For the first time in four years, the New England Patriots will not play in the Super Bowl. Despite playing in front of their home crowd at Gillette Stadium and entering the game as 4.5-point favorites, New England was unable to stop the ground-and-pound attack of the Tennessee Titans, and by the time the game reached its conclusion, the Patriots fell, 20-13.
It was a stunning game to watch. New England’s offense couldn’t really get anything going — the team had 307 total yards, couldn’t really run the ball, and struggled to get into the end zone. Tennessee, meanwhile, gained fewer total yards (a paltry 272), but kept landing body blows thanks to star running back Derrick Henry. The former Heisman Trophy winner toted the rock 24 times for 182 yards and a score, and was rarely taken down by the first defender to hit him.
In what might have been his final game, Tom Brady, who is going to become a free agent this offseason, was not up to the standard for postseason excellence he has set. He completed 20 of his 37 attempts for 209 yards, which was partly on him and partly on a less-than-stellar receiving corps. Brady failed to throw a touchdown, and at the end of the game, he threw a pick six that ended up sealing things for the Titans.
— NFL (@NFL) January 5, 2020
The game was, for all intents and purposes, over at that point. Brady had nine seconds and 99 yards between himself and the end zone after a breathtaking punt by Tennessee, and I would have eaten one of my sneakers if he somehow pulled that nonsense off. But instead, the ball fell into the arms of ex-teammate Logan Ryan, who scampered in the other direction and toppled his former squad.
New England is about to face a gigantic offseason, regardless of whether Brady comes back. Unfortunately for them, it’s starting way earlier than it has in each of the last few years, all because the team lost its first home playoff game since 2012. For the Titans, they’ll move on to take on Baltimore next weekend. Taking down Lamar Jackson will be a tall task, but in fairness to them, beating the Patriots in Foxboro isn’t exactly easy to do, either.