EditorsNote: Adds quotes; changes “opener” to “first” quarter in graf 13; corrects to Henry accounting for every yard in a drive in last graf; other minor edits
Derrick Henry rushed for a franchise-playoff-record 182 yards and scored a touchdown to lead the Tennessee Titans to a 20-13 victory over the New England Patriots in an AFC wild-card game on Saturday night at Foxborough, Mass.
Henry carried 34 times and also had a key reception on his 26th birthday, as the sixth-seeded Titans stunned the third-seeded Patriots in what could turn out to be Tom Brady’s final game with New England. Henry broke the club mark set by Eddie George, who had 162 in the divisional round after the 1999 season versus the Indianapolis Colts.
“We were just locked in,” Henry said afterward on the CBS broadcast. “We wanted it. I think that was our mindset, coming in here and doing what we need to do in all three phases and stay locked in no matter what happens in the game.”
Logan Ryan tacked on a 9-yard interception return for a score with nine seconds left for the Titans, as head coach Mike Vrabel, a former New England player, got the better of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
Tennessee will visit the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens on Saturday in the divisional round.
The 42-year-old Brady, who is scheduled to be a free agent, completed 20 of 37 passes for 209 yards and the interception. Julian Edelman rushed for a score for New England’s only touchdown.
Brady told reporters afterward it’s “unlikely” he will retire, but he declined to speculate on the future.
Tennessee executed a key goal-line stand late in the second quarter and held New England scoreless in the second half. Rashaan Evans had three tackles for loss among his 10 stops for the Titans.
“They made some key plays in critical situations, in the red area on third down that probably were the difference in the game,” Belichick told reporters afterward.
Tennessee’s Ryan Tannehill finished 8-of-15 passing for 72 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
New England trailed 14-13 when Brady took over at his own 1-yard line with 15 seconds left after a 58-yard punt by the Titans’ Brett Kern was downed just shy of the goal line. Brady’s last pass was deflected by Tramaine Brock and grabbed by Ryan, who returned it for the score.
Henry had 128 total yards (106 rushing, 22 receiving) in the first half as the Titans held a 14-13 lead.
Henry rushed for 49 yards on seven carries on Tennessee’s first possession to set up Tannehill’s 12-yard scoring pass to Anthony Firkser, giving the Titans a 7-3 advantage with 5:39 left in the first quarter.
New England answered on the opening play of the second quarter as Edelman came in motion from the left, took a handoff from Brady and cruised to the right for a 5-yard scoring run.
The Patriots reached the 1-yard line later in the quarter and seemed destined to take a 10-point lead. But Sony Michel was stopped for a 1-yard loss, Rex Burkhead gained 1 and Michel was stuffed for a loss of 2. New England settled for Nick Folk’s 21-yard field goal and a 13-7 lead with 2:16 until the half.
Henry then accounted for every yard in a seven-play, 75-yard drive as the Titans moved back ahead. Henry, who rushed for 53 yards on the excursion, took a screen pass 22 yards to the 1 and scored on the next play with 35 seconds left.
—Field Level Media