The Baltimore Ravens, the top seed in the AFC playoffs and favourite to win the Super Bowl, were upset Saturday night by the Tennessee Titans, 28-12, losing at home after several costly mistakes by star quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The Titans, who have won nine of their last 12 games including the post-season, are the lowest-seeded team in the conference, but they quickly upended the Ravens by forcing turnovers and containing Baltimore’s aggressive offence that had looked unstoppable for most of the season.
Tennessee was led by running back Derrick Henry, who rumbled for 195 yards and even threw for a touchdown. Henry became the first running back since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger to run for more than 180 yards in three straight games. Ryan Tannehill, who took over as the Titans’ No. 1 quarterback during the sixth game of the season, had two touchdowns passing and one rushing. He threw for just 88 yards. But most important, he did not turn the ball over.
The same could not be said for Jackson, who is likely to be voted the NFL’s most valuable player next month. He threw two interceptions and fumbled once for a career-high three turnovers. The Ravens, with four failed conversions on fourth down and a number of penalties, put themselves in poor field position all night long. Jackson was forced to throw the ball 59 times, a career high.
Baltimore’s vaunted offence led the league in points this season but ground to a halt in the face of Tennessee’s defensive line. The Titans repeatedly forced the Ravens into third-and-long situations, and while Jackson converted a fair number of them, the drives frequently fell short.
It was the second consecutive road victory in the playoffs for Tennessee, who upended the defending champion New England Patriots a week ago in Foxborough. It’s the first time the Titans have won two playoff games in the same season since 1999-2000, when Tennessee lost in the Super Bowl to the St. Louis Rams.
For the Ravens, Saturday night’s defeat was a second successive playoff loss. Playing at home a year ago in the opening, wild-card round, Baltimore was upset by the Los Angeles Chargers. The Ravens have now lost three of their last four playoff games, going back to the 2012-13 season when Baltimore defeated the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl.
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