If there was any question about the play-making ability of second year running back Larry Johnson, they've been answered once and for all. Johnson is making his mark as a go-to player who continues to spark the Chiefs offense and set up their second half rally in which Johnson scored on touchdown runs of 46 and 41 yards respectively.
But this game didn't start out so well for the Chiefs as the Tennessee Titans grabbed a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Back-up quarterback Billy Volek, subbing for the injured Steve McNair torched the Chiefs secondary play after play. On the first drive of the game, running back Chris Brown ran the ball with authority and he ended the 7-play, 71-yard drive with a one yard touchdown run that gave the Titans a 7-0 lead.
After the Chiefs offense stalled, the Titans went back to work. Volek knowing the Chiefs secondary was struggling attacked them by using local fan favorite Drew Bennett. On a perfectly executed crossing pattern the two connected on a 42-yard catch and run that gave the Titans a 14-0 lead.
The Chiefs offense knowing they were backed against the wall had to start making plays. Trent Green put the game on his right arm knowing like the Chiefs, the Titans secondary was weak. Kansas City in 3 plays cut the Titans lead to 14-7. After a pair of short runs, Green found Eddie Kennison wide open deep in the secondary and he waltzed untouched into the end zone for a 58-yard scoring strike.
After the second turnover by Chris Brown, the Chiefs converted that error into another quick touchdown. This time Johnnie Morton was the recipient as Green executed a perfect play fake that resulted in a 30-yard touchdown that knotted the score at 14-14 with just over a minute to play in the first half.
However the Chiefs defense could not keep the game tied as Volek moved the ball 80 yards in five plays. For the second time in the game he hit Bennett who beat Chiefs cornerback Dexter McCleon in the corner of the end zone. That score gave the Titans a 21-14 halftime lead and the Chiefs headed into the locker room feeling fortunate they were only down by seven points. The Titans nearly had 300 yards passing in the first half.
In the second quarter, Kansas City took the opening possession and tied the score at 21-21 after Derrick Blaylock scored from one yard out. But the Chiefs defense once again could not hold the lead as Volek and Bennett connected on their third score of the game. This time Bennett beat cornerback Eric Warfield on a fade pattern from seven yards out that gave the Titans a 28-21 lead.
But that was when Larry Johnson took the game into his own hands. After Blaylock was unable to really establish any running rhythm, Johnson came in like he did last week in Oakland and quickly made an impression. After Green hit Gonzalez for a first down, Johnson took a pitch from his quarterback and ran to the short side of the field. Johnson showed both his power and speed on the play as he broke a tackle and side stepped another after a great downfield block by wide receiver Chris Horn. Johnson with a clear path to the end zone ran past the other pursuers and raced into the end zone for a 46-yard run that tied the score at 28-28.
After the defense forced the Titans to punt, Johnson and company went back to work. This time they executed a perfect 81-yard drive in six plays. Green used the play action to set up the run. After quickly moving into Titans territory, Green faked a pass and handed the ball off to Johnson who quickly split the linebacker and safety then cut back inside and raced into the end zone with defenders bouncing off his legs to give the Chiefs their first lead of the game at 35-28. On the 41-yard touchdown run, Johnson was the benefactor of a great block by Willie Roaf and Johnnie Morton downfield who took out two defenders.
After the Chiefs score, the Titans had the ball back with just over four minutes left in the game. It would have been a great opportunity for the Chiefs defense to make a stand but Volek, who threw for 426 yards on the night, threw his fourth touchdown of the game this time finding Derrick Mason on a 4-yard pass play. That tied the score at 35-35 and Kansas City had a little more than two minutes left to go for the game winning field goal.
But the recent history of the Chiefs offense suggested that they'd collapse in the fourth quarter and it did. This time fullback Tony Richardson fumbled the ball inside the 20-yard line. The Titans however did the Chiefs a huge favor as they kept the ball on the ground. The Chiefs used all three of their timeouts and prevented the Titans from getting a first down. Titans kicker Gary Anderson nailed a 27-yard field goal that gave the home team a 38-35 lead.
With the clock under two minutes and no time-outs, Kansas City knew they had to work efficiently to get the ball into field goal position. Dante Hall did his part as he was able to get the ball out to the 36-yard line on his best kick-off return of the game.
Green went to work quickly finding Tony Gonzalez for a quick first down. After moving into Titans territory, Green hit Chris Horn on a picture perfect out pattern that netted Kansas City a 17-yard gain and put the ball at the Titans 31-yard line. After a short gain by Johnson and a incomplete pass, the Chiefs were facing a third and six. Green feeling a heavy rush found Johnson in the flat who side stepped a defender and broke a tackle that gave the Chiefs a first down at the 21-yard line.
On the play, the Titans were called for a questionable roughing the passer penalty but it gave the Chiefs the ball inside the ten yard line with forty seconds remaining in the game. That set up the game winning play. Green for the second straight week found Eddie Kennison in the corner of the end zone. Kennison left cornerback Andrew Dyson in his dust as he caught the 9-yard pass from Green for the game winner.
The play gave the Chiefs a 42-38 lead but the Titans still had thirty seconds left and one timeout to stage a miracle comeback. This time the Chiefs made the stop. Trying to do a hook and ladder play, the Titans turned the ball and Kansas City linebacker Kawika Mitchell picked up the loose ball and scampered untouched into the end zone from 39-yards out that gave the Chiefs a 49-38 lead.
With the win the Chiefs improved to 5-8 on the season as they'll face their most hated of rivals the Denver Broncos next Sunday in Kansas City. The Broncos are 8-5 on the season but come into Arrowhead after narrowly defeating the Miami Dolphins at home last Sunday.
Believe it or not but the Chiefs are still mathematically in the AFC playoff hunt. The entire AFC must lose for Kansas City to make the playoffs if they win their last three games but heck until the Fat Lady sings; it's not over!