Titans Down Patriots in Foxborough and Advance

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Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry goes over New England Patriots defenders for a touchdown in the first half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

On Saturday night in Foxborough, MA, the Tennessee Titans knocked off the defending Super Bowl champions, 20-13.

The Titans will now move on to face the top-seed Baltimore Ravens next Saturday night in Maryland.

All Henry, All the Time

After Ryan Tannehill fired a strike to tight end Anthony Firkser for an early touchdown, it seemed like Tennessee just stopped throwing the ball. However, that wasn’t an issue. Derrick Henry led the league in rushing in the regular season and picked up right where he left off. The former Heisman winner had 182 yards on 34 carries and a touchdown. Henry carried the offense on to the next round and almost certainly earned himself a giant payday.

Tannehill did make a huge play when he had to. With under three minutes left, he found Firkser on 3rd-and-8 for a first down. That play allowed the Titans to run the clock down under thirty seconds and seal the win.

Defensive Adjustments

In the first half, the Patriots ran up and down the field on the Titans, putting up 13 points. It seemed like Tennessee had no answer as the Patriots were up 10-7 and sat on the Titans’ one-yard line. However, three plays later, the Patriots went backward and settled for a field goal. Those would be the last points that the team would score this season.

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After the Titans answered and took a 14-13 lead near the end of the half, Tom Brady and the Patriots offense looked for points to regain the lead before halftime. However, Brady threw a tipped pass that fell right into the arms of former Patriot, Logan Ryan. Ryan had green grass in front of him but dropped the ball before he could even get started.

However, the second half was a different story. The Titans defense shut down Brady and the Pats and Ryan gained his redemption, intercepting Brady’s last pass of the season and taking it back for the game-clinching score.

Looking Ahead

Although the Titans have passed the first test of the postseason, the path doesn’t get any easier. Now, Tennessee has to travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens, who won their last 12 games to end the regular season. The Ravens have a potent run offense led by Heisman winners Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram. However, Jackson has proven himself as a passer on his way to a likely MVP season.

On defense, the Ravens lost a lot of key pieces in the offseason including both starting pass-rushers, Zadarius Smith and Terrell Suggs. However, they also made some key additions, signing Earl Thomas and trading for ball-hawk Marcus Peters. The Ravens like to force turnovers and make big plays on the defensive side. However, they haven’t had to play Derrick Henry yet this season.

The Titans were able to advance with a big win, but they will have to turn their heads to the Ravens quickly if they want to keep the improbable run going.

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