Scout's Take: Chiefs did to Titans what Titans did to Patriots, Ravens

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It was going to take a well-executed game plan by the Titans to beat the high-scoring Chiefs, but the Titans were not able to adjust when their offensive identity was taken away.

The second-half game plan of the Chiefs was similar to what the Titans did to the Ravens and Patriots.HenryDefenseKC

Lack of offensive plays (23 for Titans vs. 37 for Chiefs) in the second half, kept the Titans offense on the bench and the Chiefs defense resting on their sideline.

Once the Chiefs took the lead the Titans had to adjust from run-heavy to more of a passing attack.

The other factor which I wrote about in the game preview was QB Patrick Mahomes running ability. He moved the chains and broke the back of the defense on numerous critical downs.

Mahomes led the Chiefs in rushing yards with 53 yards.Winners300

The last first-half offensive series for the Titans and the touchdown by the Chiefs right before half was the turning point in the game.

Titans' three and out before half:

1. First-and-10: Henry rush to left for 1 yard. Chris Jones dominated Rodger Saffold by shocking and shedding him for the tackle.

2. Second-and-9: Henry rush to the right for 0 yards. Jones defeated a combo block by Nate Davis and Jack Conklin to make the tackle with Terrell Suggs from the backside of the play.

3. Third-and-9: Screen pass to Dion Lewis for 6 yards. Result: Punt

The next drive by the Chiefs was the difference in the game: 9 plays, 86 yards and a go-ahead score. Plus, the Chiefs getting the ball after halftime.

The touchdown run was a combination of Mahomes wanting it more and a poor attempt at a strip fumble tackle by CB Tramaine Brock.

In all, there were four missed tackles by the Titans defense on the TD run. Derick Roberson, Rashaan Evans, Amani Hooker and Brock each had opportunities to bring him down.

Mahomes runs:

First-and-10 (11:22 first quarter): 2-yard gain to avoid having to throw the ball away.

First-and-10 (1:06 second quarter): 7-yard gain to the left and stopped the clock.

Second-and-10: (23 seconds second quarter): 27-yard touchdown run to the left.

Second-and-2: (12:03 third quarter): 5-yard rush to the left and first down

Third-and-2 (3:49 third quarter): 4-yard rush to the left and First down

First-and-10 (1:48 third quarter): 11-yard rush to the left and First down

The last two rushes were kneel-downs to end the game.


On each one of Mahomes’ last five rushes, he ran to the offenses left to OLB Harold Landry spot. Landry only has two moves in pass rush, a deep outside rush around the edge which has some success if he can turn the corner on the tackle or a weak inside rip move where he usually gets washed down by the left tackle. This was an easy read for the QB to take advantage of limited repertoire by Landry.

Mahomes read Landry and either stepped up in the pocket when he rushed deep or immediately went to the left when he was washed down.

Mahomes was able to score one touchdown and run for three first downs on his six rushes.

Brock was picked on by the Chiefs most of the day. It was a focus to go against their weakest secondary player and they got two penalties and multiple catches against him.

The Chiefs are a tough matchup for Logan Ryan. Ryan is at his best covering the short to intermediate routes. He is less effective downfield or in too much space away from the line of scrimmage.

Very little pass rush by the Titans allowed Chiefs receivers to open up downfield and Mahomes to find the soft spots in the Titans zone.

The Titans did have two sacks, but neither were pass rush wins and a sack.

Kamalei Correa’s sack on the Chiefs' first possession was unblocked on an RPO, Correa was the QB’s read on the run part and a TE pass to the flat was the second option. But Kenny Vaccaro immediately jumped the TE in the flat and Mahomes had to take the sack because his offensive linemen were downfield blocking.BlakeBeddingfieldGlasses

The second sack came from Jurrell Casey late in the fourth quarter with 4:02 on the clock. Mahomes didn’t want to throw the ball away to stop the clock. The sack took 5.32 seconds to occur.

Mahomes is difficult to sack because of his ability to avoid rushers in the pocket, scramble and his great sense of awareness when the pressure will get to him. That innate ability to feel the rush is one of the elite traits that set him apart from other quarterbacks.

The run game of the Titans was defensed very well. It started with some mixed looks by the defense with three stacked linebackers at times and at other times two linebackers and a walked-down strong safety.

But the key was the play by the DEs getting upfield penetration of a yard or two and stoning the tackle. This clogged up the space in the run lanes.

RT Jack Conklin struggled with DE Frank Clark on his side. Clark was able to play with better pad level and leverage and played strong and tough to clog up the running lanes and allow the linebackers to clean up the gaps.

Jones played very well despite the calf injury. He was able to put pressure on Tannehill on the Titans' first drive which forced the QB to throw the ball away.

Jones beat RG Nate Davis instantly off the snap giving the play very little opportunity to develop. Jones beat LG Rodger Saffold and Davis consistently on inside run plays.

The Chiefs were focused on attacking Davis for sacks. They continued to line up Jones and DE Tanoh Kpassagnon over him. Davis struggles with athletic rushers with length.

The Chiefs defense did a good job of hard-pursuing from the backside of plays to take away Henry’s cut back lanes.

I was surprised that with the action by the DEs the Titans didn’t utilize Tannehill on the QB boots more.

DT Mike Pennel was also a force along the defensive front. He was inactive in the first matchup versus the Titans. Also, adding ILB Reggie Ragland into the lineup to add a tackle-to-tackle run-down thumper made a big difference in the run defense for the Chiefs.HuntTrophy

The Chiefs defense did a very good job versus the screen game. Three Tannehill screens went for negative yards each.

The Chiefs and Titans are so different on offense. The Titans have had success with their approach throughout the playoffs, but the difference is if a defense can take away the run game what do the Titans have on offense?

The Chiefs' best player is the QB and he is the distributor of the ball if one receiver is stopped others can step up.

The NFL referees made some huge calls that impacted the game and the teams’ possessions. It wasn’t the amount of calls but the timing and insignificance of some of them.

1. Backside holding call on Dennis Kelly on a third-and-1 run play. On third-and-11, Tannehill scrambled for 7 yards and a punt. The hold was called from the line judge on the opposite side of Kelly.

2. Pass interference on Bashaud Breeland on a third-and-22 against a Tannehill-to-Corey Davis pass that was good for only 10 yards. Instead of a field goal the drive continued for a touchdown.

3. Illegal contact on Rashaan Evans against a receiver that wasn’t even in the sights of the QB when it happened.

4. Defensive holding on Kevin Byard on a pass that was thrown out of bounds. Instead of an incompletion, the drive continued for a touchdown.

Positives: Jeffrey Simmons, Jurrell Casey, Anthony Firkser.

Negatives: Harold Landry, Jack Conklin, Tramaine Brock, Nate Davis, NFL officials.

Next year will be a different looking Titans team.

Either a lot of money will be spent to keep some of the free agents or replacements will need to be added.apple icon 144x144 precomposed

Free agents: Derrick Henry, Ryan Tannehill, Logan Ryan, Jack Conklin, Tajae Sharpe, Dennis Kelly, LeShaun Sims, Austin Johnson, Daren Bates, Chris Milton, Kamalei Correa, MyCole Pruitt, Darius Jennings.

Say goodbye to some aging veterans like Delanie Walker, Wesley Woodyard, Ryan Succop, Cameron Wake, Dion Lewis, Tramaine Brock and Kevin Pamphile.

And I believe fan-favorite QB Marcus Mariota will be starting for another organization next season.

The only player the team can’t afford to lose is RB Derrick Henry. Without Henry this is not a playoff team. At 25 years old he is in the prime of his career. Other teams could identify him as their missing piece to a playoff run.


Blake Beddingfield was a Titans' scout for 19 years, through the 2017 draft. He was the team's director of college scouting for his final six years. Follow him on Twitter at @BlakeBeddingfi1. He’s brought to you by Winners Bar & Grill, a place where you should definitely have a beer, drink a Kickin'It Cooler and watch a game.

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