The New England Patriots hosted the Tennessee Titans Saturday night in the division round of the 2018 playoffs, and they did exactly what everyone expected them to do. It just took a little longer than we thought it would.
The Titans started out strong, shutting out the Patriots in the first quarter and striking first on a one-handed touchdown catch by Corey Davis with 1:14 left in the first quarter. This was short-lived, however, with the Patriots starting their third drive of the game at the end of the 1st quarter and scoring early in the second on a 5-yard catch and run by James White. The Patriots scored two more touchdowns in the 2nd quarter, a 6 yard rush by White and a 4-yard pass to Hogan, finishing the half on a 53-yard field goal attempt by Gostkowski that barely missed to the left.
The Patriots continued to control the game in the 2nd half as the Titans struggled to move the ball down the field on offense and couldn’t stop the Patriots on defense. Brandon Bolden ran the ball in from 2 yards out with 4 minutes left in the 3rd and a 4-yard pass to Gronkowski with 10 minutes to go in the game.
The Titans didn’t score again until Mariota hit Davis again on an 11-yard pass with 1:55 left. They tried an onside kick after this which New England recovered and the game was all but over at this point. With the Patriots going on to their 7th straight AFC Championship game, topping the Titans 35-14.
Brady did what Brady does, throwing for 337 yards and 3 touchdowns in his 26th career postseason victory (the most by any QB in NFL history). While Mariota threw for 254 yards and 2 touchdowns. Mariota was also sacked 8 times during this game, the Tennessee offensive struggled to protect Mariota against this New England pass rush. Mariota also led the Titans in rushing yards with 37, while starting running back Derrick Henry was held to only 28 rushing yards after torching the Chiefs in the Wildcard round with 156 rushing yards. In the end, the Patriots offense was too much to handle for the Titans and their defense, for the most part, shut down the Tennessee offense.
The New England Patriots will go on to play the winner of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers in Foxborough next Sunday.