FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Tennessee Titans talked all week about how they wished a chance to point out they might hold with the AFC elite. On Saturday evening, we discovered they don’t seem to be there but.
The New England Patriots had been the higher workforce in each division — teaching, offense and protection — of their 35-14 win. Tennessee successful its first playoff recreation for the reason that 2003 season was a great takeaway from the season, however there nonetheless stays a large hole between it and the AFC elite. The Titans may not be as near being true contenders as that they had hoped.
“Hopefully individuals use this as motivation,” quarterback Marcus Mariota mentioned. “Yeah, it is good to get within the playoffs, however you do not play to only get in, particularly coming within the divisional playoff and shedding the best way we did.”
New England shut down Tennessee after the Titans scored the primary landing of the sport. Tom Brady was classic, choosing aside the holes within the Titans’ protection. A entrance seven that wanted to step up and make Brady uncomfortable was extraordinarily disappointing, barely touching him and failing to register a sack.
On a day when a number of Titans wanted to play their greatest soccer ever to drag an upset, none of them — outdoors of rookie Corey Davis, who scored his first two profession touchdowns — performed significantly nicely. The ultimate end result was a membership that was outclassed by the Patriots.
It is a bittersweet finish to the season for the Titans. They made playoff progress, however there may be an obvious want for change in offensive scheme if this workforce ever hopes to be a championship contender.
“As an offense, I will be the primary one to say that we underachieved this yr,” left deal with Taylor Lewan mentioned. “To make it this far, that is extraordinarily promising, however we will not try this once more within the 2018 season. We’ve got the firepower to do it. It is only a matter of getting it achieved.”
The Titans believed Mariota would give them an opportunity to shock the world, however his teammates and coaches did not do a ton to assist him out. Plus, Mariota lacked the juice he displayed final week in Kansas Metropolis — through the Titans’ wild-card win over the Chiefs — to make splash performs.
Rookie wideout Taywan Taylor dropped two passes that would have led to factors and momentum to finish the primary half. Coach Mike Mularkey fully botched the clock administration on the finish of the primary half, costing the Titans potential factors.
As soon as seen because the Titans’ largest power, Tennessee’s offensive line let the workforce down on Saturday — and too many instances all through the season. Mariota was sacked a career-high eight instances at Gillette Stadium. Sure, shedding deal with Jack Conklin to damage in opposition to the Pats damage, however that sack complete is unacceptable for this bunch. It is a group that can have to be upgraded within the offseason.
Mularkey had galvanized the Titans late within the season, however he and offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie additionally have to be held accountable for the workforce’s offensive struggles. These points have been obvious all season, they usually hit with a significant thud Saturday evening. Tennessee had simply 267 complete yards of offense, with solely 99 coming after halftime and 80 of these coming in a garbage-time remaining landing drive.
From the wild-card spherical by Tremendous Bowl LII in Minneapolis, ESPN.com has the playoffs coated.
Derrick Henry seemed much more just like the tiptoeing working again we noticed in Week 17 versus the Jacksonville Jaguars than the downhill bruiser who tantalized the NFL after speeding for 156 yards in opposition to the Chiefs. He completed with 12 carries for 28 yards, which was 9 yards lower than Mariota’s speeding complete. That will not reduce it going ahead. The Patriots schemed to take Henry away, and it labored.
Nearly all the things New England did Saturday labored, with little counter from Tennessee.
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels outschemed Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau by slowly chipping away on the Titans’ move protection with a mixture of Dion Lewis and James White on screens and sweeps, Rob Gronkowski rummaging by the center and Danny Amendola benefiting from open shallow zones.
Sure, the Titans had been victims of 1 poor name and one other shaky-at-best name by the officers through the first half. That wasn’t the explanation they bought beat, nevertheless. This blowout loss was as a result of they don’t seem to be but within the Patriots’ league.
“We’ve got plenty of areas to enhance,” Mariota mentioned. “All through this complete season, we did not play an entire recreation of soccer.”
Subsequent Sunday evening, we’ll seemingly watch New England host the Pittsburgh Steelers within the AFC Championship Recreation for second consecutive season. The Titans should notice that established order will not carry them to interrupt up that energy duo. The hole is larger than the Titans might need hoped, however it’s not too massive to the place it may’t ultimately shut.