The Kansas City Chiefs led the Tennessee Titans 21-3 at halftime. The 18-point spread didn’t accurately convey how thoroughly the home team outplayed the visiting one. The Arrowhead faithful, hardened by five consecutive home playoff losses, were poised to savor this one.
Then, as it so often does under the watchful eye of Andy Reid, it all went wrong. Marcus Mariota capped a 15-play drive spanning 8:29 by throwing a touchdown to himself. The Chiefs went three-and-out, then three-and-missed field goal. The Titans found paydirt again. KC could muster only 21 yards before punting away the ball, and eventually, the lead.
Smith drove a potential game-winning trip to Tennessee’s 44 before his fourth-down heave sailed too high. And like that, the Chiefs and Reid had painted another playoff failure.
The Chiefs gained 56 yards and scored zero points on 21 second half plays. Reid mismanaged his timeouts and the clock, which has long been his calling card. His latest unproductive masterpiece will be remembered as the time he experimented with becoming an Air Raid offense while forgetting his team’s bread and butter is running the football.
Smith threw 33 passes while the Chiefs totaled 16 rushes. Kareem Hunt received only 11 carries and gained 42 yards. In the second half he ran the ball five times. Five!
This is the guy who won the NFL rushing title in his rookie year. The Chiefs are 6-0 this year when he goes over 100 yards. He is a brutally potent weapon when trying to shorten or win a game.
And yet here we are, on this same familiar ground. So much had to go just so in order for the Titans to come back. Reid laying an egg was part of that, and he dutifully delivered, right on schedule.
No one should be surprised.