KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Tennessee Titans celebrated their return to the playoffs for the first time in nine years in grand style, rallying from an 18-point halftime deficit to knock off the favored Kansas City Chiefs 22-21 in Saturday's drama-filled AFC wild-card game at Arrowhead Stadium.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota completed a touchdown pass to himself in the third quarter to help start Tennessee's comeback.
Titans running back Derrick Henry rushed for 156 yards on 23 carries, and Mariota passed for 205 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith passed for 264 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, but only had 33 yards in the second half after tight end Travis Kelce left the game with a concussion in the first half and did not return.
The Chiefs burst out in front early, building a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Smith used big plays on completions to wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce to set up the scores. The first touchdown came on a 1-yard run by Kareem Hunt, and the second came on a 13-yard catch by Kelce.
The Titans broke on the scoreboard inside the two-minute warning of the first half with a 49-yard field goal from former Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop.
But Kansas City moved quickly to extend its lead. Smith found wide receiver Demarcus Robinson for a 14-yard scoring pass that put the Chiefs ahead 21-3.
The Titans steadily cut into Kansas City's lead in the second half. Mariota marched his team 91 yards to start the second half and cracked into the end zone on a bizarre play. Mariota rolled to his left and fired toward the end zone, with Chiefs cornerback Darrelle Revis deflecting the pass back toward the quarterback. Mariota snagged the loose ball in the air and dived into the end zone, completing a 6-yard touchdown pass to himself.
Tennessee scored again opening the fourth quarter, with Henry bolting for a 35-yard touchdown run. The Titans failed on a two-point conversion, and trailed 21-16.
Mariota completed the comeback on his team's next possession. Mariota found receiver Eric Decker on a 22-yard post route to the end zone, putting the Titans up 22-21 with 6:06 left in the fourth quarter.
The two-point conversion failed, but the Titans nearly flirted with disaster. Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen sacked Mariota, apparently knocking the ball loose. The Chiefs retrieved the ball and returned it to the end zone for what would have been a two-point conversion for the Chiefs. But officials ruled Mariota's forward progress stopped before the ball came loose.
More drama ensued on the Titans' final drive. Henry seemed to fumble after a hit by Chiefs cornerback Marcus Peters, with linebacker Derrick Johnson returning the apparent fumble for a touchdown. Officials ruled Henry down by contact, however, negating the touchdown.
The Chiefs suffered a big blow when Kelce sustained a concussion late in the first half after catching a 12-yard pass from Smith. Titans safety Johnathan Cyprien delivered a helmet-to-helmet hit on Kelce as he went to the ground. The tight end remained on the ground momentarily before a teammate helped him to his feet, but Kelce staggered afterward. The Chiefs struggled offensively in the second half without Kelce, as the Titan held them scoreless.
NOTES: Kansas City last won a home playoff game on Jan. 8, 1994, with a 27-24 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. ... QB Marcus Mariota's 6-yard touchdown pass to himself made him the first player to a catch a touchdown from himself since Brad Johnson for the Minnesota Vikings in a regular-season game 1997. ... Mariota's Titans have only come back from a deficit of 14 or more points to win twice. The other victory came against the Chiefs in a 19-17 win at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 15 of last season. ... Chiefs DL Chris Jones left the game with a knee injury and did not return.