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King Henry, Titans taking over Ravens home like it's their own

Running back Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans stiff arms strong safety Chuck Clark #36 of the Baltimore Ravens in the second half on Sunday.
Running back Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans stiff arms strong safety Chuck Clark #36 of the Baltimore Ravens in the second half on Sunday.

How brash are the Tennessee Titans?

First they park themselves in a flaunting manner on the Baltimore Ravens midfield logo before Sunday’s game between the two bitter rivals.

Then they walk over the Ravens, quite possibly doing serious damage to their playoff hopes.

Down 21-10 in the third quarter, the Titans clawed their way back for a 30-24 overtime victory on a 29-yard touchdown by Derrick Henry.

“It looked like that team wanted it more than us,” reigning MVP Lamar Jackson said of the Titans. “They were playing physical. When we went up, I just felt like we took our foot off the gas.”

The NFL’s 2019 rushing king, Henry finished with 28 carries for 133 yards to become the first back to surpass the 1,000-yard mark this season.

“They’re a great team,” Henry said. “That was a great win for us.”

The last time Henry and the Titans were in Baltimore was Jan. 11 for a divisional playoff game that turned into one of the biggest NFL post-season upsets in history, as Henry rambled for 195 yards to lead 9-7 Tennessee to a 28-12 victory over 14-2 Baltimore.

Maybe that’s why the Titans felt they could crouch on the Ravens crest at M&T Bank Stadium.

Had more of the Ravens been on the field when the Titans disrespectfully held the team huddle where they did, things could have turned ugly.

Like, Montreal Canadiens-Philadelphia Flyers 1987 pre-game brawl ugly.

As it turned out, Ravens coach John Harbaugh walked over to do the objecting, leading to a jawing match with Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler. When Titans coach Mike Vrabel arrived, he waved his players away and then had what appeared to be an unpleasant exchange with Harbaugh.

Some 31/2 hours later, Vrabel raced to the end zone to congratulate Henry for his winning touchdown, and when he retraced his steps to shake hands with Harbaugh, they spent a solid one second congratulating each other on a good game.

“I asked what the issue was before the game and he said there wasn’t an issue,” said Vrabel. “I have a lot of respect for John and we shook hands.”

Harbaugh used the word “irrelevant” when asked by reporters about the pre-game kerfuffle.

“It was a tough, tough loss,” said Harbaugh. “We didn’t do what we needed to do to win the game.”

Just like in last season’s playoff game, they kept Henry quiet in the first half. They even knocked him out of the game for a couple of snaps, on a jolting hit by DeShon Elliott you could feel through the TV.

But like in the playoff game, when he had 56 yards rushing in the first half and 139 in the second, Henry wore down the Baltimore defence.

After 37 yards on his first 12 carries, he racked up 90 yards after the third quarter.

Asked if the commotion before the kickoff helped fire up his team, Henry said: “It’s still going. Whatever… the jabbing … it’s still going back and forth. If it helped our game … we were better today. I’m glad we were able to get a win.”

The win improved the Titans to 7-3, keeping them in lockstep with the Indianapolis Colts atop the AFC South. Most importantly, after losing three of their previous four, the Titans appear to be back on track as a contender.

The scars and bruises they left Baltimore with have been the wakeup call they needed.

“It is a violent game,” said Vrabel. “It is a physical game. It is an emotional game. I hope we play with emotion and I hope we do things that help our team, and not do things that hurt our team.”

Hurting are the Ravens, who at 6-4 and looking up in the AFC North standings at both Cleveland (7-3) and Pittsburgh Steelers (10-0).

Baltimore could be pushed closer to the edge of the wildcard picture in a U.S. Thanksgiving night game at Heinz Field against the Steelers.

“Quick turnaround,” said Harbaugh. “We’ll have to heal up and get prepared to play that game.”


The Cincinnati Bengals (2-7-1) lost more than just another football game when the fell 20-9 to the Washington Football Team (3-7), which is still in the thick of the crawl for top spot in the NFC East. They lost their franchise quarterback for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Joe Burrow knew after being carted off the field and before the diagnosis that he was done for 2020 when he sent out a tweet to Bengals fans: “Thanks for all the love. Can’t get rid of me that easy. See ya next year.” The No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, Burrow delivered as expected this season. Elias Stats & Information shows that he ranks fourth in NFL history for the most passing yards (2,688) in a player’s first 10 games. The 406-yard game he had in Week 7 leaves him tied with Andrew Luck for most 300 yard games by a rookie (six). Now the Bengals need to get him some protection. NFL Next Gen stats show Cincinnati was 28th in pass-block win rate.


Saints coach Sean Payton wanted a glimpse of the future. He needed to see if Taysom Hill really does have what it takes to succeed Drew Brees as his starting quarterback next year. Probably didn’t hurt that, while Hill had only completed 10 career passes heading into the day, Plan B, Jameis Winston, had thrown 11 career Pick-Sixes. So it was that Hill was given the start against the Atlanta Falcons, and he did not disappoint. After a slow start, the 30-year old jack of many trades completed 18-of-23 passes for 233 yards, and while he didn’t have any TD tosses, he didn’t thrown and interceptions either. Oh yes, and Hill also scored two touchdowns while pacing the Saints with 10 carries for 51 yards. “I think a couple of throws I was a little disappointed in,” Hill told Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. “Ones that just kind of slipped out of my hands. I think those things are easy to clean up I think that drives that weren’t really well we were in and out of the huddle, and I think that’s one of the things that makes us so difficult to defend. Our tempo when we’re at our best is really good.” Even better was the Saints defence, which sacked Matt Ryan eight times in the 24-9 victory. Aside from a 46-yard reception by Calvin Ridley, the Falcons offence was virtually non-existent — and in previous weeks it had just started rolling, too … By the way, it’s now been determined that Brees has 11 fractured ribs. Eight on the left side, three on the right. You wouldn’t expect the count to go up higher than that now.


Podcast experts were talking before Sunday’s games about the Dallas Cowboys just playing out the string. Not so fast. With a 31-28 upset over the Minnesota Vikings (4-6) that ended their four-game slide, the Cowboys are suddenly 3-7 and a win from overtaking the sagging Philadelphia Eagles (3-6-1) for first in the NFC L-East. While they were helped by the return of Andy Dalton (22-of-32, 203 yards, three TD passes) and Ezekiel Elliott’s first 100-yard game of the season (21 carries, 103 yards), Dallas’ much maligned defence came up with two takeaways that led to nine points and also came up with two huge fourth quarter stops. All bets regarding the Cowboys early demise are off. At least until next week.


Baker Mayfield has now gone three consecutive games without a touchdown pass, equalling his longest drought since 2013 at Texas Tech. But against the Eagles, he didn’t have to do much to win. Mayfield’s 12-of-22 for 204 yards and no INTs was better than Carson Wentz’s day, that saw him complete 21-of-35 for 235 yards and two touchdown that included a couple of interceptions, giving him a league-leading 14. Afterwards, Eagles coach Doug Pederson said “there’s no question,” that Wentz will remain the starter, as by making a change “you’re sending the wrong message that your season is over.” Added Pederson: “We have to work through this. When times get tough that might be the easy thing to do.” … The Browns 22-17 victory was aided by a Pick-Six from special teams stud Sione Takitaki and by the 20-carry, 114-yard performance by Nick Chubb ….


Dolphins head coach Brian Flores gave the hook to rookie Tua Tagovailoa as he struggled (11-of-20, 83 yards) for the first time of his career. Miami trailed 20-10 when the change was made to Ryan Fitzpatrick, but the move didn’t make much of a difference in the 2013 loss in Denver. Tagovailoa will be back as the starter next week, Flores said. “It’s very clear this is Tua’s team,” said Fitzpatrick, who completed 12-of-18 for 117 yards but was also intercepted. “Today was different than the last few weeks. They needed me to go in there and provide a spark.”


The Green Bay Packers coughed up a 28-14 halftime lead and then, after getting the Indianapolis Colts to overtime, caugh up the ball with a Marquez Valdes-Scantling fumble. Indy’s 34-31 win left the Colts tied for the divisional lead and the Packers at 7-3, still comfortable in a sad division … Justin Herbert continued to establish himself as the best rookie QB in the league with a 37-of-49 for 366 yards and three TDs in the Chargers 34-28 victory over the still winless New York Jets. Herbert has thrown multiple TD passes in seven straight games, the longest streak by a rookie in NFL history according to Elias Sports Bureau … Diontae Johnson made a juggling circus catch among his 12 for 111 yards as the Pittsburgh Steelers remain undefeated with a 27-3, not-even-fair pounding of the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) … The Washington victory marked the first for QB Alex Smith since Nov. 11, 2018. Smith, who has recovered from a leg injury that nearly cost him his life, has to be the popular pick for the comeback player of the year award.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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