BALTIMORE (AP) — The Tennessee Titans fear no one. Not even the NFL’s best team.
Why should they with Derrick Henry running — and even throwing — the ball, and a big-play defence making clutch stops and turnovers?
One week after dominating defending Super Bowl champion New England, Henry gained 195 yards rushing and threw a 3-yard touchdown pass in a 28-12 victory over the Ravens. Baltimore (14-3) had won its past 12 games, with quarterback Lamar Jackson setting records and looking unstoppable.
On Saturday night, it was Henry who was unstoppable.
Plus, Tennessee’s defence had two interceptions of Jackson, who also lost a fumble, and the Titans (11-7) twice stopped Baltimore on fourth-and-1.
Henry’s jump-pass to Corey Davis displayed yet another of his skills. He has completed three throws in four attempts in his career.
But it’s the way he plows over and through opponents that makes Henry — and the Titans — dangerous. Next week, they will go after their second Super Bowl trip and first since the 2000 season, either at Kansas City or Houston. The last sixth seed to get to the big game was Green Bay in the 2010 season the Packers won it all.
Tennessee scored all of its points off takeaways or fourth-down stops.
Ryan Tannehill’s throws to Jonnu Smith and Kalif Raymond, who missed the last two games in concussion protocol, gave Tennessee a 14-point edge.
Tennessee’s first score came after tight end Mark Andrews, the Ravens’ top receiver this season, mistimed his leap and had Jackson’s pass deflect into the air. Safety Kevin Byard was there to pick it off.
Byard scooted 31 yards down the left side, and with a 15-yard personal foul penalty on Jackson added, the Titans were at the Baltimore 35. The hushed crowd then saw five straight Titans runs to the 4 before Earl Thomas came free untouched for an 8-yard sack.
Tennessee simply shrugged and Smith made a juggling catch in the left corner of the end zone. Replay determined he landed barely in bounds for a 7-0 lead.
A fourth-down stop with less than a yard to go — the first time in nine tries all season the Ravens failed on fourth-and-1 — set up Tennessee’s next touchdown. Tannehill made it 14-0 with his gorgeous long pass that floated over Raymond’s shoulder into his arms behind All-Pro defensive back Marcus Peters. The folks in the stands dressed in purple, who hadn’t seen their team in such a deep hole since the end of September, had gone silent.
49ERS 27, VIKINGS 10
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Jimmy Garoppolo threw a TD pass on his opening drive as a playoff starter and then watched San Francisco’s defence and running game take over from there in the 49ers’ victory over Minnesota in the divisional round.
The Niners’ first playoff game in six seasons and first ever at Levi’s Stadium turned into a lopsided one as top-seeded San Francisco (14-3) turned a pair of second-half turnovers by Minnesota (11-7) into 10 points.
Richard Sherman set up Tevin Coleman’s second short touchdown run of the game with an interception against Kirk Cousins and Marcus Sherels’ fumbled punt led to a field goal that made it 27-10 early in the fourth quarter.
San Francisco didn’t allow Minnesota to gain a first down for more than 27 minutes of game action starting late in the second quarter.
The Niners will host the NFC championship game next week against the winner of Sunday’s game between Seattle and Green Bay.
Garoppolo threw an interception deep in his own territory late in the first half and then spent most of the second half handing the ball off to Coleman and Raheem Mostert.
There was little reason for coach Kyle Shanahan to take chances the way his defence completely bottled up talented runner Dalvin Cook. That took away Minnesota’s play-action game and forced Cousins into becoming a drop-back passer.
Cousins finished 21 for 29 for 172 yards with his only big play coming on a 41-yard TD pass to Stefon Diggs in the first quarter.
Cook was held to 18 yards on nine carries as the Niners defence was back to its dominant early season form thanks in part to the return from injuries of defensive end Dee Ford, linebacker Kwon Alexander and safety Jaquiski Tartt.