With a catalog of big plays, Titans have their breakthrough game

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In so many weeks the Titans have just needed a play to get them going, or at least to see if it’d get them going. And they’d go such long stretches without finding one.

Sunday in a great 35-32 win over the Chiefs at Nissan Stadium that came down to the last play, they found a bunch of them and fed off of them. They all keyed a signature win that got them to 5-5.HumphriesCelebrateChiefs19

It’s a game they now must model after their bye week if they are going to get on a roll and make themselves a playoff factor, an idea you made fun of me for mentioning this week but one that remains real, at least for now.

“Everyone is pumped, it’s fun to win a game like that,” Ryan Tannehill said. “Battle back in the fourth quarter at home and find a way to win, it’s a ton of fun. The excitement, it’s why we love playing the game: Competing, finding ways to win, that bond you create in moments like that.”

The Titans dropped two interceptions in the first four plays from scrimmage and against an explosive offense like Kansas City’s, it didn’t seem like a very good sign. But the Titans withstood that and 36-for-50 passing from reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes for 446 yards, the most passing yards a quarterback has ever had in this building.

The secondary is the team’s best unit, but it was overmatched here. The group that’s kept the team in so many games got paid back in this one.

I think when plays don’t bring energy people can, but both plays and people have failed to bring it too often for the Titans this season. Mike Vrabel has said he looks for a play to spark things and he got them in this game. He talked energy with his players this week, and they provided plenty.

We’ll run through the plays hat fueled a tiring team that’s really in need of the week off that’s coming now.

The Raymond bomb

RaymondThe Titans promoted Kalif Raymond to the 53-man roster on Oct. 26 looking to add some top-end speed to the receiving corps and we saw it when he got behind Charvarius Ward early in the second quarter.

Tannehill faked a handoff to Derrick Henry, moved a bit to his right a fired a bomb to Raymond. Initially, Raymond got up and ran into the end zone, but upon review, he was ruled to have been touched down.

“I tried to be really detailed in my route and I knew if I was he was going to trust me and I looked up and the ball was there,” Raymond said. “He put it in the perfect spot where only I could get it.”

Still, the 52-yard gain was a jolt for the Titans and set them up for a great diving 9-yard TD catch by Anthony Firkser that made it 10-7 and established the Chiefs would not be running away.

The Takeaway

On a first-and-10 from the Titans’ 44 yard-line, Damien Williams started a carry to the right and as he cut back, Austin Johnson wrapped him and David Long came in with the second hit, popping the ball loose. Rashaan Evans scooped and it showed off his speed. Going 53 yards for the score, looking a bit like Keith Bulluck while doing so.

Evans said the play transferred energy.

The Henry home run

The Titans had a disastrous possession to open the third quarter, with another set of back-to-back penalties by Taylor Lewan landing them in a third-and-13 from their own 10-yard line that they did not convert. The Chiefs got the ball and moved to a touchdown to take a 19-13 lead.HenryTDChiefs

But then the guy they knew would have to be the backbone of their efforts had the biggest moment of his day.

“Once I saw the hole, the defense overflow, I just cutback,” Henry said. “I saw the seam and my eyes got big. I broke the tackle, the rest was history and it was 6.”

Humphries’ game-winner

1-10-KC 23 (:29) (No Huddle, Shotgun) R.Tannehill pass deep middle to A.Humphries for 23 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

Tannehill’s 18-yard scramble and a 20-yard reception by Firkser put the Titans here.

The protection was good, Humphries had room and Tannehill had clear vision and he hit him in stride giving him a good chance to see the goal line and find his way across it.

“That was another tempo play, no-huddle, just four seams,” Humphries said. “I knew if we got two-man, which we did, I could try to win inside and it would be a big play and it turned out to be a touchdown.”

On the ground in the end zone, his teammates piled on.

“Little bit of pain, got hit in the side,” Humphries said. “But hearing the crowd go loud, knowing we just went up 1-point was huge and good play, good moment.”

Kalu’s field-goal block

The Chiefs still got the ball back with 17 seconds, and given the danger factor with Mahomes and the strong leg of kicker Harrison Butker, overtime was a real possibility.

They got into position for a 52-yard field goal, but Kalu blocked it on the final play of the game.

"That was kind of fire," Tyreek Hill said. "That was like one of those Madden plays. He came off the edge like perfectly. So, good for him, bad for us."

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