January 23, 2019

Titans QB is big challenge for New England

14 January 2018, 11:40 | Randall Craig

New England Patriots vs Tennessee Titans: NFL playoff live updates, score, game chat, TV information

New England Patriots

Time and again, New England has rallied internally in the face of scandal and outside scrutiny.

The Titans are coming off one of the best playoff comebacks in recent memory. "You just got to be able to keep Brady uncomfortable, get on top of them, set the tone, have them play one-dimensional and pray to God that you get a break here or there - whether it's a fumble, tipped pass for interceptions", George said. He had nine catches for a career-high 180 receiving yards and two touchdowns to help the Patriots get the 36-17 win.

But should we dismiss Tennessee so quickly?

As good as it must have felt to continue an undefeated career as a starting quarterback (Garoppolo went 2-0 as the Patriots' starter in 2016 when Brady was sitting out on a four-game suspension), this bonus will be a sweet surprise to start the 26-year-old's 2018.

"I'm just happy to still be playing in January", he added.

The defense also took a hit as linebacker Marquis Flowers was out with an illness at the beginning of the week and then limited in later practices.

Offensively, Brady was given all the time in the world to carve up the Tennessee secondary, and the Pats punched in a pair of touchdowns on the ground against one of the best run defenses in football.

Numbers: TITANS: Defeated Chiefs, 22-21, in AFC Wild Card Playoffs last week...9-7 record, reached playoffs in '17 (9-7 in '16)...

So much so that CBS color analyst Tony Romo seemed perplexed at what the Titans were doing on a fourth down attempt late in the first half at Gillette Stadium. Yeah, the Titans can play.

If he's back to 100 percent effectiveness, Hogan can provide another dimension for Tom Brady in an already unsafe Patriots offense which features Cooks, Rob Gronkowski, and Dion Lewis among many others. An intentional-grounding call and holding penalty on back-to-back plays put the Titans in a third-and-23. "That's where you go prove it". Linebackers Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo lead the pass rush for Tennessee, with 7.5 and 7.0 sacks respectively.

The Titans now have to contend with Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who led New England with 69 catches for 1,084 yards and eight touchdowns in only 14 games.

The Titans trailed Kansas City 21-3 at halftime last week and the Titans came back to win and advance to this game against New England. "Now, our focus is only New England", Ryan said after Wednesday's Titans practice.

Things to look for: Can the Tennessee Titans dethrone the defending Super Bowl champions? He has really struggled with turnovers this year and that's something that can't happen against the Patriots.

Despite the distraction caused by an ESPN story about dissension between owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, all three will be determined more than ever to win one more trophy before the dynasty ends.

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