Mariota has more interceptions (15) than touchdown passes (13), but any possibility of the Titans pulling off the upset in Kansas City will be because of the play of Mariota.
It has been an interesting year for the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Tennessee Titans, trailing 21-3 at halftime, scored 19 unanswered points in the second half to come from behind and beat the Kansas City Chief 22-21 in the AFC wild card game Sunday. The two-point conversion attempt failed - and almost brought disaster for the Titans when Mariota was sacked, but officials ruled he was down before the ball came loose. Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson scooped a loose ball and returned it for what seemed like the go-ahead touchdown with less than two minutes to play.
But the scare that the Chiefs put into them was phenomenal.
On the second play of the fourth quarter, Titans running back Derrick Henry broke free for a 35-yard touchdown run.
Chiefs All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce left the game late in the first half after a hit by Titans' Johnathan Cyprien. Alex Smith has been nothing short of incredible this season, and with the Titans rush defense looking to take away Kareem Hunt, this game will be all on Alex Smith.
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The ball was deflected, only to be caught by Mariota, who ran in for a score.
The Chiefs still led 21-10 at that point, but the offense had gone cold. Two-point conversion attempts after each score failed.
The Chiefs' win streak is over and the long home playoff win drought continues thanks to a 22-21 defeat Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium.
With almost six minutes left in the game, the Chiefs still had an opportunity to retake the lead.
That has become a familiar refrain for the Chiefs in the playoffs.
Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters hid out in the locker room during the national anthem before their playoff game against Tennessee, just as he has done all season. Three first downs brought the Chiefs to the Titans' 44-yard line, but Smith's fourth-and-9 pass over the middle bounced off receiver Albert Wilson's fingertips, and the Titans retook possession with a little over two minutes remaining.