When two groups scuffle on the sphere earlier than the sport even begins and each head coaches seem to nonetheless be at odds after the ultimate whistle, it’s fairly clear the competition was one thing extra than simply one other regular-season N.F.L. recreation. Indeed, when the Tennessee Titans defeated the Baltimore Ravens, 30-24, in time beyond regulation Sunday, the end result was a weighty, emotional elevate for the struggling Titans and their sledgehammer running back, Derrick Henry, who delivered the ultimate intestine punch to the reeling Ravens.
One staff left the sphere buoyant, the opposite rattled and questioning itself.
It was a rematch of the A.F.C. divisional spherical playoff recreation from January, when Tennessee upset Baltimore to finish the Ravens’ run as a prime Super Bowl contender. In the wake of Sunday’s loss, it isn’t a stretch to say the Ravens, who now have a 6-4 document, have but to recuperate from that playoff defeat. Adding to Baltimore’s letdown was the beautiful climax to Sunday’s defeat: Henry ran over a number of members of the Ravens’ vaunted protection on his method to an authoritative, 29-yard landing that left the Titans celebrating within the Baltimore finish zone.
For the Titans (7-3), Sunday’s come-from-behind victory righted, no less than quickly, a season that started with a 5-0 begin and was adopted by three losses within the subsequent 4 video games. In that interval, the Titans had 24 members of their group, together with a number of gamers, check optimistic for the coronavirus, which resulted in two postponed video games and $350,000 in fines from the N.F.L. for violating virus protocols.
“We said this all week: We have to start doing things that will break us away from the pack,” Titans Coach Mike Vrabel mentioned. “Today was a great team win. Thankful to be their football coach.”
Asked if the victory re-established Tennessee, which misplaced to the Kansas City Chiefs in final season’s A.F.C. championship game, as a gritty contender in a convention with a number of high-performing groups, Vrabel mentioned: “I think so. I hope so. I know that the players believe that and can see that.”
The Ravens, losers in three of their 4 video games after an October bye week, have been questioning what had gone fallacious after a 5-1 begin to the season.
“We just can’t put 60 minutes together as a team,” mentioned defensive finish Derek Wolfe, who famous that the Ravens led, 21-10, halfway by way of the third quarter. “We’ve just got to play better in the fourth quarter.”
Baltimore’s mantra throughout final week’s preparation was “just finish,” a little bit of motivation that didn’t enhance the staff’s sluggish fourth-quarter play Sunday. Things is not going to get any simpler for Baltimore. They will quickly journey to Pittsburgh for a Thanksgiving Day recreation towards the Steelers, who beat the Ravens, 28-24, in Baltimore earlier this month.
Before kickoff on Sunday, Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler stood at midfield on the Ravens’ emblem at M&T Bank Stadium — together with most of his teammates — and shouted on the Baltimore sideline. Ravens Coach John Harbaugh walked out to confront Butler, and a jumble of gamers from each groups gathered as Harbaugh and Vrabel jawed at one another by way of face masks mandated by the league in the course of the coronavirus pandemic.
After the sport, Vrabel at first celebrated with a few of his gamers, then approached Harbaugh, who appeared to rebuff Vrabel’s try at a handshake or conventional postgame salutation. Television replays of the scene confirmed a quick interchange on the sphere and didn’t reveal the coaches shaking arms, though Vrabel denied afterward that Harbaugh had declined to accomplish that.
“No, absolutely not,” Vrabel mentioned. “I have a lot of respect for John. We shook hands.”
Meeting with reporters after the sport, Harbaugh lamented his staff’s late-game collapse.
“We didn’t tackle very well at the end of the game — that’s the difference in the game,” he mentioned.
The game-winning run by Henry was little doubt contemporary on Harbaugh’s thoughts. With the Titans showing prepared to arrange an time beyond regulation field-goal try by Stephen Gostkowski, Henry, who was held to 44 dashing yards within the first three quarters, ran off left deal with and broke two arm tackles at a crowded line of scrimmage. He then took a bounce step to his proper and outsprinted the remaining Ravens to the top zone.
“He’s the best running back in the league,” mentioned Wolfe, who grasped at Henry’s decrease legs on the clinching landing run. “That’s what he does.”
Vrabel mentioned he had sensed that his staff was prepared to end off the Ravens, who gained the coin toss after the fourth quarter and had the primary possession of time beyond regulation, however punted after three fruitless performs.
“You could tell as the game went on that we were wearing on them,” Vrabel mentioned. “It was tough sledding at first today, but looking at their body language on the sideline and on the field, I thought we were going to be able to break through.”
Though the Titans took a 7-0 lead on their opening drive, the Ravens chipped away with two Justin Tucker area objectives and stormed forward, 14-7, on a 2-yard landing run by J.Okay. Dobbins and a profitable 2-point conversion. A exact, deft 31-yard landing cross from Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson to tight finish Mark Andrews appeared to have the Ravens nicely positioned, however they didn’t rating one other landing within the recreation, regardless of three different drives contained in the Tennessee 20-yard line.
In the closing moments of the fourth quarter, Baltimore superior to the Titans’ 10-yard line, however two Jackson passes fell incomplete and Tucker despatched the sport to time beyond regulation with a 29-yard area objective. Jackson, who has spent most of this season making an attempt to recapture the magic and manufacturing of the 2019 season, when he gained the N.F.L.’s Most Valuable Player Award, accomplished 17 of 29 passes for less than 186 yards with one interception to complement his one landing cross.
His counterpart for Tennessee, Ryan Tannehill, accomplished 22 of 31 passes for 259 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Asked in regards to the Ravens’ struggles close to the Titans’ objective line, Harbaugh shrugged and mentioned, “We’re just not getting it done.” His response was related when requested how his staff might regain its momentum towards a playoff berth.
“I don’t know, we just have to win as many games as we can,” Harbaugh mentioned.
The Ravens Looked to Bounce Back. Then Derrick Henry Showed Up. The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ Pehal News.