Mike Vrabel became the second former New England assistant to defeat the Patriots this season as the Titans earned a 34–10 victory in Nashville on Sunday. Vrabel looked downright Belichickian as Tennessee advanced to 5–4 on the season, with the NFL's No. 1 defense containing New England's explosive offensive attack to just 10 points and 284 yards from scrimmage.
Sunday's loss was the Patriots' first since Sept. 23. After winning a marquee matchup vs. Green Bay in Week 9, Tom Brady and Co. limped through their last game before the bye week, failing to score in the second half. Brady completed 21 of 41 attempts. His 254 yards were the least since Week 3, a loss to the Matt Patricia-led Lions.
Tennessee punished New England with a bruising ground attack on the other end, outrushing New England 150-40. The Titans controlled the clock with nearly 33 minutes of possession. It wasn't just the ground game that fueled Tennessee, though. Corey Davis hauled in seven catches for 125 yards and a touchdown, a welcome sight for the former No. 5 overall pick who has struggled to consistently produce. For the second-straight week, the Titans have shown signs of a potent offensive attack.
New England will likely cruise to the AFC East title. While Miami is in striking distance at 5–4, it's difficult to imagine Brock Osweiler or a banged-up Ryan Tannehill sprinting past New England.
The road to Super Bowl LIII did become more difficult after Sunday, though. Kansas City holds the top seed in the AFC at 9–1, and Pittsburgh has now jumped the Patriots for the second spot. The last time New England played a wild-card game is 2009, and the team has never reached the Super Bowl after playing a wild card in the Brady-Belichick era.
The Patriots are still a heavyweight in the AFC, but Sunday's listless effort didn't inspire confidence in the reigning conference champions.