It was the sort of performance that brought back memories of the preseason prognostications that had the Titans as one of the top teams in the conference -- a team that would definitely improve on last season's 9-7 mark. So is this batch of Titans better than what their regular-season performance advertised?
Brian Orakpo thinks so.
"You gotta believe. I know it sounds cliche, but you gotta believe," the Titans linebacker told NFL Network's Aditi Kinkhabwala after the game. "The men in the locker room -- [there's] a bunch of underrated savages in that locker room. And we always get no credit, and they always think we cannot do anything, but we got the job done today."
The Titans entered Saturday's game against the AFC West champions as underdogs, but that -- coupled with a big halftime deficit -- didn't trounce on their resolve. While their Divisional Round game next week against the New England Patriots or Pittsburgh Steelers (depending on who wins the Bills-Jaguars matchup) will certainly be their biggest test of the season, the Titans proved Saturday they might be the conference dark horse.
No matter what happens next week, Orakpo believes coach Mike Mularkey has played a big role in helping the Titans taste playoff victory for the first time since 2003. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Saturday morning that Mularkey's job would be in jeopardy if Tennessee fell to the Chiefs.
When asked by Kinkhabwala whether he believed the win saved Mularkey's job, Orakpo said, "Saved his job? We went 9-7 back-to-back seasons. It hasn't been done [in Tennessee] in a long time. Why would his job be in jeopardy? That's complete nonsense, complete B.S. I love that man. Coach Mularkey has done a great job for us and will do a great job in the future."
So are the Titans a legit Super Bowl contender or did they simply maximize their resolve and make the most of their chances against the Chiefs? Next week will go a long way in determining where they stand in the NFL hierarchy.