Titans start fast and dominate Mahomes, Chiefs
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ryan Tannehill threw for 270 yards and a touchdown, and he also ran for a score and the Tennessee Titans routed the Kansas City Chiefs 27-3 Sunday for their fifth win in six games.
This also was the second victory in six days for the Titans (5-2) over teams that played for the AFC championship in January.
They edged Buffalo 34-31 on Monday night and followed that by simply dominating the two-time defending AFC champs as Tennessee jumped out to a 27-0 halftime lead.
The Chiefs (3-4) have lost two of three and dropped to 1-4 in the AFC this season. They also were held to their fewest points since a 38-3 loss to Denver on Dec. 30, 2012.
This was the first time Patrick Mahomes had trailed by 27 at halftime and the third-largest halftime deficit for the Chiefs since 1991. It was the worst since the Chiefs trailed Pittsburgh 29-0 at the half on Oct. 2, 2016, and only the eighth time in franchise history that Kansas City had trailed by 27 or more at the half.
The Titans forced three turnovers — two by Mahomes — that they turned into 10 points. Denico Autry had two of the Titans' four sacks.
Mahomes was slow to get up after taking a knee to his head on the fourth sack by Autry. He went to the medical tent and didn't return with Chad Henne replacing him late. He finished with 206 yards passing and 35 yards rushing.
Kansas City won the toss and deferred. The Titans didn't look back despite three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan sitting out with a concussion.
The Titans went up-tempo with Tannehill spreading the ball around to 2020 Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Brown and seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Julio Jones. Derrick Henry, the NFL’s rushing leader, finished the drive out of the wildcat, throwing a 5-yard pass to tight end MyCole Pruitt for the 7-0 lead.
Outside linebacker Bud Dupree, Tennessee's biggest free agent signee, got his first sack this season to end the Chiefs' opening drive.
Tannehill drove the Titans 97 yards on the ensuing drive, highlighted by a 46-yard throw to Brown initially ruled an incompletion. Titans coach Mike Vrabel won his challenge, and Tannehill finished the drive with a 24-yard TD pass to Brown, who had been dealing with food poisoning all week.
After linebacker Rashaan Evans' interception, Tannehill ran for a 2-yard TD and a 24-0 lead. Randy Bullock added his second field goal off Mahomes' fumble for the 27-0 lead.
Mahomes has been intercepted in six straight games, the longest stretch of his career. He had 11 interceptions combined over 2019 and 2020 and has nine this season. His fumble with 1:46 left in the first half was his second this season, giving him 11 turnovers for the season.
That's the most Mahomes has ever had in a single season even counting the playoffs. He had only nine in 17 games in 2019 and 10 in 18 games in 2020.
Henry's TD pass made him the second NFL player in the Super Bowl era to run for at least 10 TDs and throw a TD pass in his team's first seven games. LaDainian Tomlinson was the first in 2005.
The running back's first career TD pass came in a divisional playoff win over Baltimore in January 2020.
Titans left guard Roger Saffold hurt a thigh muscle in the first half but returned. Kendall Lamm, who started in Lewan's place, hurt an ankle in the first half and didn't return. He was replaced by Bobby Hart, signed Wednesday off Buffalo's practice squad.
Chiefs host the New York Giants in prime time on Nov. 1.
Titans start two-game road swing at Indianapolis next Sunday.
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