鈥?Marcus Mariota did everything he could to help the Titans advance in the playoffs Christian Kirk Cardinals Jersey , throwing a crazy touchdown pass to himself , running for crucial first downs and providing the kind of spark that Tennessee needed to rally from a 21-3 halftime hole.Heck, he even threw a crucial block on the run that clinched the game.It all added up to a heart-stopping 22-21 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday, the first postseason win for the Titans in 14 years and one that will provide some relief 鈥?for the week, at least 鈥?for embattled coach Mike Mularkey and his remarkable bunch of underdogs.“Special,” said Mariota, whose 205 yards passing included the go-ahead 22-yard strike to Eric Decker with six minutes left. “I’m part of a great team. I’m part of a group of guys that really believe in each other. And it’s something special.”Now, the Titans will find out Sunday whether they’re headed to New England or Pittsburgh next. Derrick Henry added a career-high 156 yards rushing and another score for Tennessee (10-7), while a defense fileted by Alex Smith and the Chiefs (10-7) in the first half pitched a shutout in the second half 鈥?dooming the Kansas City franchise to another humiliating postseason defeat.The Chiefs haven’t won a home playoff game since January 1994.“I’m in shock,” Smith said. “The swing at halftime to the final whistle, definitely a shock. Yeah. Didn’t feel like we played up to how we’re capable of playing and that’s disappointing. Smith threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns , but most of that came before halftime. He couldn’t get going in the second half and misfired on fourth-and-9 at the Titans 44 with just over two minutes to go, denying the Chiefs a chance for Harrison Butker to kick a go-ahead field goal.Adding to the depression? Henry appeared to fumble as Tennessee tried to run out the clock.The Chiefs’ Derrick Johnson picked up the ball and returned it for a touchdown with 1:47 to go, and the crowd went wild as fireworks shot off over Arrowhead Stadium. But a replay clearly showed Henry down, the call was overturned and Tennessee succeeded in running out the clock. Mariota threw a block that helped spring Henry for a 22-yard gain on third-and 10 late that helped finish off the comeback.“Grit. It’s just grit Adidas Derick Brassard Jersey ,” Henry said. “We told them we’ve got 30 minutes left, all we’ve got to do is play our game. Execute the plays and everything will take care of itself.”In the first half, the Chiefs looked every bit the team that had won four straight in convincing fashion, and the Titans looked every bit the team that backed into the playoffs.Kareem Hunt, the league’s top rusher this season , plunged in from 1 yard for a 7-0 lead. Smith hit Travis Kelce, who later left with a concussion, with a 13-yard touchdown pass. And he added another TD toss to Demarcus Robinson on the final offensive play for a 21-3 lead at the break.“We were feeling good,” Johnson said. “We came in 21-3 and that’s all we were talking about: ‘Finish. Don’t get complacent. We have bigger goals than this game.'”But it was the Titans who finished, and it was Mariota who led the way. He capped a 91-yard TD drive to start the second half in the bizarre fashions: Mariota threw a TD pass to himself.His throw to the end zone was batted right back at him by Darrelle Revis, and Mariota hauled it in and dived for the goal line. It was the first time a player has thrown a TD pass to himself in the playoffs, and the first time in any game since the Vikings’ Brad Johnson during the 1997 season.“Right place, right time,” Mariota said with a smile.Tennessee nearly squandered its momentum when Adoree Jackson fumbled a punt, but the Chiefs were unable to pick up a first down and Butker knocked a 48-yard field goal off the upright. And the Titans capitalized when Henry rumbled nearly untouched 35 yards for a touchdown a few minutes later.The Chiefs’ offense had been rendered impotent by that point A.J. Green Youth Jersey , unable to move the ball after Kelce left with a concussion in the first half. And the Titans blanketed Tyreek Hill whenever he touched the ball, and they stacked the box to slow Hunt down in obvious rushing situations.Finally, the Titans pulled ahead on Mariota’s strike to Decker, and that led to more controversy from the officials. Tennessee went for a 2-point conversion and a field-goal edge, Mariota fumbled as he was getting sacked and Frank Zombo scooped up the ball for two points the other way.But the officials had blown the play dead, ruling Mariota’s progress had been stopped, and the Titans retained the slimmest of margins 鈥?one that would stand up to the final whistle.“I feel really good around our football team,” Mularkey said. “I know what I’m going to get from them every week. That’s a good feeling, knowing how they’re going to come out, no matter what.”OFFICIAL COMPLAINTSThe Chiefs also complained about the officials blowing their whistles on a play late in the first half, when Mariota fumbled while getting sacked. He clearly lost the ball and the Chiefs picked it up, but the play could not be reviewed. Tennessee wound up kicking a field goal.RECORD RALLYOnly two other road teams have rallied from at least 18 down to win a playoff game in NFL history. The Cowboys came back from 21-3 in the first half to beat the 49ers 30-28 in December 1972, and the Lions came back from 27-7 in the second half to beat the 49ers in December 1957.KELCE HURTKelce sustained his concussion on a wicked blow from Titans S Johnathan Cyprien late in the first half. Kelce, who had four catches for 66 yards, lay stunned on the turf for a moment before wobbling to his feet. Trainers quickly took him to the locker room and he did not return. — Pittsburgh Steelers rookie quarterback Mason Rudolph exudes confidence heading into his first NFL preseason game Thursday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Rudolph admitted that jitters may be there as the Steelers prepare to face the defending Super Bowl champions in Philadelphia. But the Steelers’ third-round pick has settled into a comfort zone two weeks into training camp.
“It’s just football Landon Collins Jersey ,” Rudolph said. “I think everyone has a little bit of nerves because it’s going to be the first one back. But just like your debut in college, you get out there, you make a completion and it starts flowing like football has always been.”
Rudolph is in a fight for the backup quarterback spot behind Ben Roethlisberger. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday that Rudolph will see time under center against the Eagles, along with veteran Landry Jones and Josh Dobbs, the Steelers’ fourth-round pick a year ago.
Tomlin is eager to see how Rudolph can direct the offense and maintain possession.
“Mason’s done a really good job, but he hasn’t been hit,” Tomlin said. “Ball security is much more difficult in-stadium because a training camp environment is controlled in a lot of ways. You don’t touch or get close to the quarterback, so a quarterback’s ability to secure the football doesn’t get tested until they play in-stadium preseason football.”
Rudolph will have an opportunity to show how far he’s come since the Steelers traded up to select the Oklahoma State star with the 76th overall pick, the highest the organization has taken a quarterback since Roethlisberger was the 11th overall selection in 2004.
During spring practices, Rudolph impressed, but he also missed a couple center-quarterback exchanges after working almost exclusively out of the shotgun both in high school and at Oklahoma State.
“We cleaned it up for the most part,” Rudolph said. “I’m just starting to feel a lot more comfortable under center after not doing it the last eight years of my life.”
Rudolph also had an inauspicious start at training camp when he ran a bootleg to the right and fumbled his first pass attempt backward. That gaffe is far from Rudolph’s mind.
“I could (not) care less about the first pass,” Rudolph said. “I have a lot of first passes. I had my first pass in OTAs and rookie minicamp. I’m thinking about the next pass. If one play goes bad, the next play can be the one that wins it, or gets you back in the game.”
Rudolph has found his groove after a rocky first week at camp. The rookie looked comfortable and crisp while running the two-minute offense at the end of a practice last week. Rudolph finished the drill an efficient 5 of 6 for 52 yards Tremaine Edmunds Jersey , which included a practice-ending 14-yard touchdown pass to rookie running back Jaylen Samuels.
“I just want to progress,” Rudolph said. “You obviously dream about playing in the NFL, but once you get here, you take it one day at a time. I think that’s the way I’ve approached practice and it has gone well.
“I’m just focused on completing passes and making sure I’m taking mental steps forward every day.”
The next step forward for Rudolph will be into a NFL stadium for his preseason debut — against an opposing defense.
“You’re playing your own team every single day and you get frustrated because they start to learn your calls, they’re cheating on your install sheet, printing your stuff out and trying to game plan against you,” Rudolph said. “And then you get out there in a game and it’s easy because those guys are scared, they’re all tight, they want to be in their spots, they don’t want to get yelled at by their coach, and you end up scoring points and driving down the field. That’s the way I feel this will go.”
NOTES: Tomlin said Roethlisberger won’t play Thursday against Philadelphia. . Wide receiver Antonio Brown missed practice again Tuesday, but he worked out alone on an adjoining field. He will miss Thursday’s game along with LBs Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt, and TE Vance McDonald.