January 21, 2018

Patriots Rout the Titans to Reach Their 7th Straight A.F.C. Title Game

Patriots Rout the Titans to Reach Their 7th Straight A.F.C. Title Game


New England also held Derrick Henry to just 28 yards rushing on 12 carries.

The Patriots’ victory came on the heels of a week filled with reports of turmoil involving Brady, Coach Bill Belichick and the team’s owner, Robert Kraft.

None of that showed on the field Saturday.

“It definitely sounds crazy,” tight end Rob Gronkowski said of how the team handled the news coverage during the week. “But you have to keep ignoring the noise on the outside, just keep working every time you walk into the building, and just keep grinding.”

Last week, the Titans rallied from an 18-point deficit in the second half and defeated the Chiefs, 22-21, in the wild-card round. That was the largest comeback on the road in the Super Bowl era. But the Patriots did not give them a chance for an encore.

The Patriots stretched their margin to 14 points just before halftime after a trio of careless penalties by the Titans.

Tennessee initially forced a three-and-out but gave up a first down with a fourth-and-5 neutral zone infraction on Brynden Trawick before New England’s punt attempt.

Armed with a new set of downs, Brady went to work moving the Patriots down the field with a steady diet of short passes. The Titans helped along the way with penalties for illegal contact and unnecessary roughness. The drive culminated in a 4-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Chris Hogan in the back of the end zone that made the score 21-7.

Brady threw a short shovel pass to White, who ran in from the 5-yard line to make it 7-7 early in the second quarter.

The Patriots appeared to have scored a touchdown three plays earlier, when Dion Lewis caught a pass from Brady and was tackled by Wesley Woodyard at the 19. Lewis landed on top of the defender, then got up and continued to the end zone.

The officials initially ruled that he had never been down and called it a touchdown. But replays showed Lewis’s backside had hit the ground at the 19.

Corey Davis made a one-handed catch on a 15-yard pass from Mariota in the corner of the end zone to give the Titans an early 7-0 lead.

Davis added an 11-yard touchdown reception with just under two minutes left in the game, and in the Titans’ season.



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