Chiefs vs. Titans: 10 Observations

Here are some things that stood out on Sunday

The Kansas City Chiefs (10-4) lost a heartbreaker on Sunday, as they fell to the Tennessee Titans (8-6) by a score of 19-17 on a 53-yard field goal by Titans kicker Ryan Succop as time expired.

It was part of 12 unanswered points in the fourth quarter from the Titans, who have now won four of their last five games.

Here are 10 observations from Sunday's game:

  1. The Chiefs couldn't capitalize on Titans turnovers

The Chiefs built an identity this season around their ability to capitalize on their opponents' mistakes, particularly when it comes to turnovers. They came into Sunday's game tied for the NFL lead with 25 takeaways, and they had scored 79 points off those turnovers, which ranked fourth in the league.

While the Chiefs were able to add three more takeaways against the Titans, they were only able to convert those into seven points.

What has been a strength for the team this season didn't manifest itself on Sunday, and it proved to be one of the key differences in the game and was specifically stated by head coach Andy Reid in the postgame press conference.

"As far as the game goes, you have three turnovers and you only get seven points off of it – that's not like us," he said.

Before Sunday, the Chiefs were 21-0 under Reid when having a plus-2 turnover (or better) differential.

  1. The other big difference was inside the red zone

Besides the team's inability to convert turnovers into points, Reid mentioned the lack of success inside the red zone for the Chiefs offense as the other main difference in this game.

The Chiefs finished 1 of 4 inside the red zone, which included quarterback Alex Smith's interception in the end zone on a pass intended for Jeremy Maclin.

On the flipside, the Titans came into this game as the league's best inside the red zone—converting more than 71 percent of their drives inside an opponent's 20-yard line into touchdowns.

The Titans finished 2 of 2 inside the red zone on Sunday.

  1. Sunday was the coldest game at Arrowhead Stadium since 1994
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The temperature at kickoff was 1 degree.

  1. Tyreek Hill takes it to the house

Over the past few weeks, rookie fifth-round pick Tyreek Hill has displayed an athletic ability that few players in the NFL rival, and he made the most of the one offensive touch he had on Sunday.

Early in the first quarter, Hill, who was lined up in the backfield at running back, took the inside handoff and bounced it outside and was gone—racing 68 yards for the touchdown.

In the blink of an eye, Hill put the Chiefs on the board and scored his team-leading 10th touchdown of the season.

Hill now only trails Abner Haynes (12 TDs, 1960) and Billy Jackson (11 TDs, 1981) for the most touchdowns by a rookie in franchise history.

  1. Ron Parker made a phenomenal one-handed interception
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Perhaps the team's most versatile defensive back, veteran safety Ron Parker, made one of the best interceptions you'll see this season early in the third quarter.

On first-and-10 from the Titans 35-yard line, quarterback Marcus Mariota attempted a pass across the middle that Parker made a break on and stretched out his right arm and miraculously snagged and was able to secure it to his body.

It was the Chiefs' 15th interception this season, which ties them for third in the league entering Sunday's games.

  1. Alex Smith rushed for a touchdown, found Jeremy Maclin again on Sunday

For the second time this season and for only the second time in his career, Smith lost a game in which he rushed for a score—falling to 9-2 in those regular-season contests.

Late in the first quarter and on third-and-goal from the Titans 10-yard line, Smith scrambled outside of the pocket and sliced his way through oncoming defenders as he crossed the goal line for the score, which gave the Chiefs a two-touchdown lead within the first 15 minutes of the game.

Smith, who heading into Sunday's game had the second-best passer rating in the month of December of any quarterback in the league since 2013, finished 15 of 28 for 163 yards with an interception with a passer rating of 56.1.

Smith's favorite target on Sunday was veteran Jeremy Maclin, who finished with a season-high six catches for 82 yards, including two key third-and-long conversions.

Despite the loss, it was nice to see Maclin get back involved in the offense.

  1. Eric Berry was a force again on Sunday
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Berry finished the game with a game-high 11 tackles, including one for loss and a key forced fumble.

He was constantly racing up from his safety position and sticking his nose in there to fill in the run game.

Midway through the first quarter, Mariota hit receiver Rishard Matthews for a 35-yard gain, but as Matthews raced for the end zone, Berry was able to knock the ball loose at the 5-yard line. It was recovered and returned 56 yards the other way by safety Daniel Sorensen.

Berry nearly had another takeaway later in the game as he leapt up on a 50-50 ball in coverage on Matthews, but Berry wasn't able to make the catch and Matthews came down with a 46-yard reception.

  1. Cornerback Terrance Mitchell has another good game

If you're looking for another positive to come out of this game for the Chiefs, the guy to look at is cornerback Terrance Mitchell, who had a nice follow-up performance to his standout game last Thursday night against the Raiders.

Mitchell, who had a career high of 72 snaps last week against the Raiders, finished Sunday's game with two tackles and three passes defensed, which led the team.

  1. Rookie Chris Jones steps up late on the two-point conversion attempt
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Jones continued his standout rookie season on Sunday with a quarterback hit and a nice pressure on Mariota on the failed two-point conversion attempt late in the game.

Jones fought his way through the block and was able to get contact with Mariota before he could get a pass off, which helped the Chiefs conserve their 17-16 lead with just a few minutes left in the game.

  1. Chiefs offense cooled off in the second half

The Chiefs quickly raced out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and held a 17-7 lead at halftime, but they didn't have the same kind of success offensively in the final 30 minutes of the game, when they were shutout by the Titans defense.

The Chiefs offense ran 28 plays for a total of 208 yards (7.43 ypp) in the first half, and ran 29 plays for a total of 109 yards (3.76 ypp) in the second half.

"I'll take the responsibility for that," Reid said after the game of the offensive struggles in the second half. "I have to put the guys in better positions to make plays."

The Titans went on to score 12 unanswered points in the fourth quarter and walked away with a key victory in the AFC playoff picture.

Photos from the Chiefs Week 15 matchup against the Titans

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