Halftime Digest: Chiefs 17, Titans 7

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs raced out to a 14-0 lead over the Tennessee Titans, but the visitors finally stood their ground and seized back some momentum, with the Chiefs holding a 17-7 lead at the half.

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill races for a 68-yard touchdown run during the first half of the team's game against the Tennessee Titans Dec. 18, 2016 at Arrowhead Stadium. (Photo courtesy Chiefs PR, Chiefs.com)

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill races for a 68-yard touchdown run during the first half of the team’s game against the Tennessee Titans Dec. 18, 2016 at Arrowhead Stadium. (Photo courtesy Chiefs PR, Chiefs.com)

It took Kansas City just six offensive plays on their first two drives of the game to build the 14-point lead.

Tyreek Hill electrified the Arrowhead Stadium crowd early with a 68-yard touchdown run. Hill took an inside handoff from Smith, found a hole through the offensive line and made a cutback to elude a defensive back for the score.

The Titans appeared poised to score on their next drive. Quarterback Marcus Mariota found wide receiver Rishard Matthews for a 35-yard gain deep inside the red zone. But Matthews fumbled at the end of the play, with the ball going into the red zone. Safety Daniel Sorensen picked up the loose ball and returned it to midfield.

Four plays later, Alex Smith scrambled from 10 yards out for a touchdown to extend the Chiefs lead.

The Titans finally broke the shoutout in the second quarter, with runnign back Derrick Henry barely breaking the plane of the end zone on a 4-yard touchdown run.

Travis Kelce caught two passes for 32 yards. The leaves him 68 yards short of picking up his fifth-stright 100-yard receiving game. That would give him the record for consecutive 10-yard receiving games by a tight end.

Smith finished the first half 9-of-16 passing for 108 yards. Hill lead the team’s rushers with his 68-yard touchdown run. Maclin lead the receivers with four catches for 61 yards.

Second-half keys for Chiefs:

KEEP PRESSURE ON MARIOTA

The Chiefs defense officially has just one sack and one quarterback hurry, but that does not tell the full story of the pass rush’s impact on Mariota in the first half. The Chiefs have put pressure on the young quarterback, creating one turnover already.

If the Chiefs pass rush can keep the pressure on Mariota, the opportunity is there for more turnovers and negative plays.

FIND THE RUNNING GAME

The Chiefs have 100 yards rushing in the first half, but 78 of those yards came on touchdown runs from a wide receiver and the quarterback. Running backs Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West have just seven carries for 17 yards.

The Chiefs running game has been missing in action for a long time, but it needs to return by playoff time. Playing with the lead in the second half in bitterly cold weather would be a prime opportunity to make a reappearance.

PROTECT THE FOOTBALL

Last Thursday the Chiefs came out in the second half against the Oakland Raiders with a comfortable lead and turned the ball over on two straight possessions. The Chiefs can afford to be aggressive in the second half, but not at the risk of turning over the ball.

With a two-score lead, the Chiefs can afford to play field position and ball control and come out with a win.

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Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.


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