That didn’t just happen.
It was assumed the Titans had no chance of making the Divisional Round battle a close game against an old AFC Central foe and longtime postseason thorn. And it certainly wasn’t close, but the result was beyond anything we could have imagined.
It wasn’t enough to take down the defending Super Bowl champions on the road, but then they destroyed the #1 scoring offense, and once again on the road. The Ravens were supposed to have a clear path to the championship game, a game where they’d most likely be favored, and now they won’t even play in the AFC Championship Game!
This was a team that had not lost since late September, just to get handled with ease by a sixth seed that had started the season 2-4. Unbelievable.
And just when you think clinching one of the biggest upsets in NFL postseason history couldn’t get any more satisfying, just consider the Ravens had knocked out the Titans in the Divisional Round on two separate occasions where Tennessee was the NFL’s #1 seed. And now, with soaring expectations for a talented Baltimore offense, the Titans finally got their revenge and gave the Ravens their own medicine with a one and done knockout blow of their own.
All against the soon-to-be MVP himself, Lamar Jackson. All against a team that send an NFL record 12 players to the Pro Bowl.
As for the game, what can be said that hasn’t already been said (even this is a cliche writers like to use)? Ryan Tannehill didn’t hit 100 yards for the second straight postseason game, and yet his two touchdown passes were instrumental in the victory. Derrick Henry added another sensational playoff game to his resume and even threw a touchdown pass himself, Tim Tebow jump style! This was as complete of a team performance, with the offensive line keeping Tannehill/Henry clean and the defense making key stops to prevent any end zone connections.
And now the Titans are in the AFC Championship for the first time since 2002. It’s become clear this is a team of destiny, or at least a team that has far exceeded any expectations beyond our wildest dreams. They will face the winner of the Texans-Chiefs game next Sunday, and both teams should be familiar with the second half surge the boys have produced.
But let’s save that for later. Here’s three things we learned from one of the postseason greatest upsets.
Derrick Henry Is A Postseason God
We know Derrick Henry is a god among mortal men, but did you know he’s also a god in the postseason? Well, you probably did too, but that’s besides the point.
In four career postseason games Henry has 561 yards on 99 carries (5.67 yards per attempt) and two touchdowns. He crushed the Ravens defense to the tune of 30 carries for 195 yards (6.50 yards per carry), and has 377 yards on 64 carries (5.9 YPC) and a touchdown this postseason.
That’s our king.
The Defense Can Take On Anyone
A liability for the team for a stretch in 2019, the defense has really stepped up its game in the postseason, with 4 sacks, 4 takeaways, and 25 points allowed against the Patriots and Ravens combined. And no surprise, but it’s been the team’s biggest difference makers on the defense that have rewarded the Titans with this defensive success; Harold Landry, Jurrell Casey (who had 2 sacks on Lamar Jackson), Kevin Byard, Rashaan Evans, Logan Ryan, Jeffery Simmons, etc.
This was no small feat either. This was against the #1 scoring offense in the league, as well as the league’s most dominant overall team. Normally the Ravens would have zero trouble racking up points, but the Titans provided a gauntlet early on and never allowed Baltimore to get in the end zone until it was far too late.
Making this even sweeter is defensive coordinator Dean Pees did this against the very same team he held the same position for. Props to him and Mike Vrabel for calling a hell of a defensive game.
Offensive Line Had One Hell Of A Performance
Similar to the defense, the offensive line had its share of massive lows this season, but when they were needed most they delivered the goods against a pass rush that was outstanding at causing pressure in 2019.
Tannehill was only sacked once and was hit four times. It was a great display for guys like Taylor Lewan and Rodger Saffold, who have really become the glue behind the recent turnaround of the Titans’ pass protection. And of course let’s not forget the run blocking they’ve provided for King Henry, that’s quite important as well.
The Ravens don’t have the most recognizable defensive talent up front, but defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale was getting the most out of what he had and they thrived in the second half of the season. That was a moot point against Tennessee, who was ready for the challenge and bulldozed their way past Baltimore.
With that said, give us what you learned from the game in the comment section below!