Before their game against the Houston Texans, the Tennessee Titans clinched a playoff spot due to the Miami Dolphins’ loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Now they had to go out and win the AFC South Division by defeating the Texans to secure a home playoff game for this weekend. Just like their first game back in Week 5, it went right down to the wire and a 37-yard field goal from Sam Sloman in the final seconds that bounced off the inside of the goalpost to clear the crossbar for the 41-38 victory for Tennessee to win the division for the first time in 12 seasons.
Derrick Henry became the 4th NFL player with 200 or more yards rushing in five games in a season as he gained 250 yards rushing on 34 carries for two touchdowns against Houston.
Henry’s 250 yards rushing made him the 8th player with 2,000 or more yards rushing in a season with 2,027 yards rushing on 378 carries for 17 touchdowns. Chris Johnson ran for 2,0006 yards for the Titans in 2009. Adrian Peterson was the last running back to run for more than 2,000 yards when he ran for 2,097 yards in 2012.
He also led the league in rushing yards for the second season in a row. Ladanian Tomlinson was the last player to lead the league in rushing yards in consecutive seasons when he achieved it in 2006 and 2007.
The Titans’ defense bent but did not break as they held the Texans to three field goals by Ka’imi Fairbairn in the 1st Half.
Henry had 131 yards rushing on 12 carries in the 1st Half as he had a 52-yard touchdown run in the early part of the 2nd Quarter. Plus, Ryan Tannehill completed seven of his 10 passes including a 4-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Brown as they built a 17-9 lead at halftime.
In the 2nd Half, the Titans’ defense broke as they allowed 29 points with Deshaun Watson throwing for three touchdowns with his wide receiver Brandin Cooks hauling in 11 receptions for 166 yards for two touchdowns.
Tennessee led throughout the game until Watson’s 7-yard touchdown pass to Pharoah Brown gave Houston a 35-31 lead. The Titans regained the lead on the following possession with Tannehill’s 5-yard touchdown run, making the score 38-35. But Watson drove the Tecans down the field and got a 51-yard field goal from Fairbairn, his fourth of the game, tying the game at 38-38 with 18 seconds left. On the very next play, Tannehill completed a 52-yard pass over the middle to wide receiver A.J. Brown. That set up Sloman, who is the backup kicker for Stephen Gostkowski who is on COVID-19 reserve list, to kick the 41-38 game winner and division clinching field goal for the Titans.
I’ve never had an experience like today,” A.J. Brown said in a release. “It was a crazy ending. I think our kicker called bank.”
“I thought Sam Sloman was a scout at first when I saw him at practice this week. I didn’t know who he was,” Kevin Byard said in a release. “It’s incredible what he did.The doink almost gave me an ulcer on the sideline. God works in mysterious ways.”
The Titans will host their first playoff game in 12 seasons and ironically, the Baltimore Ravens, the same team they will play on Sunday is the same team they played 12 seasons ago. The two teams meet again this Sunday in the same round at Nissan Stadium with kickoff time scheduled for 12:05 p.m.
The Ravens won the playoff game 12 seasons ago but the Titans have won their last two games against them including last season’s AFC Divisional playoff game at Baltimore.