Former Texas Stars, New England Move Within 1 Game of Super Bowl after Dispatching of Tennessee

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Photo courtesy AP via NBC Sports
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — In frigid 24 degree temperature, Tennessee tried to win its first game against the defending champion New England since 2002.
The Patriots, seemingly ageless Tom Brady and four Texas-area players’ 35-14 AFC Divisional Round win Saturday night at Gillette Stadium ensured that streak will last until next season.
That loss came despite a game opening 95-yard drive and a Corey Davis receptions — his first of two scores on the night — that handed the Titans an early lead.

Brady, who at 40 years old became the oldest player to win a playoff game, started the game 3-for-7 but by the 11th minute of the second quarter he’d completed seven consecutive passes in the Patriots no huddle formation. Three plays later and nearly 30 yards later, he was 10-for-14, running back James White had scored his second touchdown — on via the pass and the other via the run — of the game and New England gained a 14-7 lead.

It was the Patriots second score in little less than three minutes.

Tom Brady finished 35 of 53 with 337 yards and three touchdowns during the AFC Divisional playoff win against Tennessee on Saturday. Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports

With 2:31 left before the end of the first half, New England tacked on its third TD courtesy a 4-yard reception by Chris Hogan. Perhaps more important than “Tommy Terrific’s” 21 completed passes on 31 attempts, 206 yards, and pair of lightning strikes in the first 30 minutes could have been the 53-yard missed field goal by Stephen Gotskowski — botched kick that followed a failed fourth and 1 run by the Titans Derrick Henry.

It could have been if not a near repeat of the first half. That includes Brandon Bolden’s third quarter TD, 10-play, 95-yard that ended in a Rob Gronkowski’s fourth quarter TD, a pivotal first-down catch by former The Woodlands receiver Danny Amendola, five of the Titans’ eight allowed sacks, and 14 unanswered points in the final two quarters that marked the end of Tennessee’s season.

Marcus Mariota closed the year with a 22 of 37, 254-yard, and two-touchdown performance while Eric Decker had six catches for 85 yards and Henry finished with 28 yards and 12 carries. Davis’ second TD of the game came with 1:55 left in the fourth quarter.

With the victory, New England, as well as Lone Star State alums Marcellus Bennett (Alief Taylor), Malcom Brown (Brenham), and Eric Rowe (Spring Klein), positioned themselves to face the winner of Sunday’s Jacksonville-Pittsburg matchup in the upcoming AFC Championship game — a rematch of the NFL Week 5.


Marcus Matthews-Marion is the managing editor of TexasHSFootball, covering prep football throughout the Lone Star State and collegiate and professional football throughout the country. Follow him on Twitter, @TheMJMatthews, and read more of his content here.

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