Mike Mularkey had heard the rumblings about his job status Zdeno Chara Jersey , and seen all those reports that claimed he would be fired by the Titans if they lost their playoff opener to Kansas City.
Perhaps he’ll have a little support now.
Tennessee rallied from a 21-3 halftime hole on Saturday to beat the Chiefs 22-21 in their AFC wild-card matchup. It was the first postseason win for the franchise in 14 years, and it left Mularkey feeling a bit vindicated when he addressed a handful of reporters deep inside Arrowhead Stadium.
”I don’t think you guys believe me, when they come in the locker room, there is a look – they’re going to come back and win this game,” he said.
”It’s on the sideline. It always is. It always has been with this team. I wish you guys would give them a little credit for it. They stick together and they’ve got each other’s backs, and they always have. And they came through today when we really needed it.”
When their coach really needed it, too.
Mularkey was asked whether the speculation had an effect on him, and he replied: ”If it has an effect on my family, it has an effect on me. So, yeah. I’d say it had a big effect on me.”
Then, he was asked whether he felt sure no matter what happens in the playoffs.
”No,” he said. ”I haven’t had any support to say that I was (secure). No. I just assumed the worst.”
Good thing he got the best.
Marcus Mariota threw for 205 yards and two touchdowns, the first to himself – the ball was batted back to him and he dived into the end zone – and the second to Eric Decker, a 22-yard strike with about six minutes to go that gave Tennessee its first lead of the game.
Derrick Henry added a career-high 156 yards rushing and another score for the Titans.
”Throughout this entire season, through ups and downs, guys, the energy doesn’t change,” Mariota said. ”You’ve got to give a lot of credit to the guys in that locker room for continuing to believe.”
Meanwhile, the Chiefs squandered another chance for their first home playoff win since January 1994, a stretch of postseason futility that includes heartbreaks of just about every stripe.
”The sick part about this is it’s final,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said, ”but the guys that are going back, you have to feel this. Coaches and players Authentic Benoit Pouliot Jersey , we have to change it around.
”It’s not good enough,” he added, ”and that’s the bottom line.”
As the Titans wait to learn whether a trip to New England or Pittsburgh is on deck, and the Chiefs begin thinking about next season, here are a few more takeaways from the game:
OFFICIATING FUROR: The Chiefs complained vigorously about several calls by the officials, including two in which whistles for forward progress took away fumbles. One led to a Tennessee field goal and the other took away a 2-point conversion that would have given Kansas City a late lead. ”I can’t go there,” Reid said. ”Everything I say, those guys are protected. You can go talk to them. Question them.”
INJURY NOTES: The Titans emerged from the game healthy, while the Chiefs lost emotional leaders on both sides of the ball. All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce left with a concussion in the first half and big defensive tackle Chris Jones left with an ankle injury in the second half. ”Kelce, that hurts,” Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith said. ”A player of his caliber, not having him out there hurts.”
RUNNING ANGRY: Henry had bemoaned his performance as the featured back last week, when he ran 28 times for 51 yards against Jacksonville. He was back in the role Saturday with Demarco Murray still out with an injury, and this time his pounding attack paid dividends. ””I just wanted to have a better performance than I had last week,” he said. ”I just wanted to be able to come out here and execute the plays that were called and help this team and this offense.”
RECORD RALLY: Only two other road teams have rallied from at least 18 down to win a playoff game in NFL history. The Cowboys came back from 21-3 in the first half to beat the 49ers 30-28 in December 1972, and the Lions came back from 27-7 in the second half to beat the 49ers in December 1957.
CHIEFS FUTURE: Smith is still under contract next season, but the cash-strapped Chiefs are expected to trade or release him and turn the team over to first-round pick Patrick Mahomes II.
Meanwhile, veteran linebackers such as Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali could be contemplating retirement. ”I know those guys are hurting,” Reid said. ”All those decisions are way down the line.”
The Detroit Tigers lost much more than a game on Tuesday night.
Miguel Cabrera ruptured his left biceps tendon in the third inning of a 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Twins and will have season-ending surgery later this week.
”This is obviously a very sad day for Miggy and for the entire ballclub,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. ”It is obviously a huge blow to the team, both on and off the field, but we will have to find a way to overcome it.”
Gardenhire said Cabrera’s status for the 2019 season won’t be known until after the operation. He still has $154 million left on a contract that runs through 2023.
Cabrera swung awkwardly at Jake Odorizzi’s slider and immediately walked to the dugout with his arm limply at his side. When he was joined by team trainers, the slugger gestured to his biceps and continued walking into the Detroit clubhouse.
”At that end of that inning http://www.officialsabres.com/authentic ... hel-jersey , I ran up to check on him in the clubhouse and he said he felt a pop on that swing,” teammate Nicholas Castellanos said. ”I knew that wasn’t good, but we didn’t find out how bad it was until after the game.”
Many of the Tigers had already left the clubhouse before it was opened to the media, more than 20 minutes after the final pitch.
”We’re all kind of stunned,” said JaCoby Jones. ”You don’t think anything like that is going to happen to Miguel Cabrera, especially on a swing.”
Cabrera has played through numerous lower-body injuries in the past few years, even while winning a Triple Crown, two MVP awards and four batting titles, but it started to catch up with him in 2017. He played 130 games, but hit a career-worst .249 with 16 homers.
This year, he missed three games with spasms in the same biceps tendon that ruptured on Tuesday, then was out for 26 games with a hamstring strain and back tightness. He returned on June 1, hitting .244 with no home runs and one RBI in 12 games before the latest injury.
Gardenhire didn’t think the earlier injuries played a role in what happened on Tuesday.
”He took BP before the game and he said he felt great,” Gardenhire said.
John Hicks, normally Detroit’s backup catcher, played first base during Cabrera’s previous absence and will return there for the time being. Gardenhire said the team will discuss long-term plans in the upcoming days.
”We’re all going to have to step up, starting tomorrow, to try to fill Miggy’s shoes,” Castellanos said. ”That means everyone, beginning with me.”
The mood in the clubhouse wasn’t helped by a late-inning loss. Detroit led 2-1 after six innings before Ehire Adrianza’s first career grand slam rallied the Twins.
Tigers starter Blaine Hardy allowed a leadoff single to Eduardo Escobar to start the seventh and was replaced by Louis Coleman.
”I understand that move completely,” Hardy said. ”I have just as much faith in Lou as I do myself, and that hasn’t changed.”
Coleman (3-1) only threw nine strikes in a 23-pitch outing, walking two batters to load the bases with two out. Gardenhire brought in Warwick Saupold Youth Jake McCabe Jersey , who went to a 3-1 count on Adrianza before throwing a fastball that ended up in the right-field stands.
”I’m not a home run hitter, so this is very exciting,” Adrianza said. ”It was a hitter’s count, so I was looking for a fastball and I hit it hard. I was emotional.”
The Tigers made it 5-4 with two runs in the seventh. With runners on second and third with two outs, Jones beat out an infield single and Escobar’s throw sailed past first baseman Logan Morrison for Minnesota’s second throwing error of the inning.
Miguel Sano gave the Twins a 6-4 lead with an RBI single in the eighth.
”We walked some people and we just let the game get away from us,” Gardenhire said. ”That was disappointing.”
Ryan Pressly (1-1) got the win with a scoreless inning of relief. Fernando Rodney pitched the ninth for his 14th save.
”I think we’ve played better in games that we’ve lost, but winning is the important part,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. ”What Ehire did was obviously huge. We were hoping he’d get something to the outfield, and he puts it in the seats.”
Hardy pitched six-plus innings, allowing one run on three hits and a walk. Hardy, who replaced Jordan Zimmermann in the rotation, is expected to make at least one more start before Zimmermann and Francisco Liriano return from the disabled list.
Odorizzi permitted two runs on four hits and four walks in five innings. He struck out four while throwing 102 pitches.
The Twins took a 1-0 lead by manufacturing a run in the third. With one out, Adrianza reached on an infield single, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on Ryan LaMarre’s sacrifice fly.
Jose Iglesias tied the game with a one-out RBI triple in the fourth, and scored on Leonys Martin’s sacrifice fly.
STAYING IN SHAPE
While on third base after his fourth-inning triple, Iglesias had to dive to the ground to avoid being hit by teammate Dixon Machado’s line drive. He broke his fall with his hands and snapped off three quick push-ups before jumping back to his feet.
Cabrera made his major league debut for the Florida Marlins on June 20, 2003, and played in 87 of their final 88 games. He averaged 153 games in the next 14 seasons, but will finish 2018 with 38.
Twins: Minnesota signed RHP Matt Belisle to a major league contract and he joined the team in Detro
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