The Titans showed some grit early, but eventually, the New England Patriots took control and overpowered Tennessee for a 35-14 victory at Gillette Stadium Saturday night in the AFC Divisional Playoffs.
The Titans took a 7-0 lead and hung with the Patriots for much of the first half, but by game’s end, that was a distant memory. And the end result was a bad one at that for the Titans.
“(I’m) embarrassed. You don’t play to come and lose in the divisional playoff. You play to go win the whole thing, and we didn’t execute, didn’t make plays and they did,” Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota said. “Yeah, it’s nice to be in the playoffs, but you don’t play just to get in.”
Mariota was 22 of 37 for 254 yards and two scores, but the Titans just did not perform consistently enough in any phase to hold their own for very long against the Patriots. Mariota also played with a quad injury suffered in the first quarter, which likely played a role in him being sacked eight times.
The Titans’ offense eventually stalled and – with the help of a couple of questionable calls in the second quarter – New England took control of the game and never looked back scoring 35 unanswered points in rolling up 31 first downs and cruising into the AFC Championship Game.
Tennessee’s offense looked good in the first quarter, as it went 95 yards in 11 plays to get on the scoreboard first. Marcus Mariota directed the march with both his arm and his legs, capping it by threading the needle to Corey Davis for a 15-yard touchdown early in the game.
From there, though, it was all Tom Brady and the Patriots who dominated the contest, as expected. Brady scorched the Titans for 337 yards and three touchdown passes on 35 of 53 passes.