The Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans started their feisty battle prior to kickoff and needed more than four quarters to decide a winner.
In the end, the determined play of Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown was the difference, as the Titans won in overtime, 27-24.
Brown’s late heroics forced overtime, and Henry’s 29-yard touchdown in OT won it for Tennessee after he was held down early.
The game held major playoff implications, as both teams entered the game on the fringes of the postseason despite entering with matching 6-3 marks. At 6-4, the Ravens — who have now lost three of their past four — now find themselves in third place in the AFC North behind the 10-0 Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns.
Before the game even started, there was tension. Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler got the festivities underway as he started jawing with Ravens head coach John Harbaugh at midfield during warmups. That led to Titans head coach Mike Vrabel getting involved, and Vrabel and Harbaugh exchanged heated words.
Things settled down a bit once the game started, but even Ravens QB Lamar Jackson managed to give Butler a shove after the Ravens made it 21-10. That was when Jackson hit Mark Andrews for a pretty 31-yard TD pass and looked to be in control of the game.
But the Titans had some fight in them.
Early in the fourth quarter, trailing 21-13, Vrabel opted to kick a field goal instead of going for it on 4th and 2 from the Baltimore 4. It looked like a somewhat questionable decision. But the Titans forced the Ravens to punt for the first time since the first quarter and got the ball back with 7:43 remaining.
But the Titans got two huge receptions from Brown — a 25-yarder and then a 14-yard touchdown in which he broke at least four tackle attempts. Brown powered his way into the end zone to give the Titans their first lead since the first quarter, trailing as much as 11 points midway through the third quarter.
The two-point conversion made it 24-21, Titans, with 2:18 remaining.
The Ravens drove 65 yards in just over two minutes to tie it with a Justin Tucker field goal, sending it to OT. But they had a chance to win, running three plays prior to that in the red zone.
The Titans held Baltimore on its only offensive possession of overtime before Henry took over.
Slow start for Henry
The Titans took the ball on their opening drive 79 yards, gaining five first downs and grabbing a 7-0 lead when Ryan Tannehill hit Jonnu Smith for a 1-yard TD pass. The Titans would not get in the end zone again until Brown’s TD near the end of regulation.
The Ravens bottled up Henry early, holding him to 2 yards or fewer on 11 of his first 13 carries. Ravens safety DeShon Elliott even knocked Henry out of the game for a few plays with a big hit in the second half.
But Henry gained strength from there, finishing with 133 rush yards on 28 carries, plus the game-winner.
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