Going to Kansas City. Kansas City here we come.
Well, I might take a train. I might take a plane.
But if I have to walk, I’m gonna get there just the same.
Pinch yourselves Titans fans. You earned it, just when those doubters were convinced this season was over for the last month, you band of brothers made it happen.
You’ve waited since 2008.
Your Titans finally woke up.
They were down to their last straw. They knew the situation. Win and you’re in. Don’t waste it. Jump on the Jaguars and there will not be another AFC team to take your place in the playoffs.
They pulled it off in sub-freezing weather. Their teeth were chattering, but their hearts were hotter than a Saturday night on lower Broadway in August.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was not at the top of his passing game. But he was smart enough to rely on his head and legs and he ran the Jaguars ragged. When they needed crucial first downs, Mariota kept moving the chains.
The 15-10 Titans win wasn’t pretty to everyone except the Titans players and coaches. And, those who made it happen.
Safety Kevin Byard made it happen. The second year pro out of Middle Tennessee State made it happen. He was born with a nose for a football. He had six tackles. Four of them were solo. He defended two passes and made two interceptions.
Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey made it happen. He carried 305 pounds around to make it happen. He hounded Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles like a bloodhound.
There were others. Kicker Ryan Succop put three field goals through the goalposts. Kicking in those temperatures make kicking the football feel hard as bricks.
Running back Derrick Henry made it happen. The second year pro from Alabama got his chance to show what he could do with enough carries.
When Henry and Mariota teamed for a screen pass, Henry took it 66 yards to the house. No field goals this time.
Late in a game that was up for the team that wanted it most, Mariota did what he does best. He made the Jags miss. He faked out one Jaguar. He stiff-armed another. He took off and when he felt the Jags closing in on him, Mariota slid to the frozen ground, knowing it was for a critical first down.
“He does a good job,’’ Jags coach Doug Marrone told a Florida newspaper about Mariota. “ He extends plays and keeps things going. I look at it as making a play that you’re not prepared for. It is very hard to defend. That’s why he’s a good quarterback.’’
The teams were almost equal on the stat sheets. The defense held the Jags offense to 83 yards running. The score was 15-10 with 10:48 remaining when the Jags’ Yannick Ngakoue’s 67-yard touchdown made it a game.
“I was not surprised by their effort,’’ Mularkey said of his team. “That’s who they are . . . They’re a very tight knit group. I’m a glad to be a part of it.’’
Next step is making the Chiefs a priority. They have one of the top fanbase of any NFL team. It will be another wintery outdoor stage.
Can they make it happen?
Joe Biddle is a WKRN.com sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org