NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans didn’t help out their new quarterback much, and now they have a painful loss leaving them with plenty of problems to fix before they kick off at 1:05 p.m. next Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field.
Chris Johnson ran for 17 yards on 10 carries, special teams cost Tennessee its first turnover this season, and the Titans wasted a second-half rally Sunday in a 26-17 loss to surging Kansas City.
“With a team like that coming in, an undefeated team, we can’t make mistakes,” Titans running back Jackie Battle said. “And we made some costly mistakes.”
A punt glanced off Tennessee’s Damian Williams as he was blocking for returner Darius Reynaud in the first quarter. The ball dribbled to the end zone, where Kansas City’s Marcus Cooper recovered for a TD.
The Chiefs also stopped the Titans despite four plays from the Kansas City 1 in the second quarter and held Tennessee to a 22-yard field goal in the third after having first-and-goal at the 7.
Reserve QB Ryan Fitzpatrick missed on his first six passes with the Titans (3-2) going three-and-out on their first five possessions. Former University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker, out with a sprained hip, watched from the sideline.
Fitzpatrick threw for 247 yards, including a 49-yard TD pass to Johnson, and was the Titans’ top rusher with 50 yards on six carries.
Fitzpatrick ran for a 9-yard score that gave Tennessee a 17-13 lead early in the fourth quarter. He was intercepted twice after Kansas City took the lead.
Johnson watched from the sideline when the Titans finally got going in the second quarter. He said he thinks he should have been on the field, but offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains makes those calls.
“A lot of mistakes were made on our half,” Johnson said. “This is just a work in progress. We need to get better. If we want to be the type of team that we want to be and make it to the playoffs, we have to get the running game corrected. It’s on everybody — the running backs, the line, everybody.”
This was an early AFC showdown between teams bouncing back from disappointing seasons in 2012. The Chiefs (5-0) rebounded from a third quarter in which they were outgained, 153-20. Jamaal Charles scored on a 1-yard run with 6:23 to go in the game to put them up, 20-17.
Kansas City is off to its best start since 2003, when it won its first nine games.
“I am speechless right now,” Charles said. “This team is very blessed to be 5-0 right now. Nobody expected us to be 5-0.”
Charles had 50 yards on 11 carries in the fourth quarter, and he finished with 108 yards on 22 carries. Ryan Succop kicked four field goals, including a 48-yarder.
The Titans, with 2 seconds remaining and trailing by nine, sent Rob Bironas out for a 32-yard field goal try. He missed wide right, and time expired.
“We’re all frustrated,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “I think a lot of guys didn’t make plays when they had to.”
The Chiefs head home for a three-game stretch, though they had plenty of support in Nashville.
“I thought the fans controlled that lower bowl there, and we heard them, and we appreciate all that support that they were able to give us, especially down the stretch there,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said.
The Chiefs and Titans came in tied atop the NFL with a plus-9 turnover margin, but Kansas City forced three turnovers and turned them into 13 points.