Short-handed Chiefs drop season opener to Titans 26-10

Alex Smith was just 19 of 35 for 202 yards in a haphazard performance by a Kansas City offense weakened by suspensions.

Charlie Riedel/AP

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs hardly ever lost the turnover battle a year ago.

They made sure that Jamaal Charles got plenty of touches, made big plays on special teams and created havoc for opponents with a swirling, blitzing defense.

On Sunday, just about everything that went right for Kansas City during a surprising season that ended with the playoffs went wrong in a 26-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Alex Smith threw three interceptions, nearly half of his total of seven from all of last year. Charles touched the ball a mere 11 times.

The Chiefs missed a field goal, failed to force a turnover and lost defensive starters Derrick Johnson and Mike DeVito to Achilles injuries.

"You’re certainly not going to win doing the opposite (of last year)," said Smith, who just a week ago signed a four-year, $68 million contract extension with Kansas City.

"Not executing in the red zone, all those things we did last year to win, we didn’t do them today," he said. "We didn’t execute, didn’t execute in a lot of phases, especially offense."

Chiefs coach Andy Reid was the first to take the blame for that.

Not executing in the red zone, all those things we did last year to win, we didn’t do them today.

Alex Smith

"It was a terrible game I called," he said. "I didn’t put them in position to make plays, and I put the defense in a bind a number of times."

Meanwhile, Jake Locker threw for 266 yards and touchdown passes to Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker, while Ryan Succop was perfect on four field-goal attempts against the team that released him just last weekend. Jason McCourty added a pair of interceptions in a sterling performance.

"There’s no question this was a special day," Succop said. "It was an awesome day. Great to come back to Kansas City. I’m very thankful the day went the way that it did."

Succop’s big afternoon only added insult to the Chiefs’ injuries.

Johnson, who needs 15 tackles to reach 1,000 for his career and break Gary Spani’s franchise record, will likely have to wait until next season. He ruptured his Achilles tendon late in the first half, going down with nobody around him and needing a cart to leave the field.

DeVito followed early in the second half with nearly the exact same injury.

"We’ve got some guys that need to step up and get ready to play," Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston said. "Guys go down all the time and you need to step up."

The Chiefs were already missing key pieces.

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Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe was suspended for the game following an arrest last November, and right tackle Donald Stephenson served the first game of his four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas was out with a hamstring injury and linebacker Joe Mays was missing after surgery on his wrist.

The guys who were still around? Well, Charles was a total non-factor, carrying seven times for 19 yards and catching four passes for 15 yards.

"It’s a long season, just one game," Charles said. "We have a long way to go. We can get worse or we can get good. My job is to get the team good."

Kansas City jumped out to a 3-0 lead when Cairo Santos banged a 35-yard attempt off the right upright and through for the first field goal of his career. But everything spiraled out of control quickly, beginning with a 47-yarder that Santos missed off the left upright.

The Titans rolled to a 10-0 halftime lead, and then Locker capped the first drive of the second half with his TD pass to Wright, who managed to contort his body enough to catch the pylon.

"That was one of our expectations, that we were going to execute and we were going to be efficient on offense. And that is what we were able to do," Locker said. "I’m proud of the guys."

Proud of Succop, too, who knocked through two more field goals to put the game away.

"I had a great five years in Kansas City," he said. "The fans are fantastic, the organization is great. There is not one bit of bitterness from my end."

NOTES: Chiefs RT Jeff Allen left with a strained biceps and did not return. Ryan Harris finished the game in his place. … Titans LB Zach Brown left with a shoulder injury. … Chiefs S Eric Berry had a career-high 14 tackles. … Zach Fulton started at LG for the Chiefs.