KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP)Derrick Henry was rumbling his way through the Kansas City Chiefs defense, and through the Titans history books, during a first half that went exactly the way Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel dreamed it would Sunday night.
The second half was more like a nightmare.
After he had run for nearly 100 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, the Chiefs sold out to stop him in the second, forcing Titans backup quarterback Malik Willis to beat them instead. And when he struggled to move Tennessee through the air, that gave Kansas City the opening it needed to march downfield for the tying touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Chiefs proceeded to win the coin toss in overtime, moved swiftly downfield with the help of a couple of crucial plays, and Harrison Butker’s go-ahead field goal proved to be the difference in a heart-stopping 20-17 victory.
The Titans in fact had one last chance after Butker’s kick, but things went about as well as they did for Willis throughout the second half. Henry was stuffed on first down, then Willis was sacked on consecutive plays, before his desperation throw on fourth down was batted down to send the Chiefs streaming off the bench in celebration.
Forgotten in the drama of the Chiefs’ late comeback was Henry’s latest spectacular performance.
After running for 219 yards and two touchdowns last week against Houston, the bruising running back moved past Earl Campbell and into first place in franchise history Sunday night with 74 career touchdown runs.
Henry also became the fifth running back since 1950 to have at least 17 games with 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns in their first seven seasons. The others to do it happen to be good company: Hall of Famers LaDainian Tomlinson, Jim Brown and Emmitt Smith and former MVP Shaun Alexander.
The problem on Sunday night was Henry didn’t have any help.
After missing last week’s game against the Texans, quarterback Ryan Tannehill was limited by his sore ankle Wednesday and Friday while missing Thursday’s workout entirely. He tried to warm up before Sunday night’s game, but it was clear by the way he was unwilling to put any pressure on the offending ankle that he wouldn’t be able to go.
Willis got the nod for the second straight week. And it wasn’t a whole lot better than his first career start.
He made a couple of nice throws early in the game, but when the Chiefs made the Titans one-dimensional in the second half, he failed to produce. Willis finished just 5 of 16 for 80 yards while adding 80 yards on the ground.
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