But as has been the case for the duration of Mularkey's two-year tenure as Titans head coach, his team did not quit in a game where many would.
Two big plays set up the short TD run: Tyreek Hill caught a pass underneath the coverage and raced 45 yards, then tight end Travis Kelce caught a 27-yard pass to the 2-yard line. No one could hardly believe it.
Mariota's touchdown pass - and reception, for that matter - capped a 15-play, 91-yard drive that took 8:29 and ultimately trimmed the Titans' deficit to 21-10. Alex Smith has been nothing short of incredible this season, and with the Titans rush defense looking to take away Kareem Hunt, this game will be all on Alex Smith.
Mariota leads the National Football League this season with five game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime. Now, Dorsey is the Cleveland Browns GM and knows exactly what Smith could bring to the franchise, the sort of stability at the game's most important position to help bring a perennial cellar-dweller out of the doldrums of the AFC North.
Mariota's two touchdown passes included a 22-yard go-ahead toss to Eric Decker 6:06 left in the fourth quarter. Kelce was wobbly getting up, and ruled out for the game with a concussion. Henry finished with 156 yards on 23 carries.
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A similar occurrence happened as the Titans looked to run out the clock as Marcus Peters stripped Derrick Henry and Derrick Johnson scooped up the loose ball and ran to the end zone. The Chiefs returned the fumble for a touchdown, but it was easily overturned.
You can, indeed, "throw the ball and catch the ball at the same time". What was much less surprising is that Triplette would be in the middle of several controversial calls in a game that ended with Tennessee eking out a 22-21 win.
The Chiefs have now lost six straight home playoff games, and 10 of their last 11 postseason games.
It has been an interesting year for the Kansas City Chiefs. It was just a bit more important this time around.
Depending on the results of Sunday's game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Buffalo Bills, the Titans will face either New England or Pittsburgh in the divisional round next, with a chance to reach the conference championship game for the first time since after the 2002 season.