Succop's winning FG gives Titans 17-16 win over former team
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Ryan Succop wasn't offended when Titans coach Mike Mularkey elected to go for a 2-point conversion and the win Sunday rather than let him attempt the tying extra point against the Chiefs.
Good thing, too. His confidence came in handy a few minutes later.
The kicker who lost his job in Kansas City to an undrafted rookie in training camp a few years ago spoiled what was nearly a banner day for the Chiefs. He boomed a 53-yarder through the uprights on the final play of the game to give Tennessee a 19-17 victory crucial to its playoff hopes .
''I just kind of had to throw technique out the window a little bit and really go after it,'' said Succop, who came up short on his first try, only to get a do-over when Chiefs coach Andy Reid called timeout.
''I thought I hit the first one good and when it came up short there was a second in my mind, I wasn't even sure I could reach from there,'' Succop said. ''You could give me 10 kicks from there and I don't know if I could make one. Honestly.''
He made the only one that mattered.
The victory was the third straight for the Titans (8-6) and kept them tied with Houston atop the AFC South. It also dashed a chance for the Chiefs (10-4) to clinch their spot in the playoffs. They came into the day tied with the Raiders for first in the AFC West.
Mularkey said the decision to go for 2 after Derrick Henry's second TD run made it 17-16 with 3:12 to go had nothing to do with Succop's leg. Rather, it had everything to do with his confidence in his team.
''I wanted to make a statement,'' Mularkey said. ''When we had the ball, I went around the sideline. I talked to the guys on this team, our leaders, and I said, `This is my plan.' And they were all, `Let's go.' They knew before the drive started we were going for it.''
Meanwhile, the Chiefs kept squandering chances to put the game away.
Twice they were stuffed at the 1-yard line in the first half and came away without points, and Alex Smith threw an interception in the end zone early in the second to ruin another drive. They also had a hard time converting third downs, going 4 for 14 and continuing a season-long trend.
''I take the responsibility for that,'' Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. ''We've got to do a better job, I do, of coaching them up and putting them in positions to make plays.''
As the Titans and Chiefs continue their playoff pursuit, here are some more key takeaways:
MARVELOUS MARCUS: Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota fumbled the ball away and threw an interception , and was having an otherwise miserable day until the fourth quarter. But after leading his team to a touchdown to get back in the game, he made three crucial completions to set up Succop's winning field goal.
''We had to get down and get to the 50-yard range for Ryan. We knew if we could get a couple big plays that we would have a chance at it,'' he said. ''Ryan did a great job of finishing it off at the end.''
MARVELOUS MURRAY: The Titans' DeMarco Murray carried 18 times for 89 yards while catching five passes for 52 yards. For a big stretch of the game, he was the team's only consistent offense.
SECOND-HALF WOES: The Chiefs have not scored an offensive touchdown in the second half the last two weeks, and only scored one in the second half dating to their overtime win in Denver on Nov. 27.
''Every second half is different,'' Smith said. ''Certainly today, yeah, frustrating. A lot of plays to be made out there. ... If we could make one or two of them it's a different day.''
BUNDLED UP: It was 1 degree at kickoff, making it the coldest game at Arrowhead Stadium since records have been kept beginning in 1994. The wind chill of minus-9 was second to a 2008 game against Miami, when it was minus-12 at kickoff. In fact, it was so cold that fuses that operate the massive scoreboard in the west end zone froze, leaving a corner of it blank for much of the game.
''It was tough for both teams,'' said Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos, a native of Brazil. ''Tough day.''
UP NEXT: The Titans visit Jacksonville, which fired coach Gus Bradley on Sunday, next weekend before facing the Texans to finish the regular season. Kansas City gets Denver at home on Christmas night.
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This story has been corrected to fix the score in the headline to 19-17.