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Titans Pull Off Improbable Comeback Win Over Chiefs


KANSAS CITY— In the coldest game in franchise history, Titans kicker Ryan Succop had ice water in his veins.

Succop nailed a 53-yard field goal on the final play of the game as the Titans rallied to beat the Chiefs, 19-17.

Players spared Titans coach Mike Mularkey a Gatorade bath in the wake of an improbable come-from-behind win, but there was no denying the importance, or hiding the emotion, after the kick sailed over the crossbar.

"Wow. What a win,'' Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey said. "This is No.1 right here for me. I started jumping and screaming. I was very excited, I'm not going to lie. It was incredible."

"I could have gotten us flagged,'' Titans tight end Delanie Walker added with a smile. "I was on the field running to the locker room yelling stuff after he made it. You don't want to know what I was yelling. I can't really remember a win I had like this in my 11 years in the NFL. This is one of the most exciting ones I have been a part of.

"I believe in this team, man."

The Titans gave their fans even more reason to believe on Sunday, when the Titans pulled off a memorable rally on a day when the temperature was one degree at kickoff, with a wind chill of minus-9. It went down in the record books as the coldest game in franchise history.

The Titans trailed all game, but rallied late.

Real late.

Down 17-16, the Titans took over at their own 25-yard line with 1:07 left in the contest. Quarterback Marcus Mariota drove the team 40 yards on six plays, and put Succop in a position to win it. Barely.

Succop didn't kick one over 49 yards in pregame. But his 53-yard field goal sailed just over the crossbar when it mattered. Moments earlier, Succop was short on a kick from the same distance, but the kick didn't count because the Chiefs had called a time out.

"You could give me 10 kicks from there and I don't know if I could make one, honestly, in the weather and the cold and just kicking a frozen football,'' Succop said. "There is one explanation for why that ball went in and it's because it was the Lord's will for it to go in. Glory to God. What a day."

Mariota completed 19-of-33 passes for 241 yards, along with an interception. Running back DeMarco Murray ran for 89 yards on 18 carries while Derrick Henry ran for 58 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries for the Titans.

The Titans (8-6) travel to Jacksonville next Saturday to face the Jaguars.

Mularkey showed some guts late in the fourth quarter when, after a one-yard run by Henry made it 17-16 with just 3:12 remaining, the Titans tried to win it with a two-point conversion. But Mariota's pass was incomplete.

"I wanted to win, I wanted to win the game right there instead of going into overtime, instead of having to possibly do what we did there at the end," Mularkey said. "I wanted to get us up and make a statement to our team that that's why we came here. When we got the ball I went around the sidelines and talked to the guys on this team, the leaders and I said that this is my plan and they were all – let's go. They knew before the drive started that we were going for it."

When it didn't work, the Titans got a stop on defense, and got the ball back for a second chance.

"I think the amazing thing is nobody doubted that we were going to come back and win,'' Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan said. "It was a great team win."

The Titans got off to a miserable start, and they made it difficult on themselves throughout by committing three turnovers.

Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill ripped off a 68-yard touchdown on Kansas City's second offensive play, making it 7-0 early.

The Titans appeared on the verge of quickly answering back, but receiver Rishard Matthews lost a fumble inside the Kansas City five-yard after making a catch, and the Chiefs cashed it in for more points. It became 14-0 when Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith ran it in from 11 yards out on a scramble.

But the Titans answered back, scoring on a four-yard touchdown run by Henry early in the second quarter to cap off a six-play, 87-yard drive and make it 14-7. Henry had five carries for 41 yards on the scoring drive.

The Titans turned the ball over twice in the first half. In addition to Matthews, Mariota also lost a fumble that was recovered by Chiefs linebacker Ramik Wilson. The turnovers snapped a streak of four consecutive games without a turnover for the Titans.

The Titans turned in a pair of goal line stands to keep Kansas City out of the end zone, and stay in it.

The first came in the second quarter, and it was capped off with back-to-back stops from the one-yard line on third and fourth down. On the fourth-down play from the one, safeties Kevin Byard and Daimon Stafford combined with linebacker Wesley Woodyard to stop Chiefs running back Spencer Ware for no gain.

The second came in the third quarter, and it ended with an interception in the end zone from rookie cornerback LeShaun Sims. On the play, Sims was covering Chiefs receiver Jeremy Maclin, and he stepped in front of him to end the drive and keep the game at 17-7 with 6:02 in the third quarter.

The Chiefs made it 17-7 at halftime on a 34-yard field goal by kicker Cairo Santos.

The two teams played a scoreless third quarter before Succop connected on a 39-yard field goal to make it 17-10 with 11:54 remaining.

Then came the late rally, which sets the stage for a big finish to the 2016 season.

"Man, it's one of those feelings where you can't help but feel if this year is kind of magical," Byard said. "For (Ryan) to barely miss the kick the first time and then to get another chance, it's just crazy. We knew on this playoff run we would have to win these kinds of games, and we were able to get a W. It was magical.

"We don't quit and we keep going. With that mentality, it leads to this."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 15 action at Arrowhead Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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