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Chiefs-Bills playoff game illustrates key problem for the Titans going forward

NFL: AFC Divisional Round-Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Bills-Chiefs playoff game was everything you could possibly want. Two young, absolute superstar quarterbacks slinging it and running all over the field, scoring points in a matter of seconds. Neither one could top the other down the stretch.

It ended up going to overtime, where the last man that had the ball was inevitably going to win. That ended up being Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs once again, as they advanced to another AFC Championship appearance.

If you’re like me, watching this game was actually somewhat depressing from at Titans perspective, coming just 24 hours after watching No. 1 seed Tennessee lose at home to the Bengals.

This tweet sums up those feelings well.

Look, the Titans beat both the Chiefs and Bills this year, along with the Rams and 49ers too. They have a great roster, play a totally different brand of football, and can beat anyone at any time. But when the playoffs come around, quarterback play takes a front seat, and Ryan Tannehill just hasn’t been good enough in January.

When everything matters the most, Tannehill has played some of his worst football for Tennessee, ultimately handicapping the upside of this team. Riding Derrick Henry is one thing, but it can only get you so far.

There’s going to come a time when you need your quarterback to put some throws together to go win the game. Tannehill had a chance to do that on Saturday night, and failed.

Another opportunity down the drain.

Meanwhile, Allen and Mahomes put up 25 points in 1:54. Are we feeling confident that the Titans can actually hang with that sort of firepower in crunchtime? Let’s be real. The Titans caught the Chiefs at the right time this season and it took a dramatic goal line stand to beat Allen and the Bills, who the Titans also caught in Nashville.

We know that the Titans are capable of beating both teams, but these young superstars are only getting better. Elite quarterback play can mask a lot of issues. Average quarterback play makes your path nearly impossible in today’s game.

Ryan Tannehill can play at a very high level. We’ve all seen it — we just haven’t seen it in when it matters the most. Somehow, some way, Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel have to take one final swing at getting him back to that level with consistency. They can’t sit on their hands here and they both likely know that.

The window remains cracked open for this team, but with Tannehill at quarterback, everything feels so limited. When you consider the fact that Allen, Mahomes and Burrow are all under the age of 26 and likely only get better from here, you really start to see that path to a Super Bowl get narrow, quick.

This offseason is now fascinating for Jon Robinson. Does he make a play for a change under center? Does he add firepower around Tannehill and take one final shot?

It’s a pivotal moment for the franchise. The Titans are already playing from behind with the lack of elite quarterback play, and they’re running out of time to catch up.