Tennessee Titans' connection between Ryan Tannehill and A.J. Brown heated up as Chiefs focused on Derrick Henry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Kansas City Chiefs safety Juan Thornhill crept towards the line of scrimmage as Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill went through his cadence at Nissan Stadium on Sunday. It was clear what the Chiefs' defense was looking to do.

Kansas City (3-4) wanted to initially show Tannehill a two-safety look, perhaps to bribe him into checking to a running play which would play right into the hands of Thornhill dropping into the box at the last minute. Tannehill instead stuck with the play that was delivered to him by offensive coordinator Todd Downing, a play-action pass to wide receiver A.J. Brown.

The Chiefs' defense was focused on stopping league-leading running back Derrick Henry in the 27-3 loss, which generated single coverage for Brown on the outside. Brown was easily able to get inside position while running a route across the middle and haul in the pass, leading to a 10-yard gain.

"Got one-on-one matchups there when that happened, and our guys made plays," Tannehill said. "If teams are going to try to take away Derrick by stacking in the box, then you have to be able to win on the outside."

The play served as a launching point for the Titans' offense, which exploded for 27 points in the first half. Brown finished the half with six receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown -- much different from last week against the Buffalo Bills when he didn't have a catch in the first half.

"I was just trying to make a play each and every time the ball came to me," Brown said.

Getting off to a fast start was something the offense as a whole felt was necessary because it was going against a potent Chiefs offense. The 27-0 lead, however, was the largest deficit the Chiefs have faced since 2016, when they trailed the Pittsburgh Steelers 29-0 at halftime.

Henry entered Sunday's contest riding a five-game streak in which he rushed for 100 or more yards. He finished with 86 yards on 29 carries, so in theory, the Chiefs' defense slowed him down. But it opened things up for the passing game.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel added, "They defended the run well, but we were able to hit some plays down the field. We talked about beating match coverage, and guys did that."

Tannehill completed his final 10 passes last week against the Bills and completed his first 11 Sunday, giving him 21 consecutive completions before a pass to wide receiver Julio Jones fell incomplete in the second quarter.

The stacked boxes that Kansas City utilized to slow Henry down made it imperative for the Titans' receivers to take advantage of the single coverage they faced as a result.

That's exactly what Brown did, to the tune of eight receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown.

The best play of the day came when Tannehill and Brown connected for a 46-yard pitch-and-catch. Tannehill threw a perfect pass, dropping it right over Brown's shoulder so he could haul it in after jostling for position as he ran down the sideline.

Tannehill finished the day 21-of-27 passing for 270 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed twice for six yards and another score.

Tannehill and Brown have heated up over the past couple of weeks. Brown has reeled in 15 of the 18 passes that Tannehill has thrown his way. The 15 receptions have yielded 224 yards and a touchdown.

Sunday marked Brown's best game this season. But Brown isn't satisfied.

"It means nothing," Brown said. "I tell myself I haven’t done anything. I’ve got to keep getting better, got to keep working. I’m on to the next."

Next up is a road trip to face a hot Indianapolis Colts (3-4) team that has won three of four games since the Titans (5-2) beat them 25-16 in Week 3. A win Sunday (1 p.m. ET, CBS) would give the Titans a three-game lead in the AFC South over the second-placed Colts.

The Colts have struggled to stop Henry, who has rushed for more than 100 yards against them in four straight games, so for Brown, who has yet to post a 100-yard receiving performance in the five times he's played the Colts, this could be his breakout if the Colts try to mimic what the Chiefs did.