Chiefs vs. Titans score, takeaways: Patrick Mahomes uses his legs to force overtime, lifts K.C. past Tennessee

NFL Monday Night Football tracker: Patrick Mahomes leads Chiefs against AFC West rival Raiders

The Chiefs are now 6-2 on the season .
In a game where it looked like they were going to be physically pushed into the loser’s circle, Patrick Mahomes was able to lift the Chiefs to a 20-17 victory over the Titans in overtime on Sunday night.

Kansas City found itself trailing Tennessee 17-9 with just over seven minutes left to play in regulation and facing a third-and-17 situation. That’s when Mahomes scrambled for 20 yards to keep the drive — and the Chiefs comeback hopes — alive and would eventually scramble again for a 14-yard touchdown and two-point conversion to knot the game at 17 apiece. That led to an overtime period where Mahomes again put together the go-ahead scoring drive, marching the Chiefs offense 64 yards down the field to set up a 28-yard field goal for Harrison Butker. From there, the defense took care of the rest, sacking Malik Willis twice to finish off the win and move to 6-2 on the season.

Passing issues were a key factor in the Titans’ inability to pull off the road upset. Willis completed just five of his 16 pass attempts for 80 yards in the loss. Derrick Henry rushed for 115 yards and two touchdowns, but most of that production came in the first half. Meanwhile, Mahomes was 43 of 63 for 446 yards, a touchdown sand a pick. Travis Kelce was his go-to option, hauling in 10 of his 17 targets for 106 yards.

For a more detailed breakdown of how this game unfolded, check out our takeaways below.
Why the Chiefs won

The Chiefs desperately needed some semblance of a running game and they simply weren’t getting it from their stable of backs as Isiah Pacheco, Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon combined for just 14 rushing yards on 12 carries. Because of that inefficiency on the ground, Tennessee was willing to sit back in coverage and bottling things up in the secondary. So, Patrick Mahomes had to take matter into his own hands legs. He not only rushed for a team-high 63 yards, but those gains on the ground were the difference between the Chiefs winning and losing this game.

On the fourth-quarter touchdown drive alone, Mahomes had three notable scrambles that converted a third-and-17, scored the game-tying touchdown, and the two-point conversion. While those rushes will garner most of the headlines, Mahomes also used his legs to extend plays and set up throws down the field. In overtime, he rolled out on a third-and-inches play and completed a jaw-dropping 27-yard pass to Noah Gray that put them deep into Tennessee territory to set up the go-ahead field goal.

Defensively, the Chiefs did a strong job slowing down Tennessee’s biggest weapon on offense: Derrick Henry. After a first half where he rushed for 92 yards and two touchdowns, K.C. held Henry to 23 yards rushing on eight carries over the course of the second half and overtime.
Why the Titans lost

Tennessee dictated the way in which this game was going to be played right from the get go and welcomed a rock fight. The Titans’ physicality — particularly on defense — was apparent throughout the game and threw Kansas City off rhythm. They even got to Mahomes for four sacks and eight total quarterback hits, while constantly flushing him out of the pocket. On offense, they were throwing similar haymakers with Derrick Henry, who was plowing through the line of scrimmage.

While that style forced the Chiefs hand and helped the Titans jump out to a 14-6 halftime lead, the club’s inability to pass the football was their ultimate undoing. At a certain point in the second half, that physical style was thrown out the window and Malik Willis was suddenly forced into a situation where he had to throw his team to victory and keep pace with Patrick Mahomes. And he couldn’t.

Willis threw for -2 yards in the second half and overtime, and not one Titans wide receiver managed to haul in a catch. That inability to move the ball through the air was apparent down the stretch in regulation when the Titans did have an opportunity to go down the field and set up a game-winning drive. After Mahomes’ touchdown run to tie the game at 17, Tennessee got the ball back with just under three minutes to play. The offense went three-and-out and traveled -4 yards as Willis had an incompletion and took a sack. The Titans even had another shot late in the fourth after getting the ball back with 35 seconds, but Willis threw three straight incompletions as the punted the ball away.

In overtime, Willis was sacked twice and threw an incompletion on fourth-and-26 to ice the game for Kansas City.

Because Tennessee couldn’t do anything through the air, they were 1 of 12 on third and fourth down. That type of conversion rate isn’t going to win you a lot of games.
Turning point

The Titans held a 17-9 lead when Patrick Mahomes was faced with a third-and-17 situation from his own 31-yard line and 7:11 left on the clock. If Kansas City was unable to convert, they’d likely be punting it away to a Tennessee offense that would have been more than happy to give the ball to Derrick Henry to try and burn as much clock as possible to further their chances at pulling off the upset. Even as Mahomes was pressured and the Titans coverage in the secondary stood firm, the quarterback relied on his lefts to pull off a remarkable 20-yard scramble that moved the chains.

As was the case for most of the night, Mahomes was flushed out of the pocket due to pressure and was able to weave his way through defenders for the first down.

That conversion was the catalyst to the 13-play, 93-yard touchdown drive that — thanks to two other Mahomes runs — tied the game at 17 and forced overtime.
Play of the game

While the third-and-17 conversion kept the comeback hopes alive, it was Mahomes’ 12-yard rushing touchdown that completely swung the momentum in Kansas City’s favor. In a similar circumstance to the previous scramble, Mahomes didn’t have an open receiver and was quickly flushed out of the pocket. He was able to shake off Jeffery Simmons at around the 6-yard line as the two jolted up the right sideline and Mahomes then lowered his shoulder to drive into the end zone.

After a flurry of penalties, Mahomes relied on his legs again on the two-point conversion attempt, scooting left toward the pylon to tie the game at 17.
What’s next

From here, the Chiefs will stick around Arrowhead and await the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are fresh off a win over the Raiders. As for the Titans, they’ll head back to Nashville and gear up for a Week 10 matchup with the Denver Broncos, who’ll be fresh off their bye.

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