Patriots 35, Titans 14: Tom Brady dices Tennessee defense in AFC divisional playoffs
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Five quick observations from the Titans' 35-14 divisional playoff loss to the Patriots on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium:
Tom Brady carves up Titans
Tom Brady passed for more than 300 yards and three touchdowns in a playoff game for the 10th time, claiming sole possession of an NFL record he previously shared with Joe Montana.
The Titans had no answers for the Patriots’ hurry-up attack, particularly short passes to the running backs. Dion Lewis and James White combined for 13 catches for 108 yards and a score.
The Patriots racked up 30 or more first downs in a playoff game for the third time.
Titans legendary defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau fell to 2-7 all-time against Brady.
Patriots erupt in second quarter
The Patriots gained 186 yards and scored 21 points in the second quarter, when questionable penalties on wide receiver Eric Decker and safety Brynden Trawick helped turn a tied game into a rout.
An offensive pass interference call against Decker wiped out a first down and backed the Titans into third-and-17, short-circuiting the drive. After a short punt, the Patriots took over near midfield and needed less than two minutes to drive 48 yards in six plays for the go-ahead touchdown. James White scored on a 6-yard run for a 14-7 lead with about 9½ minutes remaining in the first half.
Later, after the Titans’ defense had forced a three-and-out deep in New England territory, Trawick was called or a neutral zone infraction on the punt, giving the Patriots a first down. The drive turned into a 16-play, 91-yard march, ending with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Chris Hogan for a 21-7 lead.
Corey Davis catches two touchdowns
Titans rookie wide receiver Corey Davis, the fifth overall pick in the draft, caught his first career touchdown, a one-handed, 15-yard grab to give the Titans a 7-0 lead with 1:14 remaining in the first quarter. He beat Malcolm Butler on the play.
Marcus Mariota delivered a perfect pass, where only Davis could catch it, capping an 11-play, 95 yard drive that lasted 5:17 and stunned the New England crowd.
But the Patriots quickly went to work, driving 73 yards in seven plays and less than three minutes. White scored on a 5-yard pass to knot the score at 7-7.
Davis also caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Mariota, cutting the Titans' deficit to 35-14 with 1:55 remaining.
Marcus Mariota sacked eight times
The Titans surrendered a season-high eight sacks, a Patriots single-game playoff record.
Titans right tackle Jack Conklin left the game with a knee injury during the touchdown drive in the first quarter and did not return. He walked off the field on his own power and headed to the locker room. Dennis Kelly took over at right tackle.
Titans third-round rookie tight end Jonnu Smith was carted off the field with a right knee injury with about four minutes remaining in the third quarter. He was injured on a punt return.
Derrick Henry bottled up
Derrick Henry was limited to 28 rushing yards on 12 carries, an average of 2.3 yards per touch. His longest run was 4 yards.
Mariota led the Titans with 37 rushing yards on four carries.
Henry had set a franchise playoff record with 191 yards from scrimmage in the Titans' wild card victory against the Chiefs last weekend.
Henry started in place of DeMarco Murray, who missed a third consecutive game with a knee injury.
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