Titans punch ticket to AFC playoffs with 35-14 win over Houston
The Tennessee Titans punched their ticket into the postseason here on Sunday with 35-14 win over the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium.
The Titans will travel to Foxborough next weekend to face the New England Patriots in the first round of the playoffs.
It will be the franchise’s second playoff appearance in three seasons. In 2017, the Titans beat the Chiefs in the playoff’s first round before being knocked out of the postseason with a loss to the Patriots.
With the win, the Titans finished the season with a 9-7 mark.
Running back Derrick Henry ran for 211 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries in the contest and won the NFL’s rushing title in the process. Henry finished the regular season with 1,540 yards while playing in 15 games. Henry eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the sixth time this season in the contest.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who helped turn around Tennessee’s season, turned in yet another solid performance. Since Tannehill stepped in at Week 7, the Titans posted a 7-3 mark.
Also, receiver A.J. Brown went over the 1,000-yard mark for receiving yards in his rookie season.
It all added up to a big win for the Titans, who entered the day with a win-and-in playoff scenario.
Up 14-7 at halftime, the Titans took the opening drive of the second half and produced a 78-yard scoring drive that was capped off with a three-yard touchdown run by Henry. It was a big drive that featured all runs, including seven from Henry.
After the Texans answered back with a long scoring drive of their own, cutting the lead to 21-14 with 1:09 left in the third quarter on a one-yard by quarterback AJ McCarron, who started in place of regular Texans starter Deshaun Watson, the Titans stepped up again.
Henry finished off a five-play 75-yard scoring drive with another one-yard score, which was set up by a 47-yard pass from quarterback Tannehill to Brown, who made a remarkable catch at the one-yard line to set up the score to make it 28-14.
Then, a 53-yard touchdown run by Henry with 2:54 remaining in the game set off a celebration on the Tennessee sideline, and in the stands. It sparked chants of “Henry, Henry, Henry.”
The Titans fell down early before rallying.
The Titans took a 14-7 in the second quarter that ended with a one-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to tight end MyCole Pruitt and included a lot.
On the 16-play, 90-yard drive,. Brown went over the 1,000-yard mark for the season – on a 24-yard completion from quarterback Marcus Mariota, who entered the game for one play.
The Titans jumped on the scoreboard on their first possession on a 51-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to Brown, who caught the ball and outraced defenders to the end zone to tie the game.
It was a big early answer – it came less than two minutes after the Texans jumped out to a 7-0 lead early on a one-yard touchdown run by Duke Johnson, which capped off a 15-play, 75-yard drive.
By finishing with a 9-7 mark, the team finished with a winning record for the fourth season in a row.