Titans 20, Patriots 13: 10 thoughts from stunning end to season

By WEEI 93.7

FOXBOROUGH — Is that how Tom Brady will go out?

Playing on Wild Card Weekend for the first time since 2009, the Patriots saw the Titans come into Gillette Stadium and beat them, 20-13, in what was a great defensive football game that came down to the very end. Ultimately, the Patriots offense could not come through in the second half.

Despite decent field position for the on a few drives in the second half, they could not get it done. The offense certainly had its chances for more points in both halves and is something that it will be thinking out all offseason.

Brady is now a free agent, which means this very well could have been his last game at Gillette Stadium as a member of the Patriots.

Here are 10 quick thoughts on the game.

1. All year long people were saying the season would be decided by the offense, and that is exactly what happened Saturday. Against an average Titans defense, the Patriots scored just 13 points. Brady had a solid game, but just didn't have anyone else step up in the passing game. Brady finished 20-for-36 with 209 yards and a pick-6 at the end, which was essentially meaningless. Ultimately, this was the story of the entire season -- Brady not having a great supporting cast.

2. The Patriots defense did its job, holding the Titans offense to just 20 points. The defense even forced a turnover -- a Ryan Tannehill interception -- but the offense could not capitalize. While Derrick Henry was a beast in the first half, finishing with 128 total yards in the opening 30 minutes, the Patriots did a much better job against him in the second half. Ultimately, the game came down to the Patriots offense not getting it done.

3. Henry was incredible. The power back finished the game with 34 carries 182 yards and a touchdown, as well as a catch for 22 yards. The Patriots did all the could to stop him and even that wasn't enough on some plays. It's obvious how he led the NFL in rushing this season.

4. The Patriots made a number of mistakes in the game, including in the second half when they couldn't take advantage of a Duron Harmon interception. Julian Edelman dropped a pass that would have been a decent-sized gain, and a 38-yard completion to Benjamin Watson was taken away for an illegal-man downfield penalty. New England certainly had opportunities to win the game, it just could not take advantage of them.

5. Late the first half, the Patriots had first-and-goal from the 1-yard line, but had to settle for a field goal. The field goal extended the lead to 13-7, but it was a win for the Tennessee defense. Its offense went right down the field and scored on the next possession to take a 14-13 lead going into the half.

6. There were some play calls worth questioning by Josh McDaniels. Certainly at the end of the first half and not putting the ball in Brady’s hands, but also another sequence earlier in the half. It was third-and-1 and a fullback dive with Elandon Roberts was called. He was stopped short and the Patriots punted.

7. Logan Ryan dropped a would be pick-6 at the end of the first half on a misfire by Brady. Ryan would have got it at around the Patriots’ 40-yard line and there was nobody in front of him. Instead, Brady’s Hail Mary attempt fell incomplete and Tennessee entered the locker room with a 1-point lead.

8. While Henry was tremendous, the Patriots secondary did a great job in defending the Titans’ best receivers and did not allow any big plays. A.J. Brown and Corey Davis combined for one catch and four yards. Stephon Gilmore had a lot to do with that, which was a big bounce back from last week against Miami.

9. Patrick Chung was injured in the first quarter and his loss was immediately felt. On the very next play, Tannehill threw to tight end Anthony Firkser with Terrence Brooks, Chung’s replacement in coverage. This continued the Patriots’ trend of struggling against tight ends this season. 

10. The Titans will now take on the Ravens next weekend in Baltimore, while the Chiefs will host the Texans.

Henry had 128 total yards in the first half, the second-most against the Patriots in a postseason game in the Bill Belichick era.