Chiefs Handle Titans, Become AFC West Champs

From Arrowhead Stadium

The Chiefs took care of their business on Sunday.

Then, the Cincinnati Bengals took care of the rest of the Chiefs’ business three hours later.

The combination of the Chiefs 34-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans, with the Bengals 34-20 victory over the San Diego Chargers and the 2010 Kansas City Chiefs are champions of the AFC West and headed to the conference playoffs for the first time since 2006.

In grabbing their first division title since 2003, the Chiefs moved their record to 10-5 with just one game left to play. After losing in Cincinnati, the Chargers are 8-7 and their four-year run as division champions is over.

“Obviously it’s a big step for us as a team,” said head coach Todd Haley. “We went into this game with the sole purpose of trying to play better than the Tennessee Titans. At home in front of our crowd and we were able to do that. It was far from perfect. I’m really happy for the guys and the energy and enthusiasm in how they played. Their focus was really good.”

The Chiefs did not walk on the field thinking about ending the race for the division championship. The “p” word as Haley had called it – playoffs – was banned from the facility over the last week. They went out with the idea of beating the Titans and then seeing what happened with the Chargers. Even right after the game, Haley said he wasn’t rooting for the Bengals; he was rooting for his team. If it meant playing the Raiders next Sunday for the division crown, they were more than willing to do it.

To make sure they took care of their business, the Chiefs came firing out of the blocks in what was certainly the best first quarter and a half that they’ve played this season. They scored on all of their first four possessions as QB Matt Cassel was hot, and so were RB Jamaal Charles and WR Dwayne Bowe as receivers. SS Eric Berry returned an interception for a touchdown and save for giving up one long pass play that the Titans scored on, the Chiefs won all the battles in the first 30 minutes.

“You never want the opponent to think they had something to play for,” said DL Shaun Smith. “We weren’t going to let that happen.”

The Titans had only the slimmest of chances to make the playoffs, but the key for them was they had to win. Whether the Chiefs were that good at the start, or the Titans didn’t care, their hopes of continuing to play football past January 2 ended very quickly.

“The game got out of reach early,” said Titans head coach Jeff Fisher. “They made plays. We didn’t make plays on both sides of the ball. We just didn’t make the plays when we needed to keep this game close.”

The game was never close. After going down 24-0, the closest the Titans got was after that 53-yard TD pass from QB Kerry Collins to WR Kenny Britt in the second quarter. That pulled them within 17 points and there was nothing that allowed them any momentum after the pick six by Berry.

“That was the play that killed them,” said LB Derrick Johnson. “When we got our defensive TD we knew it was our day. We could just let the dogs loose and get after them from that point.

Whether it killed the Titans is debatable – they appeared already football dead thanks to the play of the Chiefs on offense and defense.

“Offensively we got off to a great start today and I think that set the tone for the day,” said QB Matt Cassel. “The defense played well throughout the day. Special teams stepped up. It a great team victory and puts us one step closer to our team goal.”

Tennessee won the opening coin toss but decided to wait to get the ball to start the second half. Bad move by Fisher. Starting at their 31-yard line, the Chiefs went racing down the field in seven plays that used 3 minutes, 41 seconds of the clock. Cassel was outstanding in the drive, hitting all four of his passes and finding a different receiver for each one.

Ultimately, the score came on a 14-yard pass and run to Charles. It was like a screen pass to the left and with RG Ryan Lilja running out in front of him Charles made a bee-line for the end zone and scored easily. Ryan Succop kicked the PAT and it was 7-0 Chiefs.

On its first possession, the Titans got moving and picked up a pair of first downs, moving the ball into Kansas City territory. But facing a 4th-and-6 play at the Chiefs 38-yard line, the Titans went for the first down but failed when Collins pass was incomplete to WR Justin Gage.

With the ball back and starting at their own 38, the Chiefs offense went racing off down the field again, using 10 plays and covering the 62 yards in just less than five minutes. It was a little bit of run, and a lot of on the mark passes from Cassel. The last one was a five-yard toss to Charles that he caught over his shoulder with LB Gerald McRath on his back. Succop’s PAT made it 14-0.

The Titans went three plays and out and the Chiefs went down and put up a 35-yard field goal from Succop to go up 17-0. That’s three possessions and three scores. On their fourth possession, Cassel hooked up on a 75-yard scoring play with Bowe, who outran the Titans secondary to the end zone in the longest catch of his four-year career. Succop’s PAT gave the Chiefs a 24-0 lead.

“We always want to start fast, but that was really important in this game,” said Charles. “We wanted to go out and set the tone for the game.”

That they did. Add on Berry’s interception and his weaving return of 54 yards for a touchdown and the Chiefs went to the half-time locker room with a 31-7 lead.

The second half featured only two scores: Succop 42-yard field goal and a 22-yard TD pass from Collins to TE Jared Cook that set the final score. Offense was not much of the game over the final 30 minutes, as the teams combined for 228 yards. The Titans had just 97 yards in 28 plays.

The Chiefs defense grabbed another interception when FS Kendrick Lewis picked off a Collins throw, but that play was wiped out by a penalty. Later, CB Brandon Carr grabbed his first interception of the season, ripping a ball out of the arms of Britt.

By the time they were division champions, the Chiefs were scattered all around Kansas City and in some cases beyond as they were given Monday off by the head coach. Celebrations were part of the night, but there wasn’t going to be much time for anything next week.

Even though the final game is no meaningless to the outcome of the AFC West, it’s important to where the Chiefs end up being seeded in the tournament. Right now they are No. 3, behind New England and Pittsburgh. They will end up either being third or fourth. They can lock in third with a victory over the Raiders.

That’s for the next week, when Todd Haley won’t be able to ban the “p” word, because they now have their tickets punched to the post-season.

11 Responses to “Chiefs Handle Titans, Become AFC West Champs”

  • December 26, 2010  - Edward says:

    Say before say it again. I said it before the season started. And I said it after the meltdown in San Diego. Chiefs 2010 divison Champs how sweet it is bring on the Raiders.

  • December 26, 2010  - MattMac44 says:

    Bob – Did you see the replay on the penalty during the Lewis interception? I am all about protecting the QB, but the call on Shaun Smith was ridiculous.

  • December 26, 2010  - napahank says:

    When the Chiefs beat the Titans I was thrilled but I expected them to win…especially after their first half play.

    When the Bengals beat SD I was in shock to the point I checked multiple post game shows to confirm. Everyone expected SD to win and we were set for a must win game next week. Now I don’t know what to do…but celebrate!

  • December 26, 2010  - Butler Go CHIEFS Go says:

    Well I see us Winning all the Marbles
    If you can’t see it you can’t WIN IT !!!!!!!
    Beleive Believe Belive IT no matter what !!!!!

    Go Chiefs Go !!!!! Go Chiefs Nation Go !!!!!

  • December 26, 2010  - Niblick says:

    This game with the Raiders is still important. We need to keep that 3 seed over Indy. If we win our playoff game, our next game would probably be against the Steelers. If we are the 4 seed we would probably face Baltimore. if we won we would have to go to New England. I think I would rather face Pittsburg. Fist things first. Lets beat the Raiders and whoever we ply in the 1st round.

  • December 26, 2010  - MEDennis34 says:

    AFC WEST CHAMPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • December 26, 2010  - Chiefs Win Game & Division – They Rule The AFC West | Chiefs Football at says:

    [...] GAME STORY: Chiefs take care of business in beating Titans. [...]

  • December 26, 2010  - BayouCityChief says:

    Hell Mother F’in Yeah!!!!!!!!!

    I’m sorry, but I’m ecstatic right now and will be booking my flight to KC for the playoffs first thing in the morning. Let’s bring it Chiefs fans……I don’t want to see that many empty seats at Arrowhead in two weeks.

  • December 27, 2010  - Patrick says:


    Long time reader, first time poster. I, like most everybody often repeats, love your work and this is the first site I check daily right before the Chiefs site. Am also glad you brought Enrique on the seen, love his work too! I have a question for you.

    Grant it that you were there first hand to see all empty seats throughout the season Bob, you said they probably blocked out a certain group of seats for the whole season. Obviously they were never in danger of selling those but are those blocked seats still blocked for playoff games too? Of coarse I am assuming they did block some seats.

    Now a thought or two, wow, division champs, who would have thought it would happen in year two? I know there are a lot of posters on this sight who thought they wouldn’t. No, they’re not a New England or a Pittsburgh type yet but man they’ve got a pretty good start. I usually print off all your articles at work and read them on breaks or later at home so I usually forget my counterpoints by the time I’m back at a computer and just go with the next article.

    I believe you had an article earlier about the similarities between now and Marty/Carl’s start. I think Pioli/Haley are doing a much better job personally. I mean The offense was mediocre to short flashes of above average then like it was now. But Marty already had a pretty darn decent defense to start with. Even through the dark decades of 70′s and 80′s they always seemed to have a decent defense. Not that they were always good but they just didn’t sink to the depth’s that the offense did. Look how the D was this time around, I mean they were setting NFL records for porousness.

    Side note/thought provoker and another quick question – Is it coincidence that the majority of Carl’s picks were great with Marty here but when he left the majority of his picks were flops? Something else I was curious about, was there a “coaching tree” that Marty came from or did he learn everything from his playing days?

    Getting back to the similarity thought. The biggest difference is Marty always went with the old veteran cast off QB. Matt is definitely not in that category. Yeah I wasn’t sold on him last year but last year’s line would have made Tom Brady look human. But I didn’t give up on him as so many people did. That part of it reminds me of the Trent Green era because I wasn’t sold on him that first year but I didn’t give up on him as so many people back then did either. I hope that works out the same because Haley will not forget about the D like Vermeil did nor will he forget that he needs more than an average old cast off QB like Marty.

    Man I was like 1yr and 3mos when they lost to Green Bay and 4yrs and 3mos when they beet Minnesota so obviously I don’t remember those Super Bowl days. What I do remember all too well are the last years of the Mike Livingston days, to the Steve Fuller(same draft as Montana) days to the Todd Blackledge(the great ’83 QB draft) days. I can’t remember too many other names past Todd because they never went for a high QB prospect again. I wish Marty would have gotten here when Bill Kinney was still in his prime(wasn’t he the 1st Chiefs QB to throw for over 4,000yds). That’s a damn shame that Kinney is the best QB from my child and teenage years, and yes I know he was not that good, so see what I mean by the shame of it all.

    I do think we are in even better shape this time around with a brighter future through this most recent rebuild. Haley knows you can’t win a championship with just a great D(like Marty) or just a great O(like Vermeil), he knows you need to be good to great in all 3 phases of the game(like Parcels/Bilichick).

    What I’ve learned as a life long Chiefs/Royals(and for a brief time /Kings) fan. Never get too up during the high points or too low during the low points. Up until the prior 3 seasons only one of them was a league laughing stock not both. I do like it better when the Chiefs are the good team. Also I honestly do believe our chances this time around are much better and I will see a

  • December 27, 2010  - Patrick says:

    Man I spent all that time and I still pushed the wrong button and didn’t finish what I wanted to say…

    … Chiefs Championship not only before I die but in the near future.

    Go Chiefs!!!

    ps Are you still pissed about the Chiefs new secrecy? If you are, then why, does it really matter that much? I mean he is more open then Bilichick and with more of a sense of humor. Seems to me he’s even commented on how you always have some of the better questions’ that he’s posed. Did you think it would be any different when Pioli was hired? Or better yet would you have more patients/understanding if it were Bill Parcels and not this young upstart?

    pss Sorry I wrote this much, just goes to show what happens when you try to get a couple years worth of comments into 1 post.

  • December 27, 2010  - Don says:

    Bob, I thought the crowd(even as sparse as it was) seemed well into it and brought the noise. Where I was sitting it had a playoff feel to it. Then when we got rolling and held a good lead we all were nuts! What was your take?

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