The Tennessee Titans had their 2017-18 season come to a close Saturday night in Foxboro after a 35-14 road loss to the New England Patriots. The victory advanced New England to its seventh consecutive AFC title game. Per Albert Breer of the MMQB, the Patriots have now been to 11 of the last 17 AFC title games.
Quarterback Tom Brady became the oldest quarterback in NFL history to win a playoff game.
Tennessee started fast in the first quarter with a touchdown drive on their second possession of the game. Marcus Mariota led his offense on an 11-play, 95-yard drive and found rookie wide receiver Corey Davis for a 15-yard touchdown pass and the contest’s first points. The Titans would not score again until the 1:55 mark in the fourth quarter, another score by Davis, but would only bring the score to 35-14 in New England’s favor. The fifth-overall pick in this offseason’s NFL draft finished with five catches for 63 yards receiving.
Mariota completed 22 of his 37 passes for 254 yards and two touchdowns but was sacked eight times by the Pats defensive front, who set a franchise playoff record. The third-year pro also lead his team in rushing with 37 yards on four attempts, but the Tennessee run game was rendered otherwise impotent.
Running back Derrick Henry, in his third consecutive start ran 12 times for a mere 28 yards to bring the Titans rushing total to only 65 yards on the day.
Brady, at 40 years of age, was surgical, completing 33-of-53 for 337 and three touchdowns through the air. He was not sacked once by the Tennessee defense. Brady found running back James White for a five-yard score early in the second quarter to tie the game at seven. White then ran in another touchdown from six-yards out in the same period to take a lead New England would not relinquish for the duration.
The Patriots scored 21 points and gained 186 yards on offense in the second quarter.
INJURIES: Coach Mike Mularkey said in his post-game press conference that Mariota suffered a strained quad in the first quarter but played through it. Right tackle Jack Conklin and tight end Jonnu Smith both left the game with knee injuries and did not return.