On Saturday night at Foxborough, the Tennessee Titans were routed by the New England Patriots. What did we learn from this lopsided affair?
Would it be business as usual for the defending Super Bowl champions? The New England Patriots were in the playoffs for the ninth consecutive year and were looking to reach the AFC Championship Game for the seventh consecutive postseason.
The opposition would be the upstart Tennessee Titans, seven days removed from a stirring 22-21 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mike Mularkey’s club rallied from an 18-point second-half deficit to stun the reigning AFC West champions. The victory earned the Titans a trip to Foxborough and a clash with a team they had dropped six straight games to (including playoffs) dating back to ’03.
If Mularkey’s squad was to pull off the upset, they would have to rally from a 21-7 halftime deficit. Unfortunately, things would only get worse after intermission as Tennessee fell behind 28-7 late in the third quarter on the way to a 35-14 setback.
1. RB Dion Lewis
The versatile pro continued to pile up the touches. Lewis finished with 15 carries for 62 yards and caught nine passes for 79 yards in the 35-14 victory. While he didn’t reach the end zone, he piled up an impressive 141 yards from scrimmage.
2. QB Tom Brady
The Patriots ran 80 plays and gained 438 total yards against the Titans. Brady completed 35 of 53 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in the 21-point win.
3. WR Danny Amendola
Brady zeroed in on the reliable wideout a game-high 13 times. Amendola pulled down 11 passes for 112 yards and the Patriots are headed to the AFC title game for the seventh consecutive year.
The Patriots opened as a 13-point favorite against the visiting Titans. The teams combined for 28 points in the first half alone, 21 by Belichick’s club – putting the total of 47 very much in striking range when it comes to the over. However, a late Tennessee touchdown brought the combined score to 49 points.
The Patriots will host the AFC Championship Game next Sunday and take on the winner of the Jacksonville Jaguars-Pittsburgh Steelers Divisional Round game, played Sunday afternoon. Including this season’s playoff split, the Titans dropped four of their last six games after an 8-4 start.