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What we learned: Tennessee Titans stun Baltimore Ravens in NFL Playoffs

Cincinnati Enquirer logo Cincinnati Enquirer 1/12/2020 Tyler Dragon, Cincinnati Enquirer
a group of football players playing a football game: Jan 11, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs with the ball in the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens in a AFC Divisional Round playoff football game at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports © Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports Jan 11, 2020; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs with the ball in the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens in a AFC Divisional Round playoff football game at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Did rust affect the Baltimore Ravens?

Many of Baltimore’s key players sat out the team’s Week 17 game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. Meaning, Lamar Jackson, Earl Thomas and company hadn’t suited up since before Christmas ... and it showed on Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium.

The Titans got off to a fast start. 

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Tennessee did exactly what they wanted to do in the first quarter. The Titans struck first when they scored following safety Kevin Byard’s interception. Tennessee capitalized off the turnover when wide receiver Jonnu Smith caught a circus 12-yard TD catch.

The Titans followed their opening touchdown by scoring on their very next possession. Wide receiver Kalif Raymond caught a 45-yard bomb from quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Raymond ran a nice route that left Baltimore cornerback Marlon Humphrey mystified.

Tennessee quickly got out to a 14-0 lead. The Ravens hit two field goals to end the half to go into the locker room at 14-6.

The Titans scored 14 unanswered points to begin the second half to break the playoff tilt wide open. Baltimore didn’t score a touchdown until the fourth quarter when it was too late.

Here’s what we learned from the 28-12 Tennessee Titans win: 

Derrick Henry is the MVP of the playoffs thus far

The bruising running back rumbled up the middle for a 66-yard run and was finally brought to the ground by Ravens CB Marcus Peters. Three plays later Henry lined up in a wildcat formation and threw a touchdown pass to Titans wideout Corey Davis to extend the team's lead to 21-6. 

Henry was a man amongst boys running the football. He ran over and dragged Baltimore defenders for much of the night.

The Titans running back ran for 195 yards on 30 carries. Henry’s compiled 377 rushing yards already in these playoffs. The 6-foot-3, 247-pound downhill runner is averaging nearly six yards a carry in the postseason. 

Henry has been the best player in the playoffs. He's the first player in NFL history to have two games of over 175 rushing yards in the same postseason. 

Tennessee dominated battle in the trenches

Tennessee had two crucial fourth-down stops. One in the first half when they stopped Lamar Jackson for no gain and another in the third quarter when the club bottled up the Ravens QB on a sneak.

The Titans’ defensive line manhandled Baltimore’s O-line. They created a consistent push upfront and often broke free from blocks. Jackson had to be a magician just to create space.

Jackson ran for 143 yards.

Baltimore’s running backs, Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards, combined for 42 rushing yards.

Tennessee out executed Baltimore and took the AFC’s No. 1 seed out of its run-oriented game plan. Jackson threw a career-high 59 passes. The presumptive MVP had 508 total yards. 

The Titans’ offensive line had their own domination tour in Baltimore.

Tennessee’s O-line engulfed the Ravens defensive line. The Titans’ offensive line created a freeway for running back Derrick Henry to travel through.

Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill had an easy night in the office. Tannehill had a meager 88 passing yards on just 14 pass attempts. He didn’t need to do much at all.

Ravens 0-4 on fourth down and commit three turnovers

Baltimore had the best fourth down conversion percentage (70.8) in the NFL during the regular season. John Harbaugh was lauded for his aggressive style through 17 weeks. Unfortunately for Harbaugh, his team was disastrous on fourth down on Sunday. The Ravens turned the ball over on downs four times in the loss, including two times in the red zone.

The Ravens’ regular season success on fourth down didn’t translate at all in the loss.

Furthermore, the Titans forced three turnovers. Lamar Jackson was intercepted twice and the QB fumbled once.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: What we learned: Tennessee Titans stun Baltimore Ravens in NFL Playoffs

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