Patrick Mahomes returns, but Tennessee holds off Kansas City

Derrick Henry (22) ran roughshod over the Chiefs on Sunday in Nashville, Tenn., his 68-yard touchdown run in the third quarter just part of a 188-yard, two-score day.
Derrick Henry (22) ran roughshod over the Chiefs on Sunday in Nashville, Tenn., his 68-yard touchdown run in the third quarter just part of a 188-yard, two-score day.James Kenney/Associated Press/FR171271 AP via AP

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Forcing Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs to settle for a bunch of field goals gave the Tennessee Titans a chance to stay close.

Ryan Tannehill and a cornerback activated off injured reserve only a week ago helped make the Chiefs pay for their fifth and sixth attempts.

Tannehill threw a 23-yard touchdown to Adam Humphries with 23 seconds left, and Joshua Kalu blocked a last-second field goal attempt to beat the Chiefs, 35-32, and spoil the return of NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes.

‘‘It’s fun to win a game like that, battle back in the fourth-quarter at home and find a way to win is a ton of fun,’’ Tannehill said.


The Titans (5-5) only had a chance after a bad snap by the Chiefs on Harrison Butker’s fifth field goal attempt of the day. Kansas City coach Andy Reid blamed communication for the snap taking holder Dustin Colquitt by surprise, and he threw the ball away in desperation for an intentional grounding call, setting the Titans up at their own 39.

Tannehill scrambled for 18, hit Anthony Firsker for 20 yards, then found Humphries who ran in for the TD. Tannehill also ran for the 2-point conversion. The Chiefs (6-4) had a final chance with Mahomes. He drove them down, setting up Butker for another field goal try from 52 yards.

Kalu blocked the kick with his left hand, and the Titans ran onto the field to celebrate. Kalu wound up at the bottom of a pile, and he said he kept getting closer each time watching the Chiefs’ cadence, hands, and eyes. The block was a blur but not his decision to jump at the snap.

‘‘As soon as I hit it, it was automatic joy,’’ said Kalu, recently activated from injured reserve.

Kansas City coach Andy Reid, 1-8 all-time against Tennessee, said he wanted to see a replay of the blocked field goal, thinking Kalu was offside. But Reid took the blame.


‘‘We were in position to close it, and we didn’t get that done,’’ Reid said. ‘‘My responsibility. Then we were too sloppy.’’

Derrick Henry ran for 188 yards, including a 68-yard TD that put Tennessee up, 20-19, with 5:58 left in the third. His 1-yard TD with 6:26 remaining pulled the Titans to 29-27.

Tannehill finished with 181 yards passing and ran for 37 yards for the win.

The loss spoiled the best passing game this season for Mahomes as the Chiefs outgained the Titans, 530-371. Mahomes threw for 446 yards and three touchdowns. His best play came with the pocket collapsing around him when he jumped up to throw over the linemen to Mecole Hardman who ran for a 63-yard TD with 11:54 left and a 29-20 lead.

‘‘The knee feels fine, and I’m glad to get through another game,’’ Mahomes said of his knee and ankle that had been hurting last month.

Mahomes looked very healthy playing for the first time since dislocating his right kneecap Oct. 17.

He got lucky when his first pass first ruled an interception was overturned by replay for Titans safety Kenny Vaccaro trapping the ball on the ground. Mahomes capped the Chiefs’ first drive with a 3-yard shovel pass to Travis Kelce.

The Chiefs sacked Tannehill four times and also forced a fumble but could only turn that into one of Butker’s four made field goals.


Tannehill got the Titans going with a 52-yard throw to Kalif Raymond, then he hit Anthony Firkser for a 9-yard TD. Then rookie linebacker David Long forced a fumble by Damien Williams, and linebacker Rashaan Evans picked up the ball, juked away from Mahomes and ran 53 yards for a TD and a 13-10 lead with 6:14 left in the second quarter.