Reigning NFL Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots were a class above as they saw off the Tennessee Titans 35-14 in the divisional round.
Saturday's AFC playoff game at Gillette Stadium saw the Patriots advance to the championship game for a record seventh successive year.
After the Titans grabbed an early 7-0 lead, Tom Brady and the Patriots took control and cruised to victory on home soil.
The Titans (10-8) scored late in the first quarter and had 108 yards of offense.
They managed just 159 yards the rest of the way as the Patriots defense kept the Tennessee ground game that wore down the Kansas City Chiefs last week in check.
Titans running back Derrick Henry, who ran for 156 yards against the Chiefs, managed just 28 yards on 12 carries against the Patriots.
The Patriots (14-3) will host either the Jacksonville Jaguars or the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC championship game next Sunday.
QUESTIONABLE PENALTIES FAVOURED PATRIOTS
There were two questionable calls in the first half that went in New England's favour. The first was an offensive pass interference call on Titans receiver Eric Decker that wiped out a Tennessee first down. The Titans had to punt from their own 17-yard line and the Patriots capitalised on the short field to take a 14-7 lead on a six-yard James White run.
The second came on a Patriots punt when it appeared New England would be called for a false start. The Titans were instead penalised for inducing a false start and the five-yard penalty gave the Patriots a first down to extend the series. The Patriots capitalised and turned what would have been a three-and-out inside their own 20 into a 16-play, 91-yard drive that ended with a four-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Chris Hogan.
The Patriots led the NFL this season in first downs by penalties. While there is no conspiracy in place, those two calls were crucial and were the turning point of the game.
MARIOTA SHOWED PROMISE
The Titans scored first as Marcus Mariota threw a perfect pass to Corey Davis, who made an incredible one-handed diving catch in the end zone to give the Titans a 7-0 lead with 1:14 remaining in the first quarter.
The touchdown capped an 11-play, 95-yard drive as Mariota used his arms and legs to convert a pair of third downs. It was all New England after that as Patriots defensive co-ordinator Matt Patricia dialled up the pressure on Mariota, who was sacked eight times. Mariota finished 22 of 37 for 254 yards and two touchdowns with 37 rushing yards. While the Titans could not pull off the upset — it did not help that starting right tackle Jack Conklin was forced out with a knee injury in the first half — Mariota showed promise and could have Tennessee as a perennial playoff contender.
LEWIS IS THIS YEAR'S X-FACTOR
Patriots running back James White, who scored twice on Saturday, was New England's playoff hero last season. This year, it looks like Dion Lewis will be that guy. Lewis ran for 896 yards and six touchdowns and caught 32 passes for 214 yards and three scores during the regular season. He came up with multiple big plays, finishing with 62 rushing yards on 15 carries and nine receptions for 79 yards. He caught a short Brady pass on the first play of the second quarter and bolted for what was initially ruled a 50-yard touchdown. The Patriots had to settle for a 31-yard gain, but it set up White's first touchdown as the Patriots answered Tennessee's score.
Brady finished 35 of 53 for 337 yards and three touchdowns as Danny Amendola led all players with 11 catches for 112 yards.
The Patriots are now 8-0 this season when Lewis records more than 100 yards from scrimmage. As long as Patriots offensive co-ordinator Josh McDaniels continues to give Lewis touches, New England just might win another Super Bowl.
21 de abril 2018
|Winslow fined $15,000 for stepping on Embiid´s mask|
|I don´t fear the challenge – Klopp eager to close gap to City|
|Johnson shares lead as Garcia misses cut in Texas|
|Career backup QB Luke McCown retires at 36|
|Texans ´optimistic´ about Clowney contract extension|
|Everybody wants to play under him – Ozil pays tribute to Wenger|
|Conte defends Chelsea record compared to Mourinho|
|LaLiga strugglers Espanyol show Flores the door|
|Messi is an alien but Sevilla can bring Barcelona back down to Earth, insists Montella|
|Four in a row for Wigan as Saints thrash Huddersfield|
20 de abril 2018
|Reims´ latest vintage secure promotion to Ligue 1|
|Gloucester cruise into Challenge Cup final|
|Quiros claims one-shot lead despite rollercoaster round two|
|Millwall 0 Fulham 3: Sessegnon on target as Jokanovic´s side go second|
|Curry to begin modified practices on Saturday|
|Ancelotti welcomes Arsenal links, praises Wenger decision|
|Nadal produces ´best match of tournament´ as Dimitrov beats doubles partner|
|I think Arsenal would be good for a German coach - Podolski|
|Wilshere, Ramsey, Mertesacker and the best social media reaction to Wenger´s Arsenal departure|
|Watson haunts Royals with Super Kings hundred|
|Selby bracing himself for tough title defence|
|Exeter left ´disappointed´ by Ampadu transfer verdict|
|Froome thrilled with ´perfect´ build-up to Giro|
|Copa del Rey glory a good way to put European exit behind us, says Valverde|
|LMA hails Wenger´s impact at Arsenal|
|Wenger passes the torch as Arsenal face up to his formidable legacy|
|Gazidis: Arsenal cannot replace Wenger – we need a new path|
|Ronnie rivals never doubted Crucible attendance of ´snooker´s Tiger Woods´|
|Van Bronckhorst using Wenger´s methods at Feyenoord|
|Former NFL lineman Evan Mathis´ 1952 Mickey Mantle card sells for $2.88M|
|Wasps forward Johnson suspended for failed drugs test|
|I´d break another finger to win the Copa del Rey - Rakitic|
|Arsene Wenger: The Arsenal manager´s worst moments|
|Wright: More Arsenal changes needed after Wenger exit|
|Guardiola wishes Iniesta the best ahead of potential Barcelona exit|
|Real football people appreciate Wenger - Moyes, Warnock and more pay tribute|
|Guardiola set for contract talks with Manchester City|
|Controversial Slater score helps Storm to victory|
|Liverpool top, DVDs just invented and no Harry Potter – The world when Wenger joined Arsenal|
|Heynckes cannot compare Lewandowski and Ronaldo|
|Ronaldinho, Ronaldo, Messi, Mbappe and more – the stars Wenger claims he could have signed|
|Ferguson: Rival, colleague and friend Wenger is one of the greatest|
|Gattuso wary of challenge for Milan´s European place|
|Neuer returns to Bayern training after seventh-month absence|
|Wembley no advantage for Spurs in semi-final, warns Mourinho|
|WATCH: Dez Bryant works out with Odell Beckham Jr. as rumors swirl|
|PSG, Monaco, the CSL, France? - Wenger´s possible next moves|
|Rematches, rivalries and a mouth-watering Wembley clash – The pick of the 2018 NFL schedule|
|Wenger ´an example´ to foreign Premier League managers like Benitez|
|Wilshere: Wenger is like a father|
|Guardiola wants Wenger to find new role in football|
|Henry: Wenger´s Arsenal legacy is untouchable|
|Mourinho: Wenger feud shows how much I respect him|
|Conte: Top four still possible for Chelsea|
|Frizell inspires Highlanders win over Blues, Lions beat Waratahs|
|Majestic Nadal hammers Thiem in Monte Carlo|
|Aguero out for the season - Guardiola|
|Wenger´s 22-year Arsenal tenure will not be matched, says Conte|
|Celtic would let Rodgers move to Arsenal|
|Squillaci, Cech & Wenger´s worst signings at Arsenal|
|Heynckes: I cannot imagine Wenger at another club|
|Thank you Arsene - Emery pays tribute to Wenger|
|Fabregas and Van Persie join tributes to Arsenal boss Wenger|
|Smith confirmed as England national selector|
|1,228 matches and seven FA Cups - Wenger at Arsenal in Opta numbers|
|Mertesacker ´emotional´ as Wenger announces Arsenal departure|
|Ancelotti, Tuchel, Henry – Where do Arsenal turn after Wenger?|
|Klopp doesn´t want Liverpool to chase Golden Boot for Salah|
|´The Arsene Wenger Stadium´ - Former Arsenal players call for tribute|
|Wenger was so good ´it was scary´, says Merson|