The Titans came into Baltimore on Saturday night as 10-point underdogs with very few people giving them a puncher’s chance at taking out the 14-2 Ravens after a two week rest and MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson leading the way, but that’s exactly what they did. Led by Ryan Tannehill, Derrick Henry and a defense that managed to harass and mostly contain Jackson, the Titans won easily, 28-12
Lamar Jackson was as fast and dynamic as usual and he had multiple amazing runs and passes, but there’s no doubt that the Titans quick lead and pressure got him a little flustered. The Ravens haven’t been behind very often this season and they pressed, making too many mistakes in all aspects of the game.
Ryan Tannehill played well, throwing for two touchdowns and running for another, but once again the Titans offense was carried on the ground by Derrick Henry. Henry was unstoppable as he ran over, through, and occasionally around Ravens defenders despite them knowing the ball was likely going to Henry.
The Ravens turnovers did them in, as an early Jackson interception put the Titans in a great spot on the Ravens 35-yard line, which Jonnu Smith turned into the Titans first touchdown with a miraculous catch. Then, on their next possession, the Ravens again turned the ball over, this time on downs when the Titans stopped Jackson on fourth-and-1 at the Ravens 45-yard line. Tannehill quickly turned that turnover into a score, as he hit speedster Kalif Raymond for a 45-yard touchdown.
The Ravens aggressiveness, which helped them blow out most of their opponents this season, backfired this week and put them in a hole while the Titans continued to shovel on more and more dirt. Jackson was again stopped on fourth-and-1 in the third quarter. Then he fumbled at his own 25-yard line later in the third quarter and then was intercepted again at the end of the third quarter. The third quarter was not a good one for Jackson.
Jackson ended up setting a playoff record by throwing for over 300 yards and rushing for over a 100 yards. Unfortunately, Jackson threw the ball more than he’s ever thrown it before, with 59 pass attempts.
Derrick Henry ended up rushing 30 times for 195 yards and also throwing a three-yard jump-pass to Corey Davis for a touchdown. Henry has now run an other-worldly 64 times for 377 yards in the Titans two playoff wins. If he can somehow keep that up, he’ll break John Riggins record of 610 rushing yards in a single postseason.
The Titans now wait for the winner between the Titans and the Chiefs, having already beaten both teams this year. Their fairytale run is no longer a fairytale, as they have now beaten the world champion Patriots and the best team in the NFL.