KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The formula that carried the Titans to Arrowhead Stadium for the AFC Championship Game faltered, and well after the Super-Bowl dream crashed, so did Jurrell Casey’s voice.

“When we first came in from the field, I went out there in the back and bawled my eyes out,” he said before a long pause to gather himself. “Definitely the best team I’ve been on. We may never have this opportunity again with the same unit. It definitely sucks. Nine years, never to make it, it’s one of the hardest things ever.”LoganRyanChase2KC

And when he stepped away, he cried again. He was hardly alone in a locker room where there were, understandably, a lot of red eyes after a team that went on an amazing run couldn’t earn itself two more weeks of work and the ultimate spotlight.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Ryan Tannehill, whose remarkable season since taking over as the Titans’ starter has helped propel the Titans to the AFC title game, is the winner of two Pro Football Writers of America awards: Comeback Player of the Year and Most Improved Player.TannehillLineChiefs

The awards were voted on for regular-season work.

I voted for Tannehill as most improved. But he threw for 1,979 yards in 2018 for Miami with 17 touchdowns and a 92.7 passer rating. That didn’t seem like something to come back from to me. (My ballot.)

The Titans acquired Tannehill in a spring trade from Miami, getting a much better backup for Marcus Mariota a season after they lost their finale with Blaine Gabbert playing against the Colts. [Unlocked]

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Quiet Derrick Henry's game is not the only thing that he's raised the volume on

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – He’s soft-spoken and when he wears his stylish, small oval glasses he could play the part of a giant librarian.

For a good share of his first three years of his NFL career, Derrick Henry appeared perfectly willing to work in the background and let others do the talking.HenryEye

But now, as one of the most productive players on one of the four remaining teams in the NFL playoffs, the extra-large running back picks his spots and raises his voice.

After Henry became the first NFL player to top 180 rushing yards in three consecutive games, Mike Vrabel gave him a game ball. And then Henry delivered a message before breaking the team down, after which guys headed to their phones and their showers.

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Scout's Take: Peaking Jurrell Casey key component of Titans' plan against Patrick Mahomes

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- My preview of the Titans-Chiefs AFC Championship Game...

Derrick Henry has been the unquestioned Titans MVP of the team’s late-season run. I won’t even speculate what this team would be without him.CaseyCelebrateChargers

But No. 2 on the MVP list throughout the late season and the playoffs has been DT Jurrell Casey. Casey has been a consistent and at times dominant defender for the defense. He has impacted critical-down situations in both the run and pass game. Casey is playing his best at the right time.

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Titans' red-zone ridiculousness a big reason they are in final four

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Ryan Tannehill as led the Titans’ offense inside the opponent’s 20-yard line 35 times in 12 games.

Only four times did he walk away without celebrating a touchdown first.

That 88.5 touchdown rate is another stunning offensive number attached to Tennessee’s 2019 season. 

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The remarkable red-zone TD work got the Titans off the hook for their one largest weakness, a .444 field goal percentage that three kickers strung together. Their current kicker, Greg Joseph, hasn’t been asked to try a single field goal in his four games on the roster.

How has Tennessee fared so well in tight quarters, where good defenses can often tighten up and force field goals at a reasonable rate?

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jeffery Simmons didn't deny or admit to Marshal Yanda's accusation that he spit on him in the Titans' 28-12 win in Baltimore on Saturday night.SimmonsChargers

But Yanda's charge carries less heft -- victim or not -- considering he himself has been caught on film spitting on a player in the past.

Saturday night Yanda went in detail as he spoke to Ravens media about Simmons. [Unlocked]

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Bud Adams, who created the Houston Oilers, helped forge the AFL-NFL merger and turned his team into the Tennessee Titans, was not selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as one of three contributors in the Centennial Class.bud cover 2 crop copy

The three new Hall of Famers in the contributor category are:

  • Steve Sabol, Administrator/President – 1964-2012 NFL Films
  • Paul Tagliabue, Commissioner – 1989-2006 National Football League
  • George Young, Contributor/General Manager – 1968-1974 Baltimore Colts, 1975-78 Miami Dolphins, 1979-1997 New York Giants, 1998-2001 National Football League

Tagliabue is the controversial selection, as he's been voted down four times previously by the regular selection committee in 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2017. My time on the selection committee began in 2015 and I did vote for Tagliabue in 2017. But from the start the blue-ribbon panel set up for the extra 15, skeptics viewed the blue-ribbon panel choosing the Centennial Class as an end-around to benefit the former commissioner who critics say was late to act on the league's concussion issues.

Sabol is the second member of his family to make the Hall. Ed Sabol, the founder, president and chairman of NFL Films was inducted in 2011.

With three other contributors knocked off the list, it’s not all bad news for the father of the franchise, who died on Oct. 21, 2013, and who’s daughter Amy Adams Strunk is now the Titans controlling owner.

Adams is now bumped up on the list of worthy candidates in the category. [Unlocked]

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Enjoy it, and don't worry about national picks or 'disrespect'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Titans are a remarkable team nearing the conclusion of a remarkable season.

Two games away from a Super Bowl title, they are 7.5-point underdogs in Kansas City Sunday, per SBD. If they win, they’ll be underdogs in Miami too, to the 49ers or Packers.FansBAL

That’s the life of a No. 6 seed, no matter how good it’s looked in dethroning the Super Bowl champion Patriots and in tossing aside the NFL’s best regular-season team in the Ravens.

So people are going to be picking against them.

Many people who are just fully tuning in, be they random tweeters, lesser reporters, former players or so-called experts, don’t fully comprehend what this team has done.

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