It was an... uncomfortable night at Nissan Stadium. After trailing for most of the day and dealing with multiple injuries, the Titans found a way to win and keep their season alive. Here’s how it happened.
Derrick Henry finds the endzone once again
After a Redskins’ field goal to open the game, the Titans got the football and went right back to work on the ground. It was Derrick Henry doing the bulk of the work, with a couple of Marcus Mariota passes to Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor sprinkled in. Tennessee made it look easy as Henry stretched out to claim the Titans’ first lead of the day, 6-3. The extra point was missed by Ryan Succop.
Redskins answer with 17 play touchdown drive
Washington — behind the arms and legs of Josh Johnson — took control of this game in the second quarter. It was a near 11 minute drive, which featured Adrian Peterson ripping off chunk after chunk. Johnson finished off the drive by finding Michael Floyd for the score.
Marcus Mariota exits with injury
The Titans had a chance to answer before halftime following that drive and were making some headway. Marcus Mariota found a little bit of a groove, completing a couple of out routes to bring the Titans near the redzone.
The Redskins ended that by dialing up a blitz, which got home and put Mariota on the ground. Mariota appeared to land on his elbow, the same elbow that has given him fits all year. He exited the game during the timeout and Blaine Gabbert came on in relief.
Succop added the field goal to make it a 10-9 game at half. Mariota remained in the locker room with what the Titans called a stinger.
Field goals for everyone
After trading possessions, Johnson put another drive together for the Redskins. He picked up a couple of third down conversions, then hit a big play over the middle to Jamison Crowder. The defense bent, but they didn’t break. Washington added a field goal to make it a 13-9 game.
Gabbert delivered a nice throw down the seam to MyCole Pruitt, then (somehow) completed a strike to Darius Jennings that probably should have been picked off. Derrick Henry remained bottled up, but was able to find daylight for an 11 yard run on this drive.
The Titans were suddenly moving, which was a step in the right direction. Gabbert couldn’t cap the drive with six, but Succop added three more to make it a 13-12 game.
Washington came right back with more Adrian Peterson, who the Titans once again couldn’t stop. Josh Johnson kept making enough plays to keep the chains moving, until they hit the redzone. Their drive stalled again, but the Redskins made it a 16-12 lead with another field goal.
The Titans were going to have to find the endzone to win this one — and they did.
Gabbert completed a long pass play to start the drive to Taywan Taylor, who got behind a couple of defenders to get out to midfield. Blaine came back with a near miss on a 40 yard strike to Pruitt, who couldn’t make the catch.
Derrick Henry finally got rolling on this drive, picking up five, then six yards. Henry then ripped off a long one to get down to the two yard line. Matt LaFleur dialed up play action from there, which Gabbert completed to Pruitt for the score.
Just like that, the Titans led 19-16.
Johnson makes his first mistake
Jurrell Casey went down to start the drive and could be seen holding his knee. If the Titans were going to get a stop to win this, they were going to have to do it without Casey, who is still the Titans’ most important defensive player. To make matters worse, Rashaan Evans joined him on the sidelines.
The Redskins kept hammering away with Peterson and attacking short over the middle with Crowder. They appeared to be ready to drive again, until Johnson made his first mistake. He overthrew Josh Doctson and Kevin Byard made him pay.
Washington got one final chance, but Malcolm Butler housed a pick six to finish this one off.
The Titans found a way tonight, eerily similar to the Jets game a few weeks back. Tennessee now needs help from Baltimore, who will play the Chargers tonight. Above all else, they have to find a way to beat Andrew Luck and the Colts next weekend at home.
Of course, all eyes are now on the injury situations of Marcus Mariota and Jurrell Casey.