Game Day Live: Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes Returns to Starting Lineup vs. Titans

Matt Derrick

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Patrick Mahomes will start at quarterback for the Chiefs against the Tennessee Titans in Week 10, wrapping up pregame warmups with no issues with his right knee.

Mahomes missed the last two games with a dislocated right kneecap he suffered in Week 7 against Denver. Head coach Andy Reid said on Friday Mahomes would start if he suffered no setbacks before game time.

Matt Moore will backup with Mahomes with Chad Henne inactive.

Chiefs Inactives 

Chiefs inactives: DE Alex Okafor, LT Eric Fisher, RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, RB LeSean McCoy, CB Kendall Fuller, QB Chad Henne and DT Mike Pennell

Frank Clark returns to the lineup after a two-game absence with a neck issue. His return bolsters the club's depth at defensive end, even with Okafor (ankle) out this week. The Chiefs will go with seven active defensive linemen in this game. 

The absence of Fisher and Duvernay-Tardif means the Chiefs will again roll with an offensive line of Cam Erving, Martinas Rankin, Austin Reiter, Andrew Wylie and Mitchell Schwartz.

McCoy is a healthy scratch for the Chiefs, a notable development after his getting just three carries last week. Damien Williams, fresh off a 125-yard effort against Minnesota last week, draws the start with Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson backing him up.

NFL Network's James Palmer reports the Chiefs say this move is not related to his two fumbles in the last four games.

Titans Inactives

LB Jayon Brown, TE Delanie Walker, WR Corey Davis, DT Jurrell Casey, G/T kevin Pamphile, CB Tye Smith and C Hroniss Grasu

Walker and Davis are big absences for the Titans, leaving even more of the offensive burden on Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis in the backfield. 

Brown is the Titans' third-leading tackler, taking away one of the team's best defenders against the run. 

Chiefs 7, Titans 0, 9:19 first quarter

Chiefs march 69 yards on their drive, dodging a near interception on the first play from scrimmage and negating a 14-yard penalty. Mahomes tosses a short shovel pass to Travis Kelce for a 3-yard score. Chiefs used both speed and power on that drive, relying on Damien Williams for 26 yards on the ground and Tyreek Hill hauling in three passes on five targets for 28 yards.

Mahomes was 6-of-8 for 57 yards on the opening drive.

Chiefs Force Turnover

The Chiefs only brought a four-man rush on third-and-three from the Tennessee 32, but Chris Jones was able to beat center Ben Jones for a strip-sack fumble. Titans quarter Ryan Tannehill, however, didn't secure the ball while on the ground, and an alert Tanoh Kpassagnon pounced on for a recovery. Chiefs in business at the Titans 20.

Chiefs 10, Titans 0, 4:43 first quarter

Three penalties for 30 yards torpedoed that Kansas City drive, which ended up netting just 8 yards despite 38 yards of offense and another touchdown from Mahomes to Kelce wiped out by penalty. Harrison Butker connects on a 30-yard field goal to extend the lead. 

Tight end Blake Bell is questionable to return with an ankle injury.

Chiefs Drive Stalls

Kansas City's third drive doesn't end in points. Mahomes took a shot to Hill on first down but couldn't connect, and Damien Williams run on second down went nowhere. Sammy Watkins broke wide open on third down for an easy first, but Mahomes fired the ball a bit too high. 

Outside the opening play of the game where Mahomes rolled to his right and threw incomplete to Hill, the Chiefs have relied primarily on a mix of RPOs, screens and other quick passes. Mahomes is looking to get rid of the ball quick, and has rushed a few throws before the pressure can get there. Looks like a concentrated effort to avoid hits on the right knee.

Chiefs 10, Titans 7, 10:23 second quarter

A deep ball from Tannehill to Kalif Raymond for 52 yards puts the Titans back in the ball game. Derrick Henry hasn't found much running room early, picking up 23 yards on six carries, so the Titans have resorted to taking some shots deep early. Tannehill is 5-of-5 for 87 yards, including the 9-yard touchdown throw to tight end Anthony Firkser.

Chiefs have run 24 plays to 13 for the Titans, but the big play to Raymond ha been a difference maker early.

Titans 13, Chiefs 10, 6:14 second quarter

Damien Williams coughs up the football and Titans linebacker Rashaan Evans scoops it up for a 53-yard touchdown return. Kicker Ryan Succop left the extra point wide left.

The Chiefs have dominated the Titans in yardage (199 to 89) and time of possession (16:45 to 7:01), but the two big plays have made all the difference in this game.

Injuries Hit Chiefs Hard

The Chiefs lost three starters on three-straight plays late in the second quarter. First Hill landed hard on his left shoulder and took some time to get to his feet. He returned to the game after the next play.

Right tackle Mitchell Schwartz left the field on the next play, getting his knee rolled during a sack of Mahomes. Martinas Rankin moved to right tackle with Stefen Wisniewski stepping in at left guard. 

Rankin went down on the next play, however, required a cart to take him off the field. Andrew Wylie then moved to right tackle with Nick Allegretti taking over at left guard. 

Rankin has been ruled out with a knee injury. Schwartz is questionable to return, and remains on the sideline with his helmet. 

Schwartz's exit ends his streak of 7,894 consecutive snaps played. He had never missed a snap in his 122-game career. Starting the day, only three players had an active longer streak of games started than Schwartz: Philip Rivers (218), Matthew Stafford (136) and Ryan Kerrigan (137). Stafford's streak ended today.

Chiefs 13, Titans 13, 1:12 second quarter

After all the injuries piled up, the Chiefs settled for a 41-yard field goal from Butker to tie the game.

HALF TIME: Chiefs 13, Titans 13

Keys to the Second Half

Stop the big plays
Chiefs can't afford to turn the ball over again and allowed Tannehill the deep ball. The run defense has done it's job, but the only thing that can beat this team today is the big play.

Protect Mahomes
With a decimated offensive line featuring only one regular starter in his regular starting position (Reiter at center), the Chiefs need to provide extra protection for Mahomes, keeping an extra tight end or running back in for protection. Erving as also struggled at left tackle.

Feed Tyreek Hill

Hill has out run and out muscled any Titans defenders covering him today. He has seven catches for 96 yards, and he may need a career day to get this team a win today.

Get out of Nashville
Leaving this game without any additional injuries may be more critical than the final score. No one can control injuries, of but any more losses, especially on the offensive line, and the Chiefs are in trouble both today and down the road.

Chiefs 19, Titans 13, 6:54 third quarter

Andy Reid put on a master class in play calling on Kansas City's opening drive of the second half, topped off with a corner fade from Mahomes to Hill on a blitz for an 11-yard touchdown score. Butker missed the extra point, however, leading the Chiefs up by only six.

Hill has a career-high 10 catches for 118 yards and a touchdown. 

Titans 20, Chiefs 19, 5:58 third quarter

The Titans again strike with the big play, as Henry breaks loose for 68 yards and a touchdown to put Tennessee back up by a point. The Chiefs have mostly contained Henry today until the play, allowing 55 yards on 11 carries. But the 53-yard fumble return for a touchdown and the 52-yard bomb to Raymond have been the only three plays the Titans have needed today.

Chiefs 22, Titans 20, 1:58 third quarter

The Chiefs take a gamble on fourth-and-2 and it pays off, with Mahomes connecting to Damien Williams out of the backfield for the conversion. That helps setup a 43-yard Butker field to put Kansas City back in front.

Sammy Watkins has had an up and down day with four catches for 30 yards on eight targets. He's had some catchable balls get away from him, and it happened again on first-and-10. Mahomes read the blitz and dropped a dime on Watkins down the right side line. Logan Ryan did a great job of staying close, but Watkins again had his hands on the ball and couldn't pull it in.

Chiefs 29, Titans 20, 11:54 fourth quarter

Mahomes confidence seemed to grow throughout the game, culminating in this ridiculous 63-yard jump pass to Mecole Hardman for a touchdown. The catch and run by Hardman was impressive on its own, but Mahomes jumping as he threw the ball puts his on his career highlight reel. Another throw not other quarterback in this league can make.

Chiefs 29, Titans 27, 6:26 fourth quarter

The Titans did it on the ground again, this time with Tannehill extending the drive and Henry doing the heavy lifting. Henry ran for 39 yards on the scoring drive, capping it off with a 1-yard touchdown plunge. Tannehill kept the drive going with a 12-yard scramble on third-and-10, dragging cornerback Rashad Fenton with him for the crucial yards.

Henry has decimated the Chiefs in the second half with 12 carries for 124 yards and two scores.

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