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Monday, December 27, 2010

Titans vs. Chiefs: Kansas City Clinches AFC West Title

The Kansas City Chiefs clinched the AFC West title Sunday.
A 34-14 win over the Tennessee Titans -- improving the Chiefs to 10-5 -- along with San Diego's 34-20 loss at Cincinnati gave the Chiefs the division title.
With the loss, the Titans fell to 6-9 and were eliminated from playoff contention.
Kansas City quarterback Matt Cassel threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns. Two of his touchdown tosses went to running back Jamaal Charles to help the Chiefs remain unbeaten in seven games at New Arrrowhead this season. Dwayne Bowe also had a big day, with six catches for 153 yards and a TD -- which took him over 1,000 yards receiving for the season.
The victory marked a six-game improvement in the Chiefs' win column from a year ago, when they finished 4-12, and it gave Kansas City its biggest one-year turnaround in team history.            
Meanwhile, quarterback Kerry Collins had a tough day for the Titans, completing just 14 of 37 for 237 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, including one that was returned for a Chiefs' score.
• Apparently feeling that the game was in hand with a 17-point lead -- and perhaps thinking about his appendectomy just 18-days before -- the Chiefs pulled Cassel at the start of the fourth quarter. But backup Brodie Croyle's first series ended in an interception, giving the Titans, down by just 17 points, a chance to get back in the game. A strong defensive effort by the Chiefs, punctuated by a third-down sack of Collins, led to a Tennessee punt. Cassel was back in the game for the next series..
• The Chiefs extended their lead in the third quarter with Ryan Succop's second field goal. Javier Arenas' 29-yard punt return helped set up the score. Tennessee responded on its next possession when Collins threw 22 yards to Jared Cook for a touchdown. It was Cook's first career touchdown.
• Rookie safety Eric Berry safety put an exclamation point on the Chiefs' explosive first half, intercepting Collins' pass intended for Cook and rumbling for a 54-yard touchdown. The defensive score with 22 seconds left in the second quarter put Kansas City up 31-7 at halftime. Berry, the Chiefs' first-round pick, has been part of a dynamic rookie class that has helped the Chiefs rise to the top of their division. It was the fourth interception of the season for Berry, who came in with 111 tackles, the most ever by a rookie safety for the Chiefs.

• The Chiefs totaled 327 yards in offense in the first half, which is their third-highest total ever.

• The Titans trailed 24-0 before finally getting on the board on Collins' 53-yard pass to Kenny Britt with 4:15 left in the second quarter. On the play, Collins surpassed 40,000 yards passing for his career. The 16-year veteran joined Brett Favre and Peyton Manning as the only active quarterbacks with 40,000 yards passing in their career. Collins is the 12th quarterback in NFL history to reach the milestone.

• Cassel connected for his third touchdown pass of the day when he hit Dwayne Bowe in stride over the middle, and Bowe sped past secondary defenders to convert the reception into a 75-yard touchdown. The play put Bowe over the top for 1,000 yards receiving this season, the second 1,000-yard season of his career.

• Charles has emerged as one of the game's most dynamic runners and he's pretty darn good as a receiver as well. Charles had his first multi-touchdown game as a receiver, catching Cassel's first of two touchdown passes of the day. He turned a screen pass into a 14-yard score and made an over-the-shoulder catch on a 5-yard toss from Cassel, as the Chiefs took an early 14-0 lead.

• Chiefs coach Todd Haley was walking around with a noticeable limp. Turns out, according to FOX Sports' Jay Glazer, that Haley tore his quadriceps muscle clean off the bone a couple weeks ago while helping out in practice by playing the part of a defensive back.

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