Week 17. The battle for the final playoff spots in the AFC. It all came down to the wire. The Ravens, Colts, Browns, Dolphins, and Titans were all seeking to lock their playoff births. It was a wild week 17 indeed. The Packers locked in the one seed, while the Bears lost but got some help from the Rams. It was a win-win for all three teams! Then there was the NFC East drama. The Giants topped their division rivals, but the Eagles failed to play spoiler, losing the game with backups and making Washington the NFC East champs. Back to the AFC, the Dolphins got romped by the Bills, ending their playoff bid.
Topping them all was the Titans topping the Texans, 41-38. Tennessee clinched the AFC South for the first time since 2008. Oh yeah, and they got a 2,000-yard rusher, in Derek Henry, who got 2,027. This broke the franchise record of Chris Johnson’s (2,006). AJ Brown also topped the 1,000 yards receiving mark again, with 1,075.
The game started off slow, with both teams trading punts. Then on the third drive of the game, Texans star QB Deshaun Watson threw a pick to Titans safety, Amani Hooker! Tennessee could only muster 3 points out of the turnover, as on a 3rd and 8, receiver Corey Davis dropped a pass. With kicker Stephen Gostkowski on the COVID-19 list rookie, Sam Sloman attempted a 47-yard field goal. He made it down the middle, 3-0 Titans. The Texans went down into the red zone, but the Titans defense held and Ka’imi Fairbairn had to try a 24-yard field goal, which he made to tie the score. That’s when the King made his presence felt! He romped for a 52 yard TD, to make the score 10-3.
PHOTO CREDIT: Eric Christian Smith / Associated Press
Houston then had to try another field goal, which was good making the score 10-6. Ryan Tannehill and the Titans drove down and scored on a pass to AJ Brown. Sloman’s kick was good, 17-6 Tennessee. The Texans were able to get 3 before halftime, making the score 17-9 going into the break. The second half started with the Titans methodically marching down the field and scoring a touchdown on a 6 yard Henry run. That made the score 24-9. Houston answered on a 38 yard Watson pass to Brandin Cooks, but Fairbairn missed the PAT, and the score stayed at 24-15. Tannehill responded to that, and turned into TanneWheels, scoring on a 5-yard scramble. Sloman made the extra point and the score was 31-15, Tennessee. Watson and co, scored on a flea-flicker, Watson to Cooks again for 20 yards. Texans coach Romeo Crennel signaled to go for two, and Houston was stopped, and the score stayed put, at 31-21. However, on the very next play, Henry fumbled and the Texans got the ball back in titans territory! They capitalized on that, scoring on a one-yard David Johnson run. On the next drive, on a 4th and 11 in no-mans-land, coach Mike Vrabel told Tannehill to go for it, and he got sacked! A huge momentum shifter! Houston then scored via another Watson passing TD. Down 35-31, Tannehill and the offense needed a kickstart. Well, they took 19 plays, 75 yards, and 8:32 off the clock and scored on a beautiful read-option where TanneWheels wasn’t touched for 6. Watson got Fairbairn another field goal opportunity, with 20 seconds left, and he made it. So it looked like another Titan, Texans game would go into OT. Woah there! Calm down! Instead of kneeling and going into OT, Ryan Tannehill threw a 52-yard strike to AJ Brown, getting deep into Houston territory!
PHOTO CREDIT: Donald Page / Tennessee Titans
Crennel decided to ice Sloman on his 37-yard try. On the second try and the biggest kick of his life, Sam Sloman hit the upright… But wait! The ball went back in! The kick was good! A doink and the division! Final score 41-38! Tennessee won the AFC South for the first time since 2008!
Overall it was a good game, just in the playoffs, the Titans will have to finish the game better. The defense was good in the first half and was the Jaguars in the second. It will have to get better and stay consistent. The pass rush got to Waston four times, which is good, but the Houston line is terrible. If they can do that vs. a good line I’ll be happier. Final stat leaders were: passing; Tannehill, 18-27, for 216 yards and one TD, plus 2 on the ground. Rushing; King Henry, 34 carries, for 250 yards and 2 touchdowns. Receiving; Brown, 10 grabs for 151 yards and one TD. MVP of the game goes to Derrick Henry! Once again he put the team on his back and absolutely murdered the Texans! He’ll have to do it again in the playoffs, and I think he can. Next up for Tennessee is the Ravens, in a rematch of last season’s Divisional Round. Kickoff is a 1:05, ET from Nashville, on Sunday the 10th.
PHOTO CREDIT: USA TODAY / Titans Wire
Yes! Derrick Henry did it! He became the 8th player to rush for over 2,000 yards in a season, finishing with 2,027! That put him 5th on the list and above Chris Johnson, or CJ2K. It breaks Johnson’s single-season franchise record, and makes Tennessee the first team in NFL history to have more than one 2,000 yard rusher!
PHOTO CREDIT: Titans / Twitter