No. 1, but allow me to elaborate.
The Chiefs first touchdown drive took 5:06 while the second lasted a mere 2:36. That one, especially, changed things, as the Titans had just completed a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive to go up 10. The Chiefs countered with a five-play drive that netted the same result.
Kansas City’s third touchdown drive, when the team took a 21-17 lead that they never relinquished, lasted only 1:40. More on that later.
The point here is that no matter how much clock the Titans drained, the Chiefs nicely rebounded to put points on the board in a fraction of the time. That hurt Tennessee more than their killing the clock hurt the Chiefs.
3. Forcing the Field Goal
During the regular season, the Titans’ four kickers–including Cairo Santos and Ryan Succop, two former Chiefs–combined to go a woeful 8-for-18 in field goal attempts. In fact, the Titans current kicker, Greg Joseph, hadn’t even attempted a field goal this season before today. He’d only attempted extra points.
Anyway, to start the game, the Titans looked liked they’d take a touchdown lead. However, the Chiefs defense picked it up, holding Derrick Henry to only a four-yard gain and then forcing two incomplete passes by Ryan Tannehill.
Instead of a facing a 7-0 early deficit, the Chiefs got the ball for the first time down only three points.
4. Handling Henry
Speaking of Derrick Henry, the Chiefs handled him pretty well, right? He had a couple of gashes where he gained chunks of yardage and he scored a touchdown on a direct snap, but for the game, he rushed the ball 19 times for only 69 yards, which is just a 3.6 average.
5. Big Licks
Both Daniel Sorensen and Tyrann Mathieu both had a couple of snot-knocking hits in this game. When the Honey Badger had his, I couldn’t believe Tannehill actually threw that pass. His target, Corey Davis, was bound to get slammed! And Mathieu didn’t disappoint: he laid a huge lick.
“Dirty Dan” had a couple of big hits, too, including one on Tannehill.
Each big hit by these safeties accomplished something more than a mere tackle. It continued to show that this Chiefs defense is real, no matter the opponent, no matter the stage.