Tennessee Titans vs New England Patriots Wild Card Recap
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Tennessee Titans vs New England Patriots Wild Card Recap

By Garrett Thigpen
Contributing Writer for Telegraph Local | My LinkedIn – My Twitter

The Tennessee Titans went into Foxborough on Saturday night and took down the defending champion New England Patriots 20-13. The Titans took a 14-13 lead late in the second quarter and would not relinquish the lead for the rest of the game.

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First Half

The first half was back-and-forth, grind-it-out football between two good teams. Tom Brady looked crisp from the start throwing for 50 yards on the opening drive to set up a Nick Folk 36-yard field goal. The Titans responded by feeding Derrick Henry all the way down the field setting up a 12-yard Tannehill touchdown pass. Brady continued his hot start and led the Patriots down to the Titans 5 where Julian Edelman took a sweep outside and walked into the endzone untouched.

After a few punts from each team, the Patriots found themselves inside the Titan’s 5 yard line. However the Titan defense stood like a brick wall and shut down three straight run plays forcing a fourth and goal from the 3. The Patriots would settle for a field goal to go up 13-7. That lead disappeared quickly though when the Titans took the next drive 75 yards to set up a Derrick Henry 1-yard touchdown. The Titans went into the locker room with a 14-13 lead.

Second Half

The second half was a defensive battle. Both defenses held firm and the score remained 14-13 late into the fourth quarter. With 6:39 remaining in the game, the Titans had a 4th and 5 on the Patriots 39 yard line. The Titans decided to punt the ball, but not before intentionally taking delay of game and false start penalties to run the clock down. The Titans were able to run 1 minute and 49 seconds off the clock between third and fourth down. Bill Belichick was not happy. You can see the full sequence in the video below.

The Patriots failed to get past their own 37 on the following drive and were forced to punt it back to the Titans with 3;10 left. The Titans ran the clock down and then punter Brett Kern pinned New England on their own 1 yard line with just 15 seconds left. With almost no chance of success, Tom Brady threw a pick-six on the next play, essentially sealing a Titans win.

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Final Thoughts

The Titans went into Foxborough and did exactly what they wanted to do. First, they ran the ball effectively, limiting the Patriots opportunities to score. This allowed them to control the tempo and prevent the Patriots from getting any easy opportunities to score. The Patriots were forced to start 4 of their 5 second-half drives from inside their own 13 yard line. As a result, they only had 85 yards of offense the entire second half.

Undoubtedly, the player of the game was Derrick Henry. Henry turned 35 touches into 204 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tom Brady had a less than stellar game by his standards, completing just 20 of 37 passes for 209 yards and 2 picks. As soon as the game ended the focus turned to Brady as rumors around his future swirled. Would he be playing in a new uniform next season? Would he be playing at all? When asked about it after the game, Brady said it was “pretty unlikely” that he retires. Nonetheless, people will continue to speculate on his future until a decision is made.

Tennessee Titans vs New England Patriots Wild Card Recap

The Titans move on to the face the 14-2 Ravens in the Divisional Round next Saturday night in Baltimore. The Ravens open up as 10 point favorites. For the Patriots, this is their first time losing in the Wild Card round since the last time they played in it in 2009.

 

All statistics from https://www.espn.com/nfl/boxscore?gameId=401131036

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