The Kansas City Chiefs punched their ticket to Super Bowl 54 with an epic come from behind win against the Tennesee Titans. After a slow start on their first possession of the game, the Chiefs would find their stride as Patrick Mahomes picked up where he left off in the divisional round. Once the offense managed to get going there was no stopping the Chiefs. It took all eleven on the field. The film shows it best how they were able to manipulate and bend the Titans, as well as in the end break them. Time to dive in!
Early on Tennesee showed their commitment to stopping the deep ball. In this play, they were in a zone coverage looking to stop the middle. Sammy Watkins clears out the area taking the eyes of the defenders. However, as the Titans defenders come over to cover Watkins, Damien Williams stops on a little hitch route, and Mahomes takes what the D gives him for a solid pick up. This would be the theme of the day. Tennesee would throw many different coverages at the Chiefs, as well as movements but the Chiefs always had an answer.
This is just two playmakers showing outstanding chemistry to connect for a big gain. The Titans have the play covered up initially. They drop back one deep safety and have the corner trail Tyreek Hill, while another defender comes to cover him over the top. However, Mahome is able to extend the play. Mahomes fires a laser beam to Hill as he starts to come back and finds himself in the soft spot of the zone. This is a huge play.
This play design by Andy Reid was just outstanding! The Chiefs were trying to get their speed to the edges where they thought they would have an advantage against the Titans. Mecole Hardman goes in motion, which causes a shift in the Titans’ defense. This shift, however, sets up easy blocks for Blake Bell, Travis Kelce, and Eric Fisher to create a wall on the edge for Hardman to get around. As Hardman comes over at the snap he uses his speed to beat the initial defender and follows good blocks for a pick up of around eight yards. Fisher shows great effort in the end as he was the man who made a nice block on the outside backer. Fisher finished his man through the whistle. The Chiefs, who were somewhat outplayed physically by Tennesee in the first game in November, this time wasted no time being the aggressors on Offense.
The Chiefs again want to get their speed to the edges. This time they go to Hill. Pre-snap motion by Williams shifts the Titans into a favorable position for the Chiefs to block them. As the ball is snapped Tennesee shows that they had a blitz dialed, but with Hills’ speed, it’s too late. Kelce avoids the first man, who had no chance to stop Hill. Kelce gets up to lay down a nice legal cut block, as Watkins also gets his man blocked creating a sprint to the pylon for Hill. KC was on the board.
After a poor week against the Texans, Robinson was able to redeem himself. This time Mahomes just takes what the defense gave to him and it resulted in a big gain. The high low dig from Hill and Watkins takes all the attention of the defense, as the man across from Robinson dropped back as to stop the deep ball. Robinson just stops and is wide open. The result is an easy throw and catch as the Chiefs were starting to bend the Titans into their favor. Tennesee was going to make the Chiefs earn every yard but with plays like this, they would not be able to defend against the deep ball much longer.
This play deserved the wide shot as well as the end zone view. The Titans could only double cover Hill for a short time before the Chiefs would find a great way to get him in a one on one match up. Hardman motions to the inside of Hill but his man follows him, showing the Titans are in man. Hardman immediately heads to the endzone out of his break, taking the safety with him. Hill blazed past his man on an outside release. Mahomes was looking away from the safety the whole time, turns back and throws a dart to Hill.
Now for the endzone view. Tennesee showed token walk-ups all day and moved around their front seven pre-snap. Most of the time they would drop it as we see here, leaving only three pass rushers. Mitchell Schwartz comes down and punches the DT in the ribs, knocking him off his feet. The offensive line played outstanding all day. They allowed zero pressure from the defense, Mahomes easily made his reads and picked apart the Titans.
The play below was stunning to watch from this angle. It displays just how much power and force go into a Mahomes sidearm throw. The Titans have the play well covered and also get pressure with a middle blitz and movement from the DL. They also drop two players back. While on the run Mahomes is able to process all of this and throws another dart to Kelce for a big gain. Even when the pressure gets to him, and the play is well covered downfield, Mahomes can find ways with his ability and improvisation to win reps.
On this drive, the Chiefs just take what the defense gives them. Tennesee looks like they are in cover three but the player assigned to stop the flat checks out Kelce. This brief second of hesitation allows Williams to come free in the flat. Williams breaks a tackle and a nice block from Kelce gets him a few more yards in the open field. Willaims wasn’t a world-beater running the ball but he made enough of an impact catching the ball to really put the Titans in a bind.
The Chiefs execute a trips formation here with Williams also running a flat route. The Chiefs use Andy Reid’s four-strong passing concepts, sending Hill on a post and Watkins on a wheel. This, along with the flat route, puts pressure on the Titans secondary. Kelce comes open in their zone on his curl route and it’s good for a solid pick up. This has been the Chiefs go-to for a while and when the Chiefs catch opponents playing some softcover three, such as the Titans here, they can pick teams apart.
This was by far the play of the game, if not the last 50 years for the Chiefs. This play is ridiculous. Like the Titans had done all game they showed a four-man rush but drop into a three-man rush with an inside stunt by the right DE, and the walk up backer drops into a spy. Eric Fisher has a good pass set and his man was playing wide so he just drives him up the field away from Mahomes. The other four linemen do a nice job creating a wall but the Titans do get a man free on their stunt just as Mahomes decides to scramble. He accelerates past the stunting Titan but finds himself one on one in open field with the spy. Nobody is open, but the spy doesn’t know that. Mahomes gives a quick hesitation step while keeping his eyes downfield, freezing the spy. This brief moment gives Mahomes space to accelerate and gets into the open field. A tight rope routine gives him the first, but that killer instinct kicks in after. He breaks one tackle and is miraculously able to score one of the greatest touchdowns in NFL postseason history. This was the Chiefs’ first lead of the game and they weren’t looking back after.
It was time to get Damien Williams going in the second half. The Chiefs get the Titans to blitz right into their zone run. The Titans backers hesitated slightly and Hill’s motion helps set up the Chiefs’ double team blocks. On the play side, DRob has a nice block from his perimeter position. Schwartz has a great block to open a massive hole and even knocks his man to the ground. LDT stays patient and waits for the blitzer before gets good contact on the drive to give Williams a ton of space. The jumpcut by Williams outside gives him a few extra yards as the Chiefs were starting to wear on the Titans.
Just as in the first meeting, the Chiefs were able to find rips of five to ten yards running the ball, because of how concerned Tennesee was with stopping the pass. The fake reverse motions holds the LB’s in place for a few moments as the Chiefs run a true zone with Blake Bell going to block the backside end. Reiter and LDT make a nice play side combo up to the mike backer, while Schwart has another awesome one on one block with a wide defender. His man does slip off at the end but Williams has already got six yards on another good pick up.
This time Darwin Thompson gets in on the action. Thompson motions over and the Titans add another man to the box and try to tighten down on the power the Chiefs are running. Schwartz and LDT erase the three-technique into the backside backer as Wiz and Bell both pull around for the wide walk up and the play side mike backer. They are able to log both of them inside giving Thompson a lot of room to run to the outside. Thompsom breaks a tackle by jumping over one man and then stays on his feet showing his potential to be a tackle-breaking back in the Chiefs offense.
This play is just another Mahomes scramble but it should also highlight how well he and the OL dealt with multiple looks, stunts, and coverages. The Titans threw everything they had at the Chiefs but it didn’t matter. Watch the left as the Titans try an end and tackle stunt to separate Fisher and Wiz. Fisher takes the initial inside rush and keeps the end flat passing him down to Wiz as they switch men. LDT and Schwartz stonewall their guys. The defense drops into coverage. Mahomes sees the space to his left from the good blocking and takes off. After the first drive of the game, the Titans had no answers for anything KC did.
Mr. January strikes again. Another fake reverse from Hill pulls the defender’s eyes as the Chiefs run a midline zone right at them. Kelce and Bell reach both edge defenders while LDT and Schwartz take away the play side DT and Backer. Williams comes in but seeing the Titans flowing hard to the hole. He bounces it and is able to get in for six. The Chiefs were getting closer to putting the Titans away in this one.
The 60-yard bomb to Watkins will also get the high view and the end zone view. The end zone shows the Titans bringing a good little dealy stunt/ blitz after dropping a spy as well. Mahomes appears to never take his eyes away from downfield but rolls right to avoid the defense. It’s at this time he unloads from his hip a strike to Watkins, displaying the full power of his arm, as well as his sensational playmaking.
The high view is also crazy and reveals the kind of coverage the Titans were trying to play. On this big third down, they sold out to stop Hill and Kelce. Hill had a little drag around the first down sticks but his man drops back into coverage as the safety runs down to play him. Hill then runs into another backers’ zone. Kelce is played man on man as the other safety comes and they bracket him off. However, Watkins has his man beat and the man who dropped off of Hill into coverage is looking Kelce’s way. As Mahomes winds up to throw it is too late for the defender, as Watkins is by him, and runs it in for six. Mahomes was too good on this day and he showed off why he is the best quarterback in the NFL.
The Chiefs are all Demarcus Robinson on this play. The best play in football. The knee to end the game and send the Chiefs to the Super Bowl. In order for the Chiefs to win, the offense will have to remain the unstoppable juggernaut, they have been through the first two games of this run. This game was a team effort and to win the ultimate prize it will take all eleven.