FOXBOROUGH – Playing on Wild Card Weekend for the first time in a decade, the Patriots’ season came to a stunning end as the upstart Titans ran their way to the razor-thin 20-13 victory at Gillette Stadium.
The teams traded drives, leads and punts, but in the end Derrick Henry ran over, around and through the Patriots No. 1 defense to the tune of nearly 200 yards.
The Patriots got on the board first with an 8-play, 57-yard drive to a 36-yard field goal from Nick Folk for the 3-0 lead.
Tennessee answered in dominant fashion though, driving 75 yards in 12 plays – 49 yards on the ground by Henry. The drive concluded with a 12-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to tight end Anthony Firkser to give the visitors the 7-3 advantage.
One impressive drive led to another, as the Patriots drove 75 yards of their own in 10 plays to a Julian Edelman 5-yard jet sweep touchdown and a 10-7 score on the first play of the second quarter.
The home squad tacked on to its lead in the second quarter. Mohamed Sanu’s 24-yard punt return gave New England possession near midfield before driving 44 yards to a 21-yard Folk field goal and a 13-7 lead just before the two-minute warning of the first half.
Tennessee put together another run-heavy 75-yard drive – jumpstarted by a 29-yard Henry rush – on the way to a Henry 1-yard touchdown and the 14-13 lead at halftime.
Neither team was able to muster up much offense or any points in a scoreless second half until Logan Ryan’s 9-yard pick-six touchdown with less than 10 seconds to play.
That’s essentially how the game, the New England season and possibly much more than that ended.
Before turning the page to what will be a critical New England offense, here are some of the personnel highs and lows from the loss to ol’ friend Mike Vrabel’s Titans.