Derrick Henry entered the day 223 yards short of 2,000 on the year. The Titans entered today needing a win to clinch the AFC South.
Both things happened today in Houston.
A 52 yard touchdown run fired up Henry’s day to kick off the second quarter. Henry ran through a couple of arm tackles, then hit the jets to inch closer to 2,000 yards on the year.
The run gave the Titans a 10-3 lead.
Tennessee’s defense had done a decent job to that point of bottling up Deshaun Watson, who didn’t have much help on the field today. Two of Watson’s early drives ended short of the endzone, but the Texans were able to add two field goals to make it at 10-6 game.
Following his big run, Henry broke another one to get the Titans down to the one, where A.J Brown and Ryan Tannehill connected for another score. Henry was to 113 yards rushing, and the Titans held a 17-6 lead.
Henry opened the third quarter with another touchdown, then Watson answered with one of his own. It was a deep strike to Brandin Cooks, which cut the Tennessee lead back down to nine points following a missed extra point.
But Henry was on a mission today — a mission to 2,000 yards. He ripped off another 45 yard gain to set the Titans up inside of the five, which is where Ryan Tannehill capped off the drive to give the Titans a 31-15 lead.
As good as Henry and the offensive line was, the defense was equally as bad. No pressure, no coverage led to an easy drive for Watson. He connected with Cooks again for six more points, but the two-point conversion was ruled short on review.
That review kept the score at 31-21 with 2:59 to play in the third quarter. However, Henry fumbled on the first play of the drive, breathing new life into the Texans. Watson went right back to work, once again finding Cooks, who was tackled at the one yard line going in. David Johnson punched it in from there, making things interesting as time was getting short.
Faced with a suddenly massive 3rd and 10, Tannehill converted. It was a pass to A.J. Brown, who caught it to keep possession. However, that was all the Titans would get on the possession. The Texans came up with a stop on 4th and 11, putting this game in serious doubt.
A David Long personal foul set Houston up in scoring range. Watson found Jordan Akins to enter the redzone, and hit Pharaoh Brown for the score. Just like that, the Titans were trailing 35-31 with ten minutes to play.
Arthur Smith went Henry-Henry to open the drive, to little success. Tannehill’s third down pass was caught by Brown — a huge play to keep possession. Derrick Henry hit 2,000 yards a few snaps later.
Tannehill made another tough third down throw to Brown to convert 3rd and 4, then Smith turned back to Henry. Henry appeared to have touchdown No. 3 on the day, but a (bad) holding call brought it back. That forced another gutsy throw from Tannehill on yet another key 3rd down, but Tannehill once again delivered — this time to Corey Davis.
A zone read keeper from Tannehill got the Titans to the one with 1:53 to play, but a questionable pre-snap penalty on Marshall Newhouse backed the line of scrimmage up to the six. But Tannehill once again kept it on the read-option keeper, taking the lead back with a touchdown run of his own.
The new score was 38-35, and the Titans had to trust their defense for 1:42, up three points.
The drive didn’t start well for Tennessee. Watson found David Johnson for 32 yards, then hit Keke Coutee for another chunk. The Texans were in field goal range and looking for more. However, three straight misfires from Watson brought on the kick team. Fairbairn was good from 51, bringing us to 38-38 with 18 seconds left.
And then A.J. Brown happened. Tannehill hit Brown on a deep post to flip the field and put the Titans in field goal range with ten seconds left. Henry ran for five more, then Sam Sloman came on for the win.
Sloman bounced it off of the upright, and it fell in. The Titans won — and took the AFC South division crown in the process for the first time since 2008.
Derrick Henry ran for 250 yards and two scores on the day.
Tennessee will face Baltimore next week in the first round of the playoffs as the AFC’s No. 4 seed.
AFC playoff picture:— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 4, 2021
Colts at Buffalo
Browns at Steelers
Ravens at Titans