Titans shock Ravens, 28-12, advance to AFC Championship
The Titans shocked the Ravens 28-12, after an incredible performance. Derrick Henry became the 1st running back in NFL history with 180 or more rushing yards in 3 consecutive games. Henry was dominant along with the majority of the defense. Big plays were the difference in the game and the Titans made more down the stretch.
Here are some key stats from the game: (via ESPN.com)
QB Ryan Tannehill: 7/14 88yds 2 TD 0 INT 1 rush TD
RB Derrick Henry: 30 CAR 195yds 66 LONG 1 Pass TD
WR Kalif Raymond: 1 REC 45yds 1 TD
TE Jonnu Smith: 2 REC 12yds 1 TD
CB Logan Ryan: 13 TOT 9 SOLO 1 TFL
S Kevin Byard: 11 TOT 7 SOLO 1 INT
DE Jurrell Casey: 4 TOT 4 SOLO 2 Sacks
Passing yards: 83
Rushing yards: 217
Total yards: 300
Total Plays: 53
3rd down efficiency: 7-13
Redzone efficiency: 3-3 Penalties: 5-20
QB Lamar Jackson: 31/59 365yds 1 TD 2 INT 20 CAR 143 rush yds 1 FUM
RB Mark Ingram II: 6 CAR 22yds
WR Marquise Brown: 7 REC 126yds
TE Hayden Hurst: 4 REC 53yds 1 TD
S Ear Thomas: 7 TOT 6 SOLO 1 Sack 1 TFL
Passing yards: 345
Rushing yards: 185
Total yards: 530
Total Plays: 92
3rd down efficiency: 11-18
Redzone efficiency: 1-4 Penalties: 7-56
Based on the stats, it certainly does not look like the Titans could have won this game. Ryan Tannehill ended the game with just 7 completions but Derrick Henry’s dominant play was enough to propel the Titans to a win. The Titans shocked the NFL for the second week in a row after they beat the Patriots last week and the Ravens this week.
For the second week in a row, Derrick Henry was the biggest reason of a Titans victory. Henry has been unstoppable this season and Saturday’s game was no different. In addition to his 195 rushing yards, Henry also threw a touchdown pass to Corey Davis. Ryan Tannehill has totaled just 170 yards in the Titans two playoff games while Derrick Henry has had 377. Henry had a few big runs including the Titans second longest run in playoff franchise history (66 yards).
While they gave up a lot of yards, the Titans defense bent but did not break. Heading into this game, the biggest challenge would be containing Lamar Jackson. Despite his 500+ total yards, the Titans did a pretty good job of containing Jackson. LB Kamalei Correa, who was traded to the Titans from the Ravens in 2018, stood out to me as a key player in Saturday’s game. Correa appeared to shadow Jackson throughout the game and he did an outstanding job of staying with him. Jurrell Casey also stood out to me. Casey had 2 sacks, a forced fumble, and pressured Jackson throughout the game. The Ravens Tight ends were not too big of a factor in the game as they often are, though WR Marquise Brown was dominant. The entire secondary played a great game but Brown was in the open field too often.
Big plays, both offensive and defensive, changed the course of the game on many occasions. The big plays started early with Kevin Byard intercepting a dropped pass on the Ravens first drive. On the ensuing possession, Jonnu Smith made one of the best catches of the season and gave the Titans the lead. At the end of the 1st quarter, the Titans were able to stop the Ravens on 4th and 1 and throw a 45 yard touchdown on the next play. The Titans needed just one play to score and it was a great route by Kalif Ryamond. On the first possession of the 2nd half, the Titans stopped the Ravens again, this time on 4th and inches. Jefferey SImmons and Kamalai Correa were able to break through the Ravens offensive line and prevent any gain from Lamar Jackson. Another turnover came after Jurrell Casey stripped the ball out of the hands of the Lamar Jackson and it was recovered by the Titans. The Titans then went in a 6 play 29 yard drive resulting in a Ryan Tannehill rushing touchdown. The last turnover of the game came on the Ravens next possession when S Kenny Vaccaro made a great read and picked off Lamar Jackson.
The turnover battle and red zone efficiency ultimately determined the outcome of the game. The turnover battle is always important but the fact that the Titans capitalized on the turnovers was even more important. The Titans were 3/3 in the red zone and scored touchdowns on each trip. The Titans did score some odd touchdowns such as Jonnu’s catch and Henry’s throw, but they scored nonetheless.
I am very pleased with how the Titans are playing, though I am concerned with the lack of a passing game. The Ravens are arguably the best team in the NFL and the Titans won convincingly, though Tannehill’s 7 completions concerns me. The run game was dominant and it has been unstoppable for weeks but the Titans must establish the passing game. AJ Brown has not been much of a factor in the playoffs though he made 2 very nice plays. Brown and other receivers have been unimportant as a result of few passing plays.
The Titans can truly beat any team in the NFL because of Derrick Henry and the solid play of the defense. This was a well-rounded performance and the Titans dominated the game. The Ravens had their chances but the Titans ultimately made the big plays.
The Titans will either face the Chiefs or Texans in the AFC championship. The Titans beat the Chiefs this season and they split against the Texans. No matter the result, the AFC Championship will be a great matchup and at this point, I like the Titans’ chances to advance to the Super Bowl.