The Baltimore Ravens, who, led by impending MVP Lamar Jackson, won an NFL-high 14 regular-season games, were stunned at home in the divisional round by Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans Saturday night, 28-12.
As John Harbaugh’s team was becoming the first No. 1 seed to lose to a six seed in a decade, Henry became the first player in NFL history with at least 180 rushing yards in three consecutive games.
Indeed, after Jackson’s Ravens captivated the league with their top scoring offense and the league's most prolific ground game ever, it was Henry — the NFL’s regular-season rushing champion — who dictated tempo alongside Tennessee's dominating fronts that forced three Jackson turnovers and three additional fourth-and-short stops.
The Ravens moved the football but came up short time and again, beginning on a promising opening drive ending in Jackson’s first pick, a high throw that grazed off fellow Pro Bowl TE Mark Andrews’ hands for the first of many Ravens drops.
After the Titans turned the interception into six points on a Ryan Tannehill-to-Jonnu Smith one-handed 12-yard touchdown, the Ravens — the NFL’s most aggressive, and successful fourth down-team in the regular season — failed on fourth-and-short, which they’d again do coming out of halftime trailing 14-6 when their drive ended without points in the red zone.
The Titans marched 81 yards, punctuated by Henry throwing a touchdown to Corey Davis, and the second rout of divisional Saturday — unlike the Niners’ pounding of the Vikings, entirely unexpected — was on.
The 6-foot-3, 247-pound former Heisman winner Henry amazingly managed to one-up his 182-yard, 34-carry mauling of the defending champion Patriots a week ago with 195 more rushing yards on 30 more totes, with a long of 66 yards.
Ryan Tannehill wasn’t required to attempt 20 passes for a second consecutive week but led the Titans to an early 14-0 lead with touchdowns on their first two possessions. Since Mike Vrabel benched Marcus Mariota for Tannehill, the Titans are 9-3. They'll visit the winner of tomorrow's Texans-Chiefs battle in the AFC title game.
The Ravens are the first No. 1 seed to be upset by a six seed since the 2010 New England Patriots fell to the New York Jets. Interestingly, the coordinators for Gang Green that season, Brian Schottenheimer and Mike Pettine, will face off when the Seahawks visit the Packers at Lambeau tomorrow in the NFC divisional round.