Taylor Lewan settled down, gained some redemption as Titans move forward

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – He started the season at home and when he returned from a four-game suspension, Taylor Lewan tried to make up for lost time and didn’t exactly get off to a good start.

But since a blow-up game against Kansas City in Week 10, he settled down and has played mostly good football with a one-game exception against the Saints.LewanWash2

Most importantly, Lewan and Rodger Saffold were super-solid in New England where they Titans dethroned the Patriots and poured on heavy doses of Derrick Henry, until 34 carries and 182 yards broke the home team.

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Against Lamar Jackson option plays, Titans can't attempt 'hellacious plays' that ruin defense

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A read-option offense can leave an initial defender looking foolish. But the Titans are not worried about appearances so long as they play good assignment football against the Ravens in the division round of the NFL playoffs.

Lamar Jackson will read a defender and decide, based on where that player goes, if he keeps the ball or dishes it to a teammate.CorreaTexans

“Sometimes you can make the right choice, sometimes you just can’t make it,” Mike Vrabel said. “It’s the Jimmys and the Joes. The plays are great. Lamar does a fantastic job. He’s an unbelievable athlete. He looks like he loves playing football.

“So, we’ll have to line up and play the next snap if they hit one, which they will. That’s how it goes. You have different

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As Titans brace for Ravens, old guard guys remember the rivalry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Three games, eons ago in the football lifespan of a player, don’t mean much to the 53 guys on the current Titans roster and the 46 who will play in Baltimore Sunday.

But for the franchise and its fans, the Ravens in the playoffs means something big, because the Ravens wrecked two of Tennessee’s greatest seasons.WycheckLewis

In 2000 and in 2008, in eerily similar games, the No. 1 seeded Titans hosted Baltimore and lost in excruciating fashion.

In between, the fifth-seeded Titans went to fourth-seeded Baltimore as a wild card in 2003 and won.

What’s the first thing Eddie George, a central figure in the 2000 and 2003 games, thinks of when he hears Titans-Ravens?

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Mike Vrabel burned Bill Belichick with clock management quirk

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When Bill Belichick manipulates the clock, he grins.

When someone manipulates the clock against him, he bitches.

The loophole that let the Patriots burn time against the Jets in October was put to use against him by Mike Vrabel at Gillette Stadium Saturday night. Just as it worked for New England against New York, it worked for Tennessee against New England.

What we have here is called hypocrisy.

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Scout's Take: Arthur Smith's patience with favorable matchup paid off

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The difference in the game was simple the Titans had a punter and a running game, and the Patriots didn’t.

Multiple times the Patriots wanted to back the Titans offense up with a punt and Rooke Jake Bailey kicked it into the endzone for a touchback.HenryNE

And offensive coordinator Arthur Smith called this game perfectly.

A passing attack that had under 100 yards passing and barely .500 completion percentage.

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View from Foxborough: Bill Belichick’s best-laid plans go bust as Patriots’ season melts away

With Titans-Patriots concluded, we wrap-up our sharing with Boston Sports Journal, another independent site. Greg Bedard is the site's columnist/Patriots analyst, editor and owner.

By GREG BEDARD

FOXBOROUGH, Mass.  — After 20 years, he’s certainly earned this mulligan.

Bill Belichick is already one of the greatest coaches in NFL history. What he built in this town that football seemed to forget for 40-plus years will stand the test of time. What he’s done in the salary-cap era will most likely go unmatched.

BelichickBSJSix Super Bowl titles, 304 wins, 17 consecutive 10-win seasons. All the numbers are ridiculous. You probably know them by heart.

But Belichick is also not perfect. He’s not infallible. This season proved that not that you didn’t know that beforehand.

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Mike Vrabel's 'team of believers' lives on in the playoffs

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – It’s premature to say the Titans toppled a dynasty at Gillette Stadium Saturday night.

But they showcased their bruiser birthday running back as they dethroned the champions with an imperfect game, advancing to a matchup in Baltimore to renew a once violent rivalry. They won a wild card playoff game for the second time in three seasons.

And that’s plenty.HenryNE

“We’ve been on the other side of it,” said Logan Ryan, who won two Super Bowls with the Patriots but was part of the 2017 Titans who lost here in the divisional round. “The whole thing was you can’t get caught looking at the pinstripes. They are a championship organization, they are all class, they’ve got the best quarterback, the best coach.

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View from Foxborough: How the Titans, Patriots could attempt to gain an advantage

As we head toward Titans-Patriots, we'll do a bit of sharing with Boston Sports Journal, another independent site. Greg Bedard is the site's columnist/Patriots analyst, editor and owner.

By GREG BEDARD

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Each team tries to gain an advantage over their opponent by targeting weaknesses of the opponent but also playing to your own strengths. There aren't really any magic elixirs like personnel groupings and huge mismatches — these games basically come down to which team has the better players and whether they play to that level thanks to coaches that put them in the best position for success.

After going through the film, here are three ways I think the Titans and Patriots will try to gain an edge on the other.

TITANS VS. PATRIOTS

1. Get after Brady up the middle.

This is no magic formula. Mike Vrabel knows it. Dean Pees knows it. The Patriots know it. Get some early hits on Brady and he gets sped up, never feels comfortable and his accuracy is off just enough to keep them disjointed on offense. You don't have to even pressure all that much — the Titans made Brady feels pressure just 25.5 percent of the time in last year's game yet Brady couldn't have played more spooked.Brady2BSJ

The Titans were, however, very effective at bringing players from the second level up the middle to help move Brady off his spot. That led to Brady and James White allowing almost half (five of 12) pressures.

2. Take care of Edelman and White.

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