The Kansas City Chiefs have let their fans down plenty of times in the playoffs through the years. They got an early jump on things this season.
The Chiefs seemed to be in control against the Tennessee Titans at home, and a win Sunday was a good idea in the very competitive AFC West. And somehow they lost on the last play of the game.
The old icing-the-kicker trick blew up in Andy Reid’s face. The Chiefs’ head coach called a timeout right before Ryan Succop’s 53-yard field-goal attempt with 5 seconds left. The attempt was short, but since the Chiefs called timeout, Succop got another shot. His second try was long enough and right down the middle and Tennessee won 19-17 as time expired.
The win was enormous for the Titans, a young team trying to take the AFC South title. But in terms of the playoff picture, the Chiefs’ loss is probably the bigger story. It could end up leading to a huge shift in the AFC.
Kansas City was angling toward an AFC West title and a bye after beating the Oakland Raiders at home last week. When the Chiefs took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter Sunday, it seemed like they were going to keep cruising. But they didn’t score another touchdown the rest of the day.
Tyreek Hill, who had a 68-yard touchdown in the first quarter on a breathtaking run ended up with one offensive touch for the entire game. Forget the ill-fated icing-the-kicker attempt, losing Hill in the play-calling was the biggest coaching fiasco for Kansas City.
Still, the Chiefs should have won. They led the Titans 17-10 late. On fourth-and-5 with a little less than four minutes left, Marcus Mariota made a gorgeous pass to DeMarco Murray to gain a first down at the 1-yard line. The Titans scored, but went for the two-point conversion and the lead. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful and it seemed like the Chiefs would escape.
But the Chiefs couldn’t put the game away. Kansas City couldn’t get a first down after the Titans’ fourth-quarter touchcown and had to punt. Mariota took over at his own 25 with 1:07 to go and calmly drove the Titans downfield just on the edge of Succop’s field-goal range.
Succop, who was cut by the Chiefs right before the 2014 season, drove the dagger into his former team with the long field goal.
The Chiefs had the tiebreaker over the Oakland Raiders, but they fell to 10-4 and a half-game behind the Raiders with the loss, with Oakland playing a late game in San Diego. The Chiefs have a good, balanced team and were on a roll headed toward the playoffs. One loss could unravel all of that.
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