The Titans were in Kansas City to take on the Chiefs on Sunday with a spot in the Super Bowl on the line.
Early on, it looked like a third straight upset was in the making as the Titans got out to an early 17-7 lead. Similar to last week, by the time it hit the half, the Chiefs were up 21-17. The back-breaking play came as Patrick Mahomes broke contain and bobbed and weaved his way for the 27-yard, go-ahead touchdown.
After the break, it was more of the same. The score was 35-17 almost in the blink of an eye. Once again, the Chiefs scored 28 unanswered points. The Titans were unable to recover. They managed to score one more touchdown, but it was for pride if nothing else.
The Titans’ defense couldn’t stop Mahomes. They also had a very tough time covering Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Travis Kelce.
The Cinderella season for Tennessee came to a screeching halt, and whether you thought they could make it this far or not, you have to at least marvel at what they were able to accomplish. To start the season at 2-4 with everything was falling apart at the seams and to make it to the AFC Championship game bodes well for this team. They went into Foxborough and quite possibly ended the Patriots dynasty as we know it, following that up with the dismantling of Lamar Jackson and the Ravens before falling to the reigning MVP.
Why did they lose?
They went off-script
The recipe that worked all season and even more so in the playoffs was a heavy dose of Derrick Henry. The Titans abandoned that before they had to. The running game was having success.
Defense laid an egg
The defense that all but shut down Tom Brady and Lamar Jackson couldn’t figure out Mahomes. With the exception of the first two Chiefs possessions, Kansas City did pretty much whatever they wanted offensively.
Folded under pressure
Ryan Tannehill, who is credited for the team’s reversal during the season, failed to make plays consistently. In the last two weeks, he didn’t have to do much to lead his team to a win.
Where do they go from here?
This team went as far as they did almost entirely on Henry’s back. His contract is up. Regardless of the dollar number, they need to lock him up quick.
Figure out a signal-caller
Both Ryan Tannehill and Marcus Mariota have expiring contracts. The team needs to figure out if either one is the answer heading into next season, or if they want to explore a free agent option such as Philip Rivers or Tom Brady.
The right right tackle
Entering this season, the team decided not to give Jack Conklin an extension due to his inconsistent play a season ago. As this season wore on, Conklin returned to being a solid bookmark on the right side of the offensive line with Taylor Lewan on the left.