KANSAS CITY –** The frustration from Eric Decker was evident.
And in the end, so was the exhilaration.
After a second quarter drop here on Saturday, the Titans receiver banged his hand on the ground, ticked off at himself. A week earlier, Decker had some costly drops against the Jaguars as well.
But with the game on the line, Decker came through in the clutch. He made the game-winning catch in the closing minutes in the team’s 22-21 victory over the Chiefs.
“I’ve had games where you drop a ball, but to have it consecutively happen like last game a couple of series in a row, and then the first time I got an opportunity this game, to drop one ... ,” Decker said. “I just have to trust my hands. … The next opportunity you have to erase whatever happened in the past.”
Decker did, and the Titans are thankful for it.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota never lost faith in Decker.
Want proof? With the game on the line, Mariota connected with Decker on a 22-yard touchdown pass with 6:06 left in the contest. Decker fought off a defender to make the grab in the end zone.
“It was a big catch,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said of Decker. “We just put the play in this week. Saw something they did and they lined up exactly like we practiced it and he ran probably the best route of the week was today. It was a great throw by Marcus. Well designed by our offensive coaches, (offensive coordinator) Terry Robiskie, to get that play called.”
Teammates applauded Decker for his resiliency in crunch time.
“He’s a competitor, and he never wants to make a mistake,” center Ben Jones said. “When it came down to the end, you knew he was going to make a play for us.”
Added tight end Delanie Walker: “I kept telling him: You are going to be the guy that makes a difference in this game, and he made a big play when we needed it. I’m glad we got him on this team.”
Decker caught just two passes in the contest – the other one was a grab for a one-yard loss.
After joining the Titans this offseason after previous NFL stops with the Broncos and Jets, Decker is happy to be back in the playoffs.
And he’s happy to be making a difference in big games. He joked about teammates putting a good luck charm in his hands.
“It felt good,” Decker said. “I just love these guys. Through the ups and downs, we care for each other. To make that play it was good to get over the hump.
“You’re going to have moments like that, but it’s how you overcome it. To have an opportunity to make (the play) is all I can ask for.”