Titanic beating: Chiefs bottom out with 27-3 loss in Tennessee

Chiefs Titans Football
Posted at 3:07 PM, Oct 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-24 21:31:22-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Things turned ugly early Sunday for the Kansas City Chiefs and never really got better during a showdown with the Tennessee Titans.

Derrick Henry ended up throwing for more touchdowns than Patrick Mahomes, who committed two more turnovers, did as Kansas City and Tennessee met for the first time since the AFC Championship Game after the 2019 season.

The Titans didn’t score in the second half — and didn’t need to during a 27-3 win against the Chiefs at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.

“It starts with me,” said Chiefs coach Andy Reid. “It’s completely my responsibility and fault for how we played today. The coaches feel the same way about it.”

Kansas City failed to score a touchdown for the first time in a regular-season game with Mahomes at quarterback, though the Chiefs also were kept out of the end zone during a Super Bowl LV loss to Tampa Bay in February.

“You never go into a game expecting to lose or lose bad,” Mahomes said. “Definitely, you get shocked because you didn’t play the way you wanted to. ... It’s been rainbows and flowers and awesome for these last few years, but whenever you want to build something substantial and you want to build something great, you’re going to go through parts like this.”

The Chiefs (3-4) were only out-gained 369-334 in terms of total offense, but the game never felt close. The Titans (5-2) scored on their first five drives, led 27-0 at halftime and won the turnover battle 3-1.

“They’re down,” Reid said of the team's mood. “They just got beat. That’s not a real good feeling. These are proud guys and they want to do well, and it’s not working out. So, we’ve got to get it right.”

Mahomes, who left the game in the fourth quarter after getting sandwiched and evaluated for a concussion, finished 20 of 35 for 206 yards with an interception and a lost fumble.

It’s the sixth-fewest passing yards in his career.

Kansas City’s three points Sunday were the fewest by an Andy Reid-coached team since the 2009 Philadelphia Eagles got shut out in the season finale against the Dallas Cowboys.

It was the second-worst loss the Chiefs have suffered under Reid — trailing only the 43-14 loss Oct. 2, 2015, at Pittsburgh.

Tennessee used a familiar game plan against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.

Coach Mike Vrabel’s defense played two safeties deep, daring Reid and Mahomes to patiently drive the field relying on the run game and checkdowns.

Tennessee’s offense relied on a heavy dose of Derrick Henry against arguably the worst run defense in the NFL.

Henry only managed 86 yards on 29 carries, thanks in large part to rookie linebacker Nick Bolton's game- and career-high 15 tackles, but his presence allowed Ryan Tannehill to flourish off play-action.

Tannehill finished 21 of 27 for 270 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also ran for another score in the lopsided win.

“I trust the locker room,” Reid said. “I trust the players and the coaches. We’ve got to make sure we hang together and fix the problem. The easy way out is not doing that, so we’ve got to hang together and get it fixed.”

After shutting out the Washington Football Team in the second half last week, Kansas City’s defense couldn’t sustain that momentum in the first half.

Tennessee marched right down the field on the game’s opening drive before Derrick Henry lobbed a 5-yard touchdown to right end MyCole Pruitt barely four minutes into the game.

Kansas City punter Tommy Townsend and gunner Marcus Kemp helped pin Henry and company deep with a punt to the 3-yard line.

Nine plays and 97 yards later, A.J. Brown tapped his toes along the sideline in the end zone for a 24-yard touchdown and 14-0 lead.

It only got worse from there.

Another Chiefs punt led to a Titans field goal before Mahomes’ ninth interception of the season set up a short field for Tannehill and company.

Tennessee’s QB capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run for a 24-0 lead.

Desperately hoping to gain a toehold in the game on the ensuing drive, safety Kevin Byard poked the ball away from a scrambling Mahomes near midfield for yet another Kansas City turnover.

It was the Chiefs’ NFL-worst 16th turnover in 2021. Kansas City only committed 16 all last season and had only 15 during the 2019 campaign.

Tennessee added a 51-yard Randy Bullock field goal in the closing seconds for a 27-0 halftime lead.

Mecole Hardman Jr. coughed up a ball during garbage time in the closing seconds, giving Kansas City 17 turnovers on the season.