On Sunday, the 6th seed Tennessee Titans will head to Kansas City to take on the 2nd seed Chiefs for the AFC Championship Game, with a trip to the Super Bowl at stake.
During the season, there were many who imagined the high powered Chiefs making it to this stage, but I don’t remember anyone mentioning the Titans taking a trip to Miami in February.
I’m going to be honest. I think most people outside of the two teams’ fandoms will be thrilled to see either team win. Not just because it will be two young, fun teams playing, but also because it is the first time in a LONG time that the words New England Patriots haven’t been mentioned in an AFC Championship preview.
We are headed into week two of the NFL playoffs. Saturday’s match-up between the Tennessee Titans and the Baltimore Ravens will showcase two different types of offenses.
The Ravens have quarterback Lamar Jackson and his style of offense, which includes his dynamic ability to escape and run out of the pocket. While the Titans have more of a play-action pocket passer in Ryan Tannehill. Either way, both these teams will try to establish a run game. So expect a lot of smash-mouth, in the trenches, football.
The defending Super Bowl Champions started their playoff run with 2 huge questions Saturday night in Foxboro.
First Question: Could the Patriots defense stop the explosive running back Derrick Henry?
Answer: NO. The Patriots defense struggled with Henry all night long. When a running back ends his night with numbers like 182 rushing yards and a touchdown on 34 carries, you can pretty much assume the Titans controlled the line of scrimmage all night. He also added a 22-yard reception to finish with a total of 204 total yards from scrimmage.
One of the biggest questions surrounding the Houston Texans right now is, what is the team’s identity? We hear this statement every season regarding one team or another. What constitutes a team identity anyway?
I heard it all day following the Texans loss to the Broncos. The analyst said this team is searching for their identity. Ok, well did they have their identity when they beat the Patriots the week before? I always found this phrase more associated with teams that are young and still working on continuity, not teams 15 weeks into the season.
Houston has far bigger problems then hoping to find an “identity”. They are sitting at 8-5 and tied with a red hot Tennessee Titans team right now. A team who have reeled off 4 straight wins in a row behind new quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
The Tennessee Titans had a tumultuous year, with injuries, weird wins, and stupid losses. They beat “good teams” like the Philadelphia Eagles and lost to “bad teams” like the Buffalo Bills. (Sorry to my original hometown team, I still love the Bills).
And then there is the Indianapolis Colts who just seems to be the Tennessee Titans’ kryptonite, at least when quarterback Andrew Luck is playing.
The Titans can’t figure out how to beat Indianapolis when Luck is at the helm. Now the Colts are moving on to the playoffs and the Titans are cleaning out their lockers.
The Titans won a road game at MetLife Stadium in rainy and cold New Jersey. The victory was extra sweet as the Titans have not had a shutout game since December of 2000 when they beat the Dallas Cowboys 31-0.
The wintery weather may have cost the Titans some points, as there were some dropped passes and a missed field goal kick. But behind Derrick Henry’s strong run game, the team prevailed. Henry had a great game with two touchdowns, 33 carries, and 170 yards.
The Titans defense was also strong; the defense was able to hold the Giants star rookie running back Saquon Barkley to only 31 yards. The Titans defense had two turnovers during the second half of the game, with safety Kevin Byard getting his third interception of the year, and linebacker Kamalei Correa forcing a sack-fumble on Giants’ quarterback Eli Manning. The fumbled ball was picked up by defensive tackle Jurrell Casey.
Coach Vrabel stated at the post-game press conference that he was proud that his team did not have any turnovers in the “tough conditions on the field”.
The game was prolonged unnecessarily by the NFL refs who seemed to want to review far too many plays, and it took them a long time to reach decisions. The fans out in the cold had to have been frustrated by the delays. While we are on the subject of delays, the Titans did get an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for having two “delay of game” calls in a row; rather strange.
All in all, it was another Derrick Henry show, with the running back breaking the record for most rushing yards in back to back games. He beat Earl Campbell’s record of 405 yards with 408 rushing yards.
The Titans will face the Washington Redskins next week at home on Saturday with a late afternoon kickoff time of 3:30 CT. Tennessee is now 8-6 for the season and the team needs to win the next two home games for any chance to get in the playoffs.
The Titans were hyped at the end of this game and performed a “Remember the Titans” celebration dance routine. The hype and the teamwork needs to carry on for two more weeks, for two more victories for Tennessee to have a chance to get to the Super Bowl.
It was another ugly start for the Titans. Their possession of the game ended with quarterback Marcus Mariota being sacked. Since the Titans lost to division rival Houston Texans last week 34-17; one would think that the Titans would come out with guns blazing.
Every Tennessee player on the field looked like they were wishing they were somewhere else or they were in a trance state. Mariota had a pass intercepted in the first quarter; Jets cornerback Trumaine Johnson returned the ball 31 yards and got a touchdown, giving the Jets a 10-0 lead.
The game in Dallas started out rather rocky for Titans fans. A fumble and a turn over by quarterback Marcus Mariota in the first quarter set up Dallas for an easy score by new Cowboys’ wide receiver Amari Cooper.
The Titans had just come off of their bye week and Mariota started the game without the glove he has had to wear since the beginning of the season; he’s been playing with a tweaked nerve in his throwing arm since week 2.
The gloveless Mariota had sparked hopes that he had healed and would be back at the top of his game, but then this game starts with a fumble, and those hopes were dashed a bit.