NASHVILLE – The Titans beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-32 on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.
Here’s a look at six things that stood out from the game as the team heads into the bye week.
We’re talking physical and mental here with Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill. When the Titans got the ball back with 1:21 left, trailing the Chiefs by five and without a timeout, Tannehill didn’t flinch. The veteran QB quickly guided the team down the field and connected with receiver Adam Humphries for the game-winning score. Tannehill ran through defenders on more than one occasion in the game, including on the goal-line for the two-point conversion. The reaction from Tannehill's teammates said plenty about the team’s belief in the veteran QB.
Talk about running through defenders, Titans running back Derrick Henry did plenty of that on Sunday. Henry racked up 188 yards on 23 carries against the Chiefs, good for an 8.2-yard average. He scored on touchdown runs of one and 68 yards. What I liked about Henry and the offensive plan was the fact the Titans didn’t abandon the run after falling behind nine points in the fourth quarter. The Titans kept giving Henry the ball, and the big back delivered while dishing out punishment along the way.
Next Man Up
The list of starters who didn’t suit up on Sunday for the Titans was a long one, and it included defensive lineman Jurrell Casey, tight end Delanie Walker, receiver Corey Davis, linebacker Jayon Brown, and cornerback Malcolm Butler. But the Titans had a number of unheralded players step up, from tight end Anthony Firkser (3 catches, 36 yards, 1 TD) to receiver Kalif Raymond (52-yard catch) to cornerback LeShaun Sims (11 tackles) to defensive back Joshua Kalu, who had the big blocked field goal at the end. It was a team effort with front-liners and back-ups contributing.
Kalu’s Jump – and His Excitement
Kalu is one of the most likeable guys on the team. He has a big smile and a fun personality, and his teammates like him because of his positive attitude and work ethic. Kalu was as happy as any player I’ve ever encountered in a post-game locker room after his big play on Sunday. He was genuinely thrilled to do his part. After seeing the replay, Kalu’s jump off the line of scrimmage was remarkable. From some angles, it looked like Kalu might’ve jumped early. But a definitive side view replay showed he in fact timed his jump perfectly, and it resulted in a game-saving blocked field goal that made SportsCenter’s Top 10 list.
Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan stood at his locker after the game and owned his blunders after making three penalties in Sunday’s win. Despite playing in just six games this season, Lewan has a team-high nine penalties that have resulted in more lost yards (69) than by any other player on the Titans. “My penalties are (expletive) awful,” Lewan said. “I am completely screwing the team with the amount of penalties I have had, what these last six games. It’s crazy, it’s horrible. I cannot get penalties. I am sorry, there is no need to ask me about it, because I know I am an absolute liability when it comes to penalties.” This much is also clear: The noise from the crowd made it obvious Titans fans are getting sick of hearing his name called, and I suspect coaches are, too.
Rashaan Evans is Fast
I could close out this six-pack with a number of things, from the team’s resiliency to punter Brett Kern’s solid day to the strides being made in the AFC playoff race to the breakdown of fans in the stands at Nissan Stadium. The amount of red in the crowd was unsightly, but I’m giving big-time props here to the loyal Titans fans who show up every week and root the team on. The Titans are 19-6 in their last 25 home games, so they're being rewarded. I’m closing this out by pointing out linebacker Rashaan Evans has even more speed than I thought, and it was on display on his 53-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Henry's speed was on display on his 68-yard touchdown run, but Evans showed he can flat-out go, too.
The Tennessee Titans take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 10 of the 2019 season at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donald Page)