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Titans hold on to beat the Ravens 23-20, Improve to 5-3

Big win.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t a must win by any means, but if the Titans wanted a piece of the playoffs this year, this was a game they needed to go get. The did just that. Here’s how it happened.

The Titans and Ravens got this one going by trading field goals — shocking I know. Tennessee hit a couple of big plays to Rishard Matthews and Adoree’ Jackson. A third down sack stopped the drive in its tracks, though.

The defense appeared to start well, but a fake punt kept the Ravens’ drive going. A facemask penalty got them to the 10 yard line, where their drive stalled once again. It was 3-3 midway through the first quarter.

Joe Flacco tried pushing the ball down the field early, but it bit him. Logan Ryan made a great play — coming off of his man to tip a deep ball. Kevin Byard capitalized, grabbing the pick.

Mariota came out and hit Corey Davis for a chunk, then hit Matthews again for a touchdown. It was an unbelievably easy drive for the Titans to take a 10-3 lead.

The Titans received a gift from the Ravens in the form of a shanked punt, which set up Tennessee in the redzone to start their last drive before halftime. The Titans fed Derrick Henry, who eventually punched it into the endzone. That gave the Titans a 16-6 lead.

Flacco came out of halftime and immediately threw another pick to Kevin Byard. It was Byard’s 2nd pick of the game and 6th on the season. However, a Rishard Matthews drop ended that chance to extend the lead for the Titans.

The teams traded punts until the Ravens put something together late in the 3rd quarter. Flacco worked the middle of the field, getting the redzone with a chance to make it a one score game. However, the Titans held on a key 4th and inches around the 10 yard line.

Tennessee picked up their 1st 1st down of the half on the following drive. They were pretty conservative, until they let Mariota take a shot on a deep out to the right. It was picked off and the Ravens were right back in this one.

This time, Baltimore took advantage. Flacco hit Buck Allen for the score to bring the Ravens to within three.

The Titans got the ball back and got a little more aggressive. After a first down pickup from Derrick Henry, Mariota hit Delanie Walker for 25 yards down the seam. DeMarco Murray then took a swing pass for 15 more. Suddenly, the Titans were back in the redzone with under five minutes to play.

Terry Robiskie stayed aggressive, calling the old Anthony Fasano reverse play action play. Eric Decker was wide open and Mariota hit him to seal this one. It was a 23-13 lead for the Titans.

Baltimore put together one more scoring drive to bring them back to within three, but all that did was cover the spread. The Titans would hang on, improving to 5-3 in the process.

They have a good chance to get to 6-3 next week at home against a bad Bengals team, too.