By Lisa Johnson //@LJ1303
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.
– Became the first player with 200 scrimmage yards against a Belichick-coached Patriots team in a playoff game
– Set the franchise record for scrimmage yards in a playoff game
Today is his 26th birthday. pic.twitter.com/yYtKirCJzb
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 5, 2020
Second question: Could this have been quarterback Tom Brady’s last game in Foxboro? Brady whose contract expires at the end of the season, had this to say after the game: “I would say it’s pretty unlikely, hopefully unlikely. I love playing football.” Brady’s final pass was a last-minute interception returned for a touchdown by former Patriot Logan Ryan.
I can’t say this as a fact, but I’m pretty sure he won’t want to go into retirement with that being his last pass in the NFL.
This loss to the Titans was New Englands’ earliest playoff exit since 2009.
The Tennessee Titans came into Foxboro Stadium Saturday night with a game plan. Give RB Derrick Henry the ball and Titans Coach Mike Vrabel did exactly that. Henry finished the game with a total of 204 yards. “It’s a great win against a great team in a hostile environment,” Henry said, “Credit to my team. I’m just happy we were able to advance. We were just locked in. That was our mindset, just coming in here doing what we needed to do in all three phases, stay locked in no matter what happens in the game, and I feel like we did that.”
Titans QB Ryan Tannehill was just 8-of-15, 72 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int. The Titans offense did enough to control the clock. Tannehill said after the game “I’m so proud of this team,” “It was ugly at times offensively. But we kept fighting and found a way to make a couple of plays at the end.” Making time a factor in the second half for the Patriots.
While Derrick Henry shined on offense. Titans linebacker Rashaan Evans lead the Titans defense on a goal-line stance holding the Patriots to just three points. This turned out to be a huge turning point for the Titans.
How does it feel to come into New England and get the win? “This is amazing. But it’s not over,” offensive tackle Taylor Lewan said. “The last two decades, they’ve been the greatest team in football. We played good football. We took care of the ball and our defense stepped up when they needed to. Offense stepped up. And now we play the Ravens.”
Follow Lisa on Twitter // @LJ1303