Wednesday brought us an update on Chiefs’ injuries. We learned who would be the new head football coach at Missouri State (smh). And a future NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver is going to play at least one more season.
Here is your daily Dr. Feelgood…
OFF THE TOP
One thing seems certain this weekend, the Chiefs won’t be able to recover from a 24-0 deficit against the Tennessee Titans. Tennessee is going to run the ball. That’s what they have done in the postseason this year and it has been incredibly successful for them. If they get a big lead on the Chiefs they will no doubt dish out a large dose of Derrick Henry. And as if it’s not hard enough to tackle Henry, imagine how much harder it will be when the energy has been zapped from Chiefs defenders as they watch the clock tick down on them as they fight to try to get the ball back before their season ends.
But Tennessee isn’t just Derrick Henry. Ryan Tannehill is not Patrick Mahomes but he isn’t a bad quarterback, especially when the defense has to pay so much attention to Henry. Tannehill threw for over 300 yards in three of his 11 starts in the regular season and over 250 yards in three other starts. Sure, that’s nothing compared to what we usually see from Patrick Mahomes, but the Titans don’t use Tannehill as if he was Patrick Mahomes. They understand he’s not Patrick Mahomes.
Everyone is making Tennessee out to be a rush only team because of how their first two playoff games have gone. But do you remember the last game the Chiefs and Titans played in Week 10? Let me remind you…
The Chiefs were ahead 32-27 over the Titans with just 1:21 remaining in the game. The Titans had the ball on their own 39 to start what would be their last possession. Ryan Tannehill ran 18 yards to the Chiefs 43. Then after an incomplete pass, he threw a 20-yard pass to Anthony Firkser to move the Titans to the Chiefs 23. The very next play was a 23-yard pass to Adam Humphries for a touchdown to give the Titans a 35-32 lead that they held on to for the win.
Ok, but they had to pass because of the situation you say. Got it. Let’s go back to the Titan’s third possession of the game. The Chiefs led 10-7 with 11:57 left in the second quarter. There was no reason for Tennessee to hurry down the field when they started the possession at their own 27-yard line.
On the first play of the drive, Ryan Tannehill hit Kalif Raymond for a 52-yard pass to move the ball to the Chiefs’ 21-yard line. Derrick Henry gained 3 yards on the next play to move the ball to the Chiefs 18. A nine-yard completion followed by another nine-yard completion and the Titans were in the end zone. That really sounds like a running team, right? They can pass the ball.
In the Week 10 game, the Chiefs won the time of possession 37:52 to 22:08. The Chiefs gained 530 yards to 371 for the Titans. Both teams had one turnover. So what’s up? How did Kansas City lose?
Special teams killed the Chiefs in their game at Tennessee. You know, the same special teams that had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown against Houston this past Sunday? Yep. That’s the one.
In the game at Tennessee, the Chiefs had a bad snap on a field goal attempt on their next-to-last possession which would have put them up 8 points. Then, after the quick Tennessee touchdown possession mentioned earlier, the Chiefs still had another field goal attempt to tie the game and it was blocked. If you remember the game, this was the block that looked like Tennessee was offsides by a large margin when we first saw it in real-time. But when we saw the replay the Titans were clearly onside. The Chiefs had used the same snap count all day for field goals and Tennessee played it perfectly.
So special teams play, which is usually a strength for the Chiefs, has hurt the Chiefs on multiple occasions this season. And that’s one of my biggest concerns this weekend.
So the Titans can run the ball behind Derrick Henry. They can pass the ball with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. Their special teams play is intelligent and can take advantage of mistakes by their opponents.
But there is something that they likely cannot do. The Titans don’t have the passing offense to be successful when they have to pass. If the Chiefs jump on top in the first half by two touchdowns the Titans could be in trouble. They could still give the ball to Henry but they would have to score touchdowns and that’s going to run time off the clock. If at any time during the game this Sunday the Chiefs don’t need to worry about the running game and can play the pass, the Titans are in big trouble,
And we know the Chiefs can move the ball on the Titans. They did it in their regular-season meeting. Patrick Mahomes threw for 446 yards and three touchdowns in his first game back from injuring his knee.
Tyreek Hill had 11 receptions for 157 in the game. The Chiefs had five receivers with four or more receptions and four receivers with over 50 yards receiving.
If the Chiefs just don’t freak out like they did to start the game last week against Houston, and if they can at least stop Derrick Henry every now and then to prevent him from running for touchdown drives on every possession, the Chiefs should advance to the Super Bowl. If this game is tied or the Chiefs are behind at the half then I have concerns. The Titans will have the game right where they want it.
This should be a very interesting game because of the difference in the styles of play. I think the Chiefs got their poor playoff start out of the way last weekend and will win this game relatively easily and cover the 7 point spread.
MORE CHIEFS NEWS
Andy Reid said Wednesday that a little sickness is going around the Chiefs’ locker room.
Chris Jones did not practice on Wednesday but Reid said that he is getting better.
Travis Kelce was a limited participant in practice because of the knee injury he played with this past Sunday. His hamstring injury doesn’t appear to be a problem right now.
Missouri State hired Bobby Petrino to be their new football coach.
Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald agreed to a one-year contract with the club Wednesday. He will reportedly make around the $11 million he made this season.
WHAT TO WATCH
Is it Chiefs gameday yet? No? Well then let’s watch some college basketball. Colorado at Arizona State is the pick of the day.
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Thanks for reading…