BALTIMORE — The Titans players gathered on the Ravens logo at midfield shortly before kickoff in their key Week 11 matchup.
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh immediately confronted them and appeared to get into a verbal confrontation with Tennesee cornerback Malcolm Butler and coach Mike Vrabel.
The Titans managed to have the last word on a 29-yard touchdown run by Derrick Henry that provided a 30-24 victory with 5:21 left in overtime.
The setback dropped the Ravens to 6-4, and they face an uphill battle to make the postseason for a third consecutive year.
"We just have to win games — as many games as we can," said Harbaugh, who appeared to wave off Vrabel during the post-game handshake.
Vrabel downplayed the exchange with Harbaugh.
“I went to celebrate with Derrick and congratulate him, and then I ran back and shook [Harbaugh's] hand," Vrabel said. "I asked what the issue was before the game and he said there wasn’t an issue. So, I wanted to celebrate with my football team.”
When asked whether Harbaugh declined to shake hands, Vrabel said: “No. Absolutely not. No. I have a lot of respect for John [Harbaugh] and we shook hands. But again, I wanted to sprint down there to be excited with the team, and then I sprinted back to midfield.”
One one of the keys for the Ravens was stopping Henry, who ran for 195 yards against them in the divisional round of the playoffs last season. It was an especially tough challenge without defensive end Calais Campbell and nose tackle Brandon Williams out with injuries.
The Ravens managed to contain Henry in the first half before he began to wear them down in the fourth quarter. Henry finished with 133 yards on 28 carries.
Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson had another uneven performance and was hindered by a couple of drops by his receivers. Jackson completed 17 of 29 pass attempts for 186 yards with a touchdown and interception. He also ran for 51 yards on 13 carries.
"It looked like that team wanted it more than us," Jackson said. "They were playing physical. When we went up, I felt like we just took our foot off the gas. But we just have to keep it going for the team.”
A 31-yard pass from Jackson to Mark Andrews gave Baltimore a 21-10 lead early in the third quarter.
Tennessee (7-3) managed a pair of field goals by Stephen Gostkowski that cut the margin to 21-16 with 11:15 left in the game. On the ensuing drive, a penalty by Andrews on a third-and-1 moved the ball back and the Ravens were forced to punt after an incomplete pass.
The Titans made them pay on a 14-yard pass from Ryan Tannehill to A.J. Brown, who bullied his way into the end zone on third-and-10, avoiding tackles by Chuck Clark, Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey and Patrick Queen. Tannehill then ran up the middle for the two-point conversion with just over two minutes remaining.
"This organization has a standard," Baltimore defensive end Derek Wolfe said. "You have to stack wins. Wins come in bunches. You’ve just got to get that one win. You can’t get used to losing. That’s one thing; I know how that feels, and you can’t get used to it.”
The Ravens moved the ball to the Titans' 12-yard on the ensuing drive but had to settle for a 29-yard field goal by Justin Tucker that sent the game into overtime.
Baltimore won the coin toss and elected to receive in overtime but went three-and-out. This opened the door for the Titans to win on Henry's open-field run.
"We ultimately want to be the ‘bullies’ on both sides of the ball upfront and stop the run and run the ball well," Jackson said. "Whatever that is, we’re going to get back in the lab and figure it out.”
Ravens rookie running back J.K. Dobbins finished with 70 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries.
Tannehill completed 22 of 31 passes for 259 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. In overtime, he leaned on the team's best player.
"We did move the ball offensively," Tannehill said. "I had a ton of confidence that as soon as we got the ball, we were going to find a way to march it down and get in the end zone. They were throwing the kitchen sink at us and bringing pressure almost every play.
"I was telling the guys in the huddle, ‘They’re bringing all this pressure. If we get Derrick on and make them miss one guy, we’ll be able to take it to the house,’ and that’s exactly what he did.”
Dez Bryant had his first catch—a 4-yard gain in the third quarter—since Dec 31, 2017. He finished four receptions for 28 yards.
"We just can't put 60 minutes together as a football team," Wolfe said. "I don't know what it is."
What It Means
The Titans boosted their playoff chances with the victory. They still have a chance to win the AFC South.
The Ravens dropped two consecutive games. The offense remains inconsistent and now the defense is struggling to make tackles.
Titans: Stay on the road against AFC South rival Indianapolis. It's their second matchup in the past three weeks. The Colts beat Tennessee 34-17 in Week 10.
Ravens: Travels to Pittsburgh for a showdown on Thanksgiving night. The Steelers edged the Ravens 28-24 in Week 8.