From Arrowhead Stadium
The Tennessee Titans had only the slightest chance of making the AFC playoffs coming into Kansas City for Sunday’s game.
Once the first quarter was over, their chances were gone dashed by the Chiefs 24-0 jump out of the blocks and ultimately a 34-14 defeat for the guys from Tennessee.
“The game got out of reach early,” said Titans head coach Jeff Fisher. “You’ve got to execute near perfection when you get down where we were and we just didn’t do that. We got beat today by a good football team, a well-coached football team. We just didn’t make the plays when we needed to keep this game close.”
Now 6-9 on the season, the game’s outcome assured them of a losing season as they close out their schedule this Sunday against Indianapolis.
“When it finally hits you that you are out of the playoffs, it’s extremely disappointing you know,” said Titans QB Kerry Collins. “Everybody’s worked hard, everybody has put the effort it. When you come up short it’s very difficult to take.”
The Titans came in with designs on stopping the Chiefs running game, but that did not happen.
“They’re really good,” said MLB Stephen Tulloch. “I told Brian Waters at the end of the game they have come a long way since I have been playing them. I’ve played them three times in five years. That team has turned around. The head coach there has done a great job. They’re a sound team, a solid team and they did a good job today. They executed the way they have executing all season. You have to take your hat off to them.”
The Chiefs got the game on local television and that helped keep the in-stadium crowd down as it was one of the smallest crowds of the season. The team announced 65,606 paid attendance but as has been the case all year, it wasn’t close to having that many butts in the seats. Every section had empties. If the crowd topped 50,000 it wasn’t by much.
Considering the weather, that’s not hard to believe. It was 19 degrees at kickoff, with the wind chill factor at 10 degrees. In the second half, the skies cleared and the sun was shining a bit, but it wasn’t enough to warm anybody up.
But those that were there made some noise and the Titans had several false start penalties. They certainly got a good show, and so did everybody sitting at home where they were warm.
SPECIAL TEAMS REPORT
It was in many ways the Chiefs best performance in some aspects of the kicking game in some time. Coverage was outstanding, as was punter Dustin Colquitt.
“That was one of the keys to this game for us going in,” said Todd Haley. “We wanted to be real good on special teams and feel like we won on special teams. I feel like we did that when it was all said and done.”
Here’s how it broke down:
KICKOFFS ‚Äď Ryan Succop dribbled some, boomed some and when it was all done, he kicked off seven times, including once from his own 15-yard line when the Chiefs were paying for an excessive celebration penalty that came up in the end zone after Dwayne Bowe’s 75-yard TD run. Tennessee started their possessions on the 32, 24, 27, 45, 31, 39 and 31-yard lines.
PUNTS ‚Äď Colquitt kicked five times for a 46.4 average. His punts went for 43, 56, 49, 54, 30 yards. His net average was 42.2 yards.
RETURNS ‚Äď On punt returns, Javier Arenas had five for 36 yards in returns, a 7.2-yard average. He did break one for 29 yards. On kickoff returns, Dexter McCluster had three for a total of 50 yards, a sickly 16.7-yard average. His longest return was 26 yards.
COVERAGE ‚Äď The Chiefs did an outstanding job keeping Titans returner Marc Mariani tied up. He had three punt returns for a total of one yard. He continued to refuse to call for a fair catch and he was hit hard three times and immediately taken down. On seven kickoff returns, Mariani and Ahmard Hall averaged 17 yards a return. Mariani broke one for 38 yards that was it.
TACKLERS ‚Äď WR Verran Tucker had another big day in the kicking game, making three tackles and leading the team. LB Demorrio Williams and FB Tim Castille contributed two tackles each. LB Cory Greenwood, WR Terrance Copper and S Ricky Price had the other tackles.
THE ZEBRA REPORT
Funny thing about the afternoon at Arrowhead ‚Äď fans came to see football and a hockey game broke out. Scott Green and his crew were firing yellow hankies all day and they were especially active when calling personal foul penalties.
Yes, things got chippy at times. That’s something the Titans do all the time and they dragged the Chiefs into the gutter with them.
In total there were 16 penalties walked off, with another eight penalties that were declined or offsetting. Eight of those calls were personal fouls for unnecessary roughness or unsportsmanlike conduct that drew 15 yards. Seven of those were walked off. The big culprits were on the Titans offensive line as RT David Stewart was flagged three times including twice for unnecessary roughness. RG Jake Scott was a culprit as well.
Here’s what the Chiefs were flagged for on those seven calls; two players were not identified by referee Green on their infractions:
- Defense ¬†¬†¬†¬†Jon McGraw¬†¬†¬†¬†unnecessary roughness¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†minus-15
- Offense¬†¬†¬†¬†?¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†false start¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†minus-5
- Offense¬†¬†¬†¬†?¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†unnecessary roughness¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†minus-15
- Offense¬†¬†¬†¬†Jamaal Charles¬†¬†¬†¬†unsportsmanlike conduct¬†¬†¬†¬†minus-15
- Offense¬†¬†¬†¬†B. Richardson¬†¬†¬†¬†false start¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†minus-5
- Defense¬†¬†¬†¬†Shaun Smith¬†¬†¬†¬†unnecessary roughness¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†minus-15
- Defense¬†¬†¬†¬†Jovan Belcher¬†¬†¬†¬†roughing the passer¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†minus-15
The Chiefs inactive players were DB Donald Washington, FB Mike Cox, S Reshard Langford, LB Charlie Anderson, C Rudy¬†Niswanger, DT Anthony Toribio and WR Quinten Lawrence.¬† Tyler Palko is the inactive third QB.
The Titans inactive players were¬†S Vincent Fuller, S Robert Johnson, LB David Thornton, OL Troy Kropog, DE Hal Davis, DT Jovan Haye and WR Lavelle Hawkins. Rusty Smith¬†is the inactive third QB.
Over the weekend, the Chiefs made a roster move, promoting Lawrence from the practice squad and releasing CB Mike Richardson. Why they then didn’t have Lawrence active for the game doesn’t make sense.