By Austin Payne
In a much anticipated matchup between the Patriots and the Titans, mostly to see if we could confirm whether or not Tom Brady is washed yet, we may have finally gotten our answer tonight.
With many experts actually picking the Titans to beat this team, in the playoffs albeit, and some even ranking Ryan Tannehill as a top five quarterback in these playoffs, it’s no surprise the level of controversy and debate that has arisen around this game.
These games are entirely understandable, especially when we consider the fact that the Titans have been essentially balling out under the leadership and revitalization of a QB who was treated like last year’s model in Miami. We always knew Ryan had this talent, but with injury concerns and seemingly no consistent upward ascent over his career with the Dolphins, it’s comprehensible to see why they’ve moved on.
It’s also comprehensible to see what he’s capable of though, and this year we’ve seen that. Tom Brady on the other hand…well yeah, we’ve talked about that. Tonight should have answered several questions for us, however.
The Titans kept it close and lead going into the break, up 14-13 over New England. With all the claims i had heard about Derrick Henry having a hard time against this defense, the opposite was the case. Henry lit up the first half with 120 yards rushing on 17 carries already, clearly being the focal point of the offense with Tannehill only throwing for 53 yards in the first half of the game. Brady remained somewhat competent, not looking entirely washed but also leaving a bit to be desired as, yet again, James White finished the first two quarters as their leading receiver.
After a rather anticlimactic and ultimately, scoreless third quarter, we headed into the fourth with the Titans still up a point. The fourth quarter was almost equally as stagnant, with both offenses being relatively quiet and Derrick Henry’s first half success not translating into second half yardage nearly as easily as it did in the first. With the Titans still tightly holding onto the lead, they found themselves again in a fourth down situation, having to punt and return the ball to Tom Brady with 25 seconds left on the clock.
You would think…this is the part where i tell you Tom Brady made a miraculous comeback drive to win the game right? But…from his own end zone after a deep punt pinned them back, his first pass attempt was intercepted off of a tip for a pick six by his own former teammate, Logan Ryan.
The rest is history, that all but did it in Foxborough. The real question that comes to mind after the Patriots, of all teams, losing this early, is…is this the end of an era?