Let’s take stock of what happened Sunday as KC Chiefs lost so thoroughly to the Titans

·5 min read

Any hope that the Chiefs might’ve been able to carry over some momentum from their Week 6 win at Washington was quickly dashed against a clearly superior opponent on Sunday.

And it all happened in the first half.

The Tennessee Titans out-muscled and out-played the visiting Chiefs throughout the game and emerged with a convincing 27-3 win.

“Listen, they made more plays than what we did, particularly in the first few series there,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said.

For the Chiefs, the same sort of mistakes that had plagued their three previous losses continued to occur in Nashville, contributing to what’s now a season record of 3-4.

Turnovers? The Chiefs added three more Sunday, giving them 17 since Week 2.

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes accounted for two with a lost fumble and an interception. He has now thrown nine picks this season.

SELF-INFLICTED WOUNDS (AGAIN)

The Titans’ first drive perhaps afforded a preview of what was to come.

Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed was flagged for defensive pass interference, and then defensive end Frank Clark drew a neutral-zone infraction on third down, resulting in a shorter conversion for the Titans.

Titans running back Derrick Henry capped the drive not with one of his punishing runs, but a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end MyCole Pruitt.

The Chiefs were penalized nine times in the game for 77 yards. The timing of the infractions either contributed to Titans drives or hurt the Kansas City offense.

“You go back and look at it again,” Reid said. “You’ve got to eliminate the turnovers, the penalties.”

SOMETHING ISN’T RIGHT WITH 15

Mahomes says the right things every week — things like how he’s aware he needs to make better decisions and not press in the pocket.

But here we are, another week into a season the Chiefs would culminate in their third straight trip to the Super Bowl, and Mahomes is still stacking up the turnovers.

The Chiefs signal-caller lost a fumble and threw an interception, his ninth of the season. Sunday marked the second time this season that Mahomes has lost a fumble and tossed a pick in the same game — he also did so in a Week 5 loss at home to the Buffalo Bills.

For some perspective, he only did that twice during the entire 2020 regular season.

Some of Mahomes’ interceptions this season haven’t been his fault, with passes deflected into a defender’s arms. But his first-half interception Sunday falls squarely on his shoulders.

Mahomes attempted to force a pass to well-covered Josh Gordon, who made his first start for the Chiefs on Sunday. A Titans defensive back knocked the pass in the air, and linebacker Rashaan Evans dove to make the interception.

Mahomes is good enough to help erase most errors made by his teammates (teammates on both offense and defense). But the Chiefs are in a bad place when their star quarterback is contributing to the sort of mistake-plagued performance we witnessed on Sunday — especially against a banged-up Titans defense.

“He’s trying to make things happen,” Reid said. “We’re all a part of this, so I’ve got to dial a few things and we’ll go from there.”

Mahomes finished the game 20 of 35 for 206 yards and an interception for a 62.3 passer rating. It was his third straight game with a passer rating of less than 100.0.

“It was a disappointing day and a disappointing way to end it,” Mahomes said.

O-LINE PROBLEMS

The Chiefs’ offense struggled throughout the game Sunday, and it started in the trenches.

Rookie guard Trey Smith drew two holding penalties, while right tackle Mike Remmers was penalized for hands to the face.

The left side of the offensive line also had glaring issues, as guard Joe Thuney and tackle Orlando Brown Jr. were noticeably beat several times. With the front five struggling, the Chiefs’ ground game never got going. KC gained just 73 yards on 12 carries.

Mahomes was sacked four times and hit nine times.

“We came in knowing it was a good defensive front,” Reid said of the Titans’ defense. “We wanted to stay out of third-and-longs and you don’t want penalties to kill you.. ... We’ve got to make sure we’re not in those situations against a good defensive front.”

SECOND-HALF FOOL’S GOLD

As they had in the previous weekend’s game against the Washington Football Team, the Chiefs hunkered down defensively in the second half against the Titans.

The Chiefs actually held their own against Titans star Derrick Henry, limiting him to 86 yards rushing — his second-lowest output this season.

But unlike the Chiefs’ last opponent, Tennessee had done more than enough damage in the first half. The Chiefs allowed multiple big plays Sunday, including receiver A.J. Brown’s 46-yard catch and 24-yard touchdown reception.

Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill started the game by connecting on 11 straight passes and finished 21 of 27 for 270 yards and a touchdown. He also scored a touchdown on a 2-yard run.

INJURIES

Mahomes left the game midway through the fourth quarter after a nasty hit. A Titans defender had Mahomes by the legs and another hit Mahomes in the head/neck area with his thigh. Mahomes wound up in the blue medical tent for evaluation, then returned to the sideline but did not re-enter the game.

INACTIVES

Linebacker Anthony Hitchens (elbow), fullback Michael Burton (pectoral), guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, center Austin Blythe, tackle Prince Tega Wanogho and cornerback Deandre Baker were not dressed for the game.

UP NEXT

The Chiefs play host to the New York Giants in Week 8 on Monday Night Football at Arrowhead Stadium.

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