Derrick Henry, Defense Lead Titans to AFC Championship over Ravens

The No. 6-seeded Tennessee Titans were in Baltimore to take on the No. 1-seeded Ravens on Saturday.

All week leading up to the game, not many gave the Titans a chance. Many Ravens defensive players, including safety Earl Thomas, said they needed to do a better job tackling Derrick Henry than the Patriots did last week.

The Titans got the ball first and the Ravens were true to their gameplan, holding Henry to minimal gains. The Titans were forced to punt.

Lamar Jackson, on the seventh play of his team’s opening offensive drive, was intercepted by Titans safety Kevin Byard. 

Derrick Henry, on the ensuing drive, started picking up yards in chunks. The drive was capped off when Ryan Tannehill found tight end, Jonnu Smith, for a 12-yard touchdown strike on a play where Smith made an amazing catch. Titans 7-0

The Ravens’ next drive ended when the Titans’ defense stopped Jackson on a fourth-and-one. On the Titans’ first play, Tannehill hit receiver Kalif Raymond for a 45-yard home run strike. Titans 14-0

The Ravens finally got on the board with a pair of Justin Tucker field goals. Titans 14-6 (Halftime)

The Ravens got the ball first in the second half. The drive ended when the Titans stopped Jackson again on a fourth-down attempt. The Titans drove 81 yards in six plays, with the big play on the drive being a 66-yard run by Henry. The drive ended with Henry on a trick play lobbing a pass to Corey Davis for a three-yard touchdown. Titans 21-6

Titans defensive lineman Jeffrey Simmons recorded a strip sack of Jackson on the Ravens’ first play of their drive. Six plays later, Ryan Tannehill scored from one yard out. Titans 28-6

Jackson finally seemed to be putting together a drive before it stalled when Titans safety, Kenny Vaccaro, picked off a pass. 

The Titans could not score and were forced to punt. The Ravens put together a 10-play, 88-yard drive. Jackson found tight end, Hayden Hurst, for a 15-yard touchdown. The two-point attempt failed. Titans 28-12 Final 


  • Easier said than done

The Ravens’ plan was specifically for Derrick Henry, but again, they weren’t able to execute. Henry ended the game with 195 yards on the ground, becoming the first player in NFL history with three consecutive games with 180 yards rushing.

  • Even the best

MVP Lamar Jackson came out flat, which is a detriment to him sitting out Week 17. By the time he started to get in a rhythm, it was too late.

  • Defense fears no one

The Titans’ defense impressed many, including the most loyal Titans fans. They shut down the best team, the best offense, and the best quarterback in the league one week after beating Tom Brady and the Patriots. They sacked Jackson four times in addition to the two interceptions. 

This Titans win earned them a spot in next week’s AFC Championship Game against the Chiefs in Kansas City.

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