Mike Mularkey had heard the rumblings about his job status Authentic Philip Rivers 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 hell 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 dont think you guys believe me, when they come in the locker room, there is a look theyre going to come back and win this game, he said.
Its 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 theyve got each others 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. Id 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 havent 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 Womens Philip Rivers Jersey , 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 doesnt change, Mariota said. Youve 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 its final, Chiefs coach Andy Reid said, but the guys that are going back, you have to feel this. Coaches and players, we have to change it around.
Its not good enough, he added, and thats the bottom line.
As the Titans wait to learn whether a trip to New England or Pittsburgh is on deck Authentic Joey Bosa Jersey , 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 cant 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 Womens Joey Bosa Jersey , 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.
Edwin Jackson has pitched for a lot of teams. The Oakland As have burned through many starting pitchers this season.
In a case of harmonic convergence, Jackson will join the As on Monday and immediately jump into the rotation. He will be called up from Triple-A Nashville and start Monday afternoon at Detroit.
Jackson will tie Octavio Dotels major-league record of playing for 13 teams, and the As will use their 12th different starter this season.
Oakland has five pitchers on the disabled list, including four who have started a combined 26 games.
Jackson, 34, began his major-league career with the Los Angeles Angels in 2003. He started 13 games for Washington last season, posting a 5-6 record and a 5.07 ERA. He also made three relief appearances for Baltimore.
Jackson spent the first three months of this season in the minor leagues. He made 10 starts for Syracuse, the Nationals Triple-A affiliate, and went 4-2 with a 3.40 ERA.
He opted out of his contract and signed a minor-league deal with Oakland on June 6. He posted an 0-1 record and 4.02 ERA in three starts with the Sounds before being called up.
The As just hope Jackson can eat some innings and give their bullpen a rest.
Hes pitched pretty well, As manager Bob Melvin told MLB.com. The last outing was good. I think hes had one that was not so good and a couple that were good. I dont think its as much about that as it is about making sure his pitch count is there, and hes ready to go out there and give you a full complement.
Detroit was one of Jacksons many stops during his nomadic career. He made 33 starts for the Tigers in 2009 and finished 13-9 with a 3.62 ERA. He has faced Detroit 15 times Authentic Melvin Gordon Jersey , including 10 starts, going 4-2 with a 3.36 ERA.
Hell be opposed in the opener of a four-game series by Jordan Zimmermann (2-0, 4.95 ERA). After a stint on the DL because of a shoulder impingement, Zimmermann gave up four runs (three earned) in five innings during a no-decision against the Chicago White Sox on June 16. Hes 1-0 with a 3.65 ERA in two career starts against Oakland.
The Tigers are just happy to sleep in their own beds again after flaming out during a once-promising road trip. They won three games against the Chicago White Sox, then lost two at Cincinnati before getting swept in a three-game series at Cleveland. They were blasted 12-2 on Sunday.
We have to find a way to get back into the win column, Tigers catcher James McCann told the Detroit News. No one likes to lose. Its these moments that are a true character test for what kind of team we are. Are we going to be able to bounce back and put this in the rear-view mirror, or is this going to have a snowball effect?
The As split a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, but their power bats have continued to roll. They have homered in a major-league-record 25 consecutive road games.