Fast starts aren’t something the Titans typically do, but that’s exactly what they did on Sunday against the Patriots. Darius Jennings got the ball rolling with a near 60 yard return, setting the Titans up with a golden opportunity to take control of this game early.
Marcus Mariota did just that, starting hot and finding Corey Davis to move the sticks. Mariota found Jonnu Smith for the score, getting Tennessee out front with a 7-0 lead.
The Patriots answered with a field goal, but Marcus Mariota answered that with six more points. It was a rainbow of a throw to Corey Davis, who beat Stephon Gilmore on a corner route to haul in the touchdown.
Just like that, it was a 17-3 lead for the Titans.
Finally, Tom Brady and the Patriots answered. New England opened the second quarter with a James Develin touchdown to narrow the Titans’ lead to seven.
It felt like momentum was shifting, but Dean Pees’ defense stood tall and forced a punt.
Marcus Mariota found Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis on the following drive, getting the Titans in position to score once again. Derrick Henry was able to punch it in on the goal line to get the Titans’ lead back to 14.
Brady was unable to answer before half, keeping Tennessee’s lead at 24-10 at halftime.
The Titans added a field goal in the third quarter and kept the Patriots off the board. They took that 17 point lead into the fourth quarter.
Brady and Belichick struggled to get anything going offensively, and opted to go for it on fourth down to open the first quarter. The Titans stood tall once again, getting the ball back with a 17 point advantage.
Tennessee began to bleed the clock in the fourth quarter. With under ten minutes to play, the Titans began their drive to put this one away. Derrick Henry took a snap out of the wildcat formation from the ten, punching it in for another Titans’ score.
That extended Tennessee’s lead to 34-10, essentially putting this one on ice.
With this unexpected result, the Titans are now in the thick of the division and wildcard race. After a 3-4 start, the Titans now sit at 5-4. The schedule softens up after this one considerably, with the Colts, Texans, Jets and Jaguars up next. If the Titans are going to make a playoff push, the time is now.