The New England Patriots entered Sunday’s matchup with the Tennessee Titans at 7-4, needing a win to maintain momentum in their potential climb to the top of the conference. Despite facing a Titans team decimated by injury, the Pats made a statement and, in the process, kept the league on notice.
Quarterback Mac Jones threw for 310 yards with two touchdown passes. Wideout Jakobi Meyers had five catches for 98 yards receiving, while Kendrick Bourne added two touchdowns. Kicker Nick Folk made five of six field goal attempts, all en route to New England’s 36-13 victory over the Titans on Sunday in Foxboro, Massachusetts, It was the Patriots sixth straight victory, improving the team to 8-4 on the 2021 season.
First Half Highlights
The Patriots struck first in Week Twelve, with Jones leading his offense 37 yards on nine plays. Former Titan Jonnu Smith showed his skill on the jet sweep for a nine-yard carry and a first down. Running back Brandon Colden would also advance the ball deep into Tennessee territory for an eleven-yard gain off of Jones’ pass. The rookie would cap the drive with a perfectly placed touch to receiver Kendrick Bourne, who made a great catch near the back of the endzone for the four-yard touchdown.
Patriots 7, Titans 0
Tennessee responded on the ensuing drive, with a 14-play, 74-yard drive that would take over eight minutes off the clock. Tannehill utilized the short game to advance the ball against the Pats defense, utilizing former Patriot Cody Hollister on the WR screen. Receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine looked to have fallen short of the goal on a third-down reception from a Tannehill short pass. However, the Titans wideout was not touched before advancing the ball to the endzone. Tennessee challenged the short of the goal line ruling, and the play was reversed. The Titans had the touchdown, though kicker Randy Bullock’s extra point attempt hit the right upright.
Patriots 7, Titans 6
New England extended their lead to four, traveling 75 yards on eight plays. Jones found Jakobi Meyers for two 20-plus-yard receptions, while hitting Jonnu Smith in stride for gains of 16 and 13 yards respectively. Kicker Nick Folk would wrap the drive with a 22-yard field goal.
Patriots 10, Titans 6
Following a Titans’ missed 44-yard field goal by Bullock, New England padded its lead with a six-play, 47-yard drive, highlighted by a 38-yard reception by Meyers off a Jones deep pass. Following a third-yard attempt by Nelson Agholor which just fell short, Folk connected on a 37-yard field goal.
Patriots 13, Titans 6
In the aftermath of a fumble by Titans’ running back Dontrell Hilliard (recovered by Kyle Dugger) the Pats capitalized on Tenneseee’s miscue with a six play, 42-yard drive. New England nearly had six, but for Jones overthrowing tight end Hunter Henry with a clear path to the endzone. The Pats settled for three, on a 44-yarder from Folk.
Patriots 16, Titans 6
Tennessee continued to grind, however, and was determined to close the gap before halftime. With under a minute remaining in the half, Hilliard would redeem his earlier loss of the football by breaking for a 68-yard rush to the endzone, taking advantage of a huge gap opened by the Titans’ offensive line. Tennessee was within three with seconds to play in the second quarter.
New England made their best attempt to add three as the half expired. However, Folk would miss the 53-yarder amidst the cold conditions in Foxboro.
At the half: Patriots 16, Titans 13
New England had the ball to begin the second half, and wasted no time putting points on the scoreboard. Jones once again found Smith for 20 yards. The Pats rookie quarterback nearly ran for the first down to extend the drive, falling three yards short. Folk made a 28-yard field goal, extending the Patriots lead to six.
Patriots 19, Titans 13
The Patriots once again found the end zone on a four-play, 56-yard drive, highlighted by the scoring play. Jones hit Kendrick Bourne on a short pass from the right, which the dual-threat wideout turned into a 41-yard touchdown push to the endzone. Bourne was able to evade the tackle, and parlayed a tremendous block by Jakobi Meyers into a run along the sideline that demonstrated great field awareness, and even better balance
Patriots 26, Titans 13
The Pats tacked on three more, on the leg of Nick Folk. On a ten-play, 46-yard drive, Folk would cap the drive with a 52-yard field goal. It was the 37-year-old’s fifth 50-yd field goal of the season - tying the franchise record (set by Stephen Gostkowski in 2013).
Patriots 29, Titans 13
The good times kept rolling in Foxboro, on the legs of running back Damien Harris. After the Titans turned the ball over on downs, Harris carried the ball for 7 yards and 14 yards respectively, with the latter being Harris’ touchdown rush, his eighth of the season.
FINAL: Patriots 36, Titans 13
Honorable Mention: J.C. Jackson
While Mr. INT may not have found the endzone, via pick-six, Jackson was a key component of the Patriots success. Jackson forced a third quarter fumble by Titans running back D’Onta Foreman, just as the Tennessee back looked poised for a huge-gain. Jackson also perfectly positioned himself in the endzone to intercept a second-half pass attempt on fourth-down, after the Tannehill pass was tipped by safety Devin McCourty. It was Jackson’s seventh interception of the season.
The Patriots will travel to Orchard Park, New York for a Monday Night date with their divisional-rival Buffalo Bills; a matchup which may have major implications on the pursuit of the 2021 AFC East title. The Pats and Bills will meet on Monday, December 6 at Highmark Stadium, with kickoff set for 8:15 pm ET