KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Chiefs were left exhausted physically after an afternoon of trying to tackle Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry when the teams met in Week 10 in Nashville.
The way they're talking this week, they're drained emotionally at the mere prospect of having to try it again in Sunday's AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium (3:05 p.m. ET, CBS).
"It's going to take a lot of us hitting him and tackling him, more than one guy," linebacker Anthony Hitchens said. "You've got to take his legs out. We've talked all week [about] killing the engine, hitting him in his legs and thighs and chopping him down. When you tackle him high he tends to carry you for about 5 more yards."
The Chiefs couldn't handle Henry the last time around. He rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns, one from 68 yards. He had 140 yards in the second half.
Henry was a key figure in the Titans' 35-32 victory and looms large again on Sunday. The Chiefs this season are 9-0 when holding their opponents to fewer than 110 rushing yards but are 4-4 when they allow more.
The more production Henry gets, the fewer chances the high-scoring Chiefs' offense figures to receive. The Chiefs scored 51 points in last week's divisional round win over the Houston Texans, at one point scoring a touchdown on seven straight possessions and then adding a field goal on the eighth.
"Somehow, some way, we've got to find a way to get them to third down and then win third down," defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. "If we don't do that, we can't get the ball back to Patrick Mahomes and coach [Andy] Reid. That's going to be the challenge we're going to have."
The Chiefs, who had 13 possessions against the Texans, sounded as if they're preparing for a lesser number on Sunday.
"It's important for us to make sure we're maximizing the opportunities that are presented to us," offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said. "It's important for us to take care of business on our side of the ball. It is important for us to execute with great attention to details and it is important for us to put points on the board to apply pressure to them."
The Titans won't give up on Henry even when behind. The Chiefs led the Titans 29-20 with about 12 minutes left in the game in Week 10 when Tennessee started a drive at its 25. The situation called for the Titans to be in a passing mode, but they ran on nine of the drive's 10 plays. Henry carried seven times for 26 yards and scored a 1-yard touchdown to bring the Titans within two points.
That's part of the reason Henry is so effective in the second half.
"The most important thing is we've got to finish the game strong," Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu said. "If you watch a lot of Derrick Henry, he gets stronger as the game goes on. His first halves, they aren't that great, but second-half football, he takes off."
The Chiefs have improved significantly on defense since playing the Titans. They allowed an average of 148 rushing yards in their first 10 games but an average of 95 yards in the seven games since.
But their defense hasn't faced a rushing threat in those seven games like the one they will see from Henry and the Titans.
"The mentality is that somebody is going to have to stop him," Mathieu said. "Somebody is going to have to make a tackle on him if we want to get to Miami."