Bowen: 'We Know What's Coming at Us' – Sports Illustrated

NASHVILLE – Patrick Mahomes’ last encounter with the Tennessee Titans was unlike any other game has played during his NFL career.
Even the mastermind of the plan that limited the four-time Pro Bowler to 206 passing yards and a career-low 62.3 passer rating says it is unrealistic to expect his unit can produce another performance like that one when the Titans and Chiefs meet again Sunday in Kansas City.
“Last year was last year,” Tennessee defensive coordinator Shane Bowen said Thursday. “We know there ain’t many games like that with the Chiefs. Very very rare. We caught them on the right day, right? We played well. They probably didn’t play up to their standard, obviously, and they know that.
“So, we’re ready for the challenge this week. We know what’s coming at us come Sunday.”
Eight weeks into the season, the Chiefs (5-2) are one of two NFL teams that have piled up more than 400 total yards per game. Their average of 403.3 yards is second only to Buffalo (430.6) as is their average of 6.3 yards per play. Kansas City leads all offenses with an average of 24.4 first downs per contest and has converted a league-best 51.9 percent of its third-down opportunities.
The Chiefs are the only team in the league that averages better than 30 points per game (31.9, to be exact), the only one with at least 20 touchdown passes (even though they already have had their open date) and one of three that averages better than 290 passing yards per game.
None of that resembles what took place on Oct. 24, 2021, when Tennessee whipped Kansas City 27-3 at Nissan Stadium. It was the first time the Chiefs failed to score touchdown since Dec. 30, 2012, when Brady Quinn was quarterback and weeks before Andy Reid was hired as head coach.
Since that contest, Mahomes has thrown for more than 300 yards five times, including the last two games, and has thrown multiple touchdown passes in 11 contests, 10 in the last 17 outings. He has 12 touchdown passes in the last four games.
“Ultimately, Mahomes is able to create plays that most aren’t,” Bowen said. “He’s able to elude pressure, to extend plays. And you get all these faster guys, these stronger guys that they’re able to catch it and separate. … And they’re tough to tackle once they do get the ball.
“… They’re rolling.”
Tennessee’s defense has been pretty good in its own right. It is the NFL’s best in stopping teams on third down, is among the top 10 in interceptions and fumble recoveries and just outside the top 10 in sacks.
That unit has, however, given up big plays in the pass game and starts the week 24th in average passing yards allowed per game (254.7) and per play (6.99).
A game against the Chiefs will provide a real chance to show it can be better than that. Who knows? Maybe even as good as last year.
“I’m excited for the guys,” Bowen said. “They’re excited for the opportunity to go out there and play. Obviously, you go out there and play against the best – they’re excited for that opportunity.”
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