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Tennessee Titans begin Season with trip to Kansas City

Tennessee Titans (0-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (0-0)

Sunday, September 7th, 2014 | 12:00pm
Kansas City, MO | Arrowhead Stadium | TV: CBS

Tennessee TitansNashville, TN – The Tennessee Titans (0-0) begin the 2014 regular season this week with a trip to face the Kansas City Chiefs (0-0). Kickoff at Arrowhead Stadium (capacity 76,416) is scheduled for noon CDT on Sunday, September 7th.

This week’s game will be televised regionally on CBS, including Nashville affiliate WTVF News-Channel 5. Kevin Harlan will handle play-by-play duties, and Rich Gannon will serve as analyst.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) will lead the Titans on the field Sunday against the Chiefs. (Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports) [1]

Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) will lead the Titans on the field Sunday against the Chiefs. (Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports)

The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will broadcast the game across the Mid-South with the “Voice of the Titans” Mike Keith, analyst Frank Wycheck, gameday host Rhett Bryan and sideline reporter Jonathan Hutton.

Tennessee Titans Begin First Season With Whisenhunt

Tennessee TitansThe Titans turn their attention to the regular season after finishing the preseason with a 2-2 record. In last week’s preseason finale at LP Field, they suffered a 19-3 loss at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings.

Titans quarterback Jake Locker was held out of the Minnesota game, along with the rest of the starters on both sides of the ball. In three preseason starts, Locker completed 21 of 30 passes for 268 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. The fourth-year signal caller produced a preseason passer rating of 119.9, ranking second in the AFC and fourth in the NFL.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) attempts a pass against the Atlanta Falcons on a play in the first quarter of their game at the Georgia Dome. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)

Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker (10) attempts a pass against the Atlanta Falcons on a play in the first quarter of their game at the Georgia Dome. (Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports)

Locker helped the Titans offense as a whole rank highly in several categories during the preseason. The unit was seventh overall (349.0 yards per game), eighth in passing (236.3), third in yards per play (5.9), eighth in rushing average (4.3) and tied for second in efficiency inside the opponents’ 20 (75 percent touchdowns).

For the first time, the Titans are led into the regular season by Ken Whisenhunt, who became the 17th head coach in franchise history and the third in the “Titans era” on January 13th. He owns 17 previous years of NFL experience as a coach and nine seasons as a player.

In 2013, Whisenhunt was named Assistant Coach of the Year by the Professional Football Writers of America after a successful one-year stint as offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers.

Under his direction, the Chargers had the NFL’s fifth-ranked offense (393.3 yards per game) and the league’s top offense on third down (49.0 percent). Philip Rivers’ 105.5 passer rating matched the highest rating of his career and placed fourth among NFL signal callers.

Whisenhunt’s first stint as a head coach was with the Arizona Cardinals from 2007 through 2012. He won a franchise-record 49 games, leading the club to a pair of NFC West titles and its first NFC Championship.

Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs HelmetThe Chiefs are entering their second campaign under the direction of Andy Reid, who was named the franchise’s head coach in 2013 after spending 14 years as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.

In his first season in Kansas City, Reid helped the Chiefs produce an 11-5 record and earn a Wild Card playoff berth. However, in the opening round of the playoffs, they fell to the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 45-44.

No NFL team in 2013 produced more Pro Bowl players than the Chiefs. Ten Chiefs received the honor, and seven of those remain with the club in 2014: safety Eric Berry, running back Jamaal Charles, inside linebacker Derrick Johnson, defensive tackle Dontari Poe, quarterback Alex Smith, and outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. One of last year’s Pro Bowl selections, punt returner Dexter McCluster, signed with the Titans during the offseason.

Charles totaled 1,980 yards from scrimmage (1,287 rushing and 693 receiving) in 2013 to rank first in the AFC and second in the NFL. His 19 combined touchdowns (12 rushing, seven receiving) led the NFL.

Smith joined the Chiefs in a trade from the San Francisco 49ers in 2013. He passed for 3,313 yards as his team reached the playoffs for the third consecutive season (2011 and 2012 with the 49ers).

Titans-Chiefs Series At A Glance


A Titans Victory Would

What To Look For This Week

Ken Whisenhunt makes his debut as Titans head coach.

S Michael Griffin (22 career interceptions) needs one interception to tie Willie Alexander and Samari Rolle for 10th place on the
franchise career interceptions list.

S Michael Griffin (696 career tackles) needs five tackles to move past Marcus Robertson (700) for 10th place on the team’s all-time tackles list.

LT Michael Roos (143 career games) can tie Rob Bironas and Ken Burrough (144) for 14th place on the franchise’s all-time games played list.

KR Leon Washington needs one kickoff return for a touchdown to become the NFL’s all-time leader (currently tied with Josh Cribbs for first in NFL history with eight).

WR Nate Washington (267 receptions with the Titans) needs five receptions to tie Chris Johnson (272) for 10th on the team’s alltime list, and he needs six receptions to tie Drew Bennett (273) for ninth place.

WR Nate Washington (3,944 receiving yards with the Titans) needs 56 more receiving yards to become the ninth player to reach 4,000 receiving yards with the franchise, and he needs 90 more receiving yards to surpass Drew Bennett’s total (4,033) for eighth in franchise history.

Titans-Chiefs Series History

The Titans and Chiefs are historic rivals that played an integral role in the formation of the current NFL landscape. In 1959, late Titans owner K.S. “Bud” Adams, Jr. and the late Lamar Hunt, founder of the Chiefs, spearheaded the “Foolish Club,” a group of eight original American Football League teams that would begin play in 1960.

Adams’ Oilers played in Houston until moving to Tennessee in 1997, while Hunt’s original Dallas Texans moved to Kansas City in 1963. In 1970, the AFL and NFL merged, and the Oilers and Chiefs became members of the American Football Conference.

The Titans and Chiefs have met 49 times, with the Chiefs leading the series, 29-20. After a four-game winning streak from 1990-93, the Titans have lost seven out of the last 10 against the Chiefs.

Tennessee is 1-2 against the Chiefs at LP Field, including a 26-17 defeat in the most recent meeting between the clubs on October 6th, 2013.

On December 13th, 2004, the Chiefs defeated the Titans at LP Field by a score of 49-38. The 87 total points that night remain the most ever scored by two teams in a game at LP Field, and the Chiefs’ 49 points are the second-most scored by an opponent at LP Field.

Between 2007 and 2010, the Titans played the Chiefs three times at Arrowhead Stadium. On a 22-degree day on December 16th, 2007, Roydell Williams caught two touchdown passes in a 26-17 Titans win. Then, on October 19th of the next year, Tennessee’s franchise-record 332 rushing yards (primarily by Chris Johnson and LenDale White) contributed to a 34-10 victory. Kansas City claimed the next battle on December 26th, 2010, with quarterback Matt Cassel throwing three touchdown passes en route to a 34-14 final score.

The two franchises have met twice in postseason play, and the Chiefs were victorious both times. They met on December 12th, 1962 in the third AFL Championship Game, a contest won by the then-Dallas Texans on a Tommy Brooker field goal in double overtime. On January 16th, 1994, Joe Montana completed three touchdown passes in the second half to help defeat Warren Moon and the Oilers 28-20.

Titans-Chiefs: The Last Meeting

Kansas City Chiefs 26 at Tennessee Titans 17
Sunday, October 6th, 2013
LP Field, Nashville, TN

1 2 3 4 Final
Kansas City Chiefs 7 6 0 13 26
Tennessee Titans 0 0 10 7 17

 

The Kansas City Chiefs scored the first 13 points of the game and the final 13 points of the contest en route to a 26-17 victory over the Titans. The Titans battled to take a 17-13 lead early in the fourth quarter, but their effort was undone by turnovers and missed opportunities that began early.

On a rainy day at LP Field, the Titans defense limited the Chiefs to one-of-12 on third down (8.3 percent) and only allowed the Chiefs offense to score one touchdown in the game. But that one touchdown was the pivotal, go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.

When the Titans were unable to take advantage of a nine-yard punt by the Chiefs and build on their four-point lead, going three-and-out, quarterback Alex Smith and the Chiefs got the ball on their own 40-yard line with 11:28 remaining in regulation.

After getting help with an unnecessary roughness penalty on the Titans, running back Jamaal Charles capped the drive with a one-yard touchdown run that reclaimed the lead with 6:23 to play.

Tennessee’s next two possessions ended regrettably for quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who started in place of the injured Jake Locker (inactive with hip and knee injuries).

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Cooper (31) intercepts a pass intended for Tennessee Titans wide receiver Nate Washington (85). (Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports)

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Marcus Cooper (31) intercepts a pass intended for Tennessee Titans wide receiver Nate Washington (85). (Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports)

First, his pass to Nate Washington was intercepted by cornerback Marcus Cooper, leading to a 33-yard field goal by Ryan Succop.

Next, on the fourth play of the Titans’ next drive, Fitzpatrick was intercepted again, this time by safety Quintin Demps. Succop’s 48-yard field goal—his fourth of the day and the final points of the game—sealed the Titans’ fate with the clock nearing the two-minute mark.

Fitzpatrick completed 21 of 41 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown on the day, while Smith was 20-of-39 for 245 yards, no touchdowns and an interception.

A miscue on special teams helped give the Chiefs an unusual first score of the game. The Titans defense forced a punt on the opening series of the game, but after Dustin Colquitt’s punt bounced at the 22-yard line, the ball hit the foot of Tennessee’s Damian Williams and ricocheted to the end zone. Cooper recovered to give the Chiefs a 7-0 lead.

Succop added a 29-yard field goal later in the first quarter and a 24-yarder in the waning seconds of the first half, and the Chiefs went to the locker room with a 13-0 advantage.

The Titans stormed back to claim the lead, scoring on their first three possessions of the second half. They took the opening drive of the third quarter and went 82 yards, including a 26-yard scramble by Fitzpatrick. Subsequently, on third-and-seven, the quarterback dumped off a short pass to Chris Johnson, who raced 49 yards for the team’s first points.

After a three-and-out by the Chiefs, Fitzpatrick drove the Titans again. He completed passes of 15 and 24 yards to Kendall Wright, but after a first-and-goal at the seven-yard line, they were forced to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Rob Bironas.

Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker (82) leaps for yardage against Kansas City Chiefs free safety Kendrick Lewis (23) . (Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports) [7]

Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker (82) leaps for yardage against Kansas City Chiefs free safety Kendrick Lewis (23) . (Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports)

The Titans kept the momentum with a big play from the defense—an interception by safety Bernard Pollard at the Kansas City 42-yard line. Nine plays later, on the first snap of the fourth quarter, Fitzpatrick dropped back to pass on third-and-goal from the nine-yard line. When he couldn’t find a receiver open, he scrambled and crossed the goal line to help put the Titans ahead
17-13.

The lead was short-lived. A 20-yard punt return by Dexter McCluster got the Chiefs started on their own 34-yard line, and 10 plays later, Charles gave them a lead that they would not relinquish.