Titans coach Mike Vrabel posted outdoors the locker room after the Tennessee 20-13 playoff victory over the New England Patriots and waited.
He wished to personally shake palms with every member of his group as they left the sphere. Between the flood of high-fives and hugs, Vrabel mentioned above all: "Thank you" as his smiling gamers handed.
The final participant to go down the corridor was ball service Derrick Henry. When he turned a blind eye to his coach, he additionally beamed and began shouting, "We want more! We want more! "Before the couple lastly share their very own embrace.
Tennessee's methodical effort towards the reigning Super Bowl champions Patriots, and the very best ranked protection within the league, was one of many greatest surprises of the playoff opening day. Saturday. But the Titans clarified one factor later: they really feel like their finest soccer continues to be forward of them. They superior to face AFC seeded Baltimore within the division spherical.
"This is how we like it. We don't want anything easy. We want it to be grainy, we want it dirty, "mentioned Henry, who carried 34 instances for 182 yards and a landing.
Henry, whose 444 scrimmage ranks second within the Super Bowl period for a participant in his first three profession playoff video games, mentioned he was not stunned by enjoying towards a Patriots group who had motivation after shedding to the Titans within the common season final yr. It was a sport that might even have been quarterback Tom Brady's final sport with the Patriots. The present six-time champion's contract expires after the season.
“We knew what sort of sport it was going to be. We knew it was a hostile setting, "said Henry." We knew it was a unique sort of group within the playoffs. But we simply needed to play our sport. Don't fear in regards to the outdoors noise. Just do what we needed to do. "
The Titans additionally did the identical by successful seven of their 10 video games to advance to the playoffs: shredding factors with Henry and overlapping 8-Three document quarterback Ryan Tannehill since taking over the beginning function. of the primary spherical selection of 2015 Marcus Mariota.
Tannehill led the NFL within the common season with a profession passer help of 117.5, and likewise led the league with a median of 9.6 passing yards. He was solely Eight of 15 for 72 yards and an interception on Saturday night time, but remained balanced and stored the ball in movement – which restricted the variety of possessions for the Patriots.
Tennessee's 72 yards are the least a group has had in a playoff victory for the reason that 2009 Ravens (34) towards the Patriots in 2009.
Combined along with his time as a starter from Miami, Tannehill now has 5 wins towards New England. Including the playoffs, these are the second victories of any quarterback within the Belichick and Brady period, behind solely six of Peyton Manning.
"I’m so pleased with this group," said Tannehill. "It was ugly at instances offensive. But we continued to struggle and located a technique to make just a few video games on the finish."
The bulk of the night got here on the Patriots' last possession of the night – after All-Pro's 58 yard kick Brett Kern put the ball to 1 – when the cornerback and the previous Patriot Logan Ryan intercepted Brady and executed him for a 9-yard landing.
The protection additionally had a purpose line stand within the second quarter which restricted New England to a basket simply earlier than half time.
"This is unbelievable. But it’s not over," said tackle Taylor Lewan. "In the previous twenty years they’ve been the perfect soccer group. We have performed good soccer. We have taken care for the ball and our protection has intensified after they wanted it. The offense has intensified. And now we play the Ravens. "
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