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Three Game-Winning Drives: A Comparison

They did not start at the same place or cover as much ground in the same way, but they all ended with the Stephen Gostkowski field goal -- and the Titans on top.

The Tennessee Titans’ 31-30 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday was nothing new.

That is not to say that winning in dramatic fashion ever gets old – or repetitive.

For the third time in as many games, the Titans’ offense produced a fourth-quarter, game-winning drive capped by a Stephen Gostkowski field goal.

However, the situation and the resolution has been different each time. Twice, the Titans had to come from behind. Once they had to break a tie. Once they started with the ball 10 yards from midfield. Another time they were just 10 yards from their own goal line. The difference between Gostkowski’s longest and shortest game-winners is 30 yards.

Still, Tennessee has come out on top every time.

“We have a lot of confidence,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “Obviously, we’ve been in that situation three weeks in a row. We got a lot of reps at it in practice and now in games as well. There’s a lot of confidence there. … Proud of our guys and our focus and our attention to detail in those tight moments.

“We believe in each other. We stick together and kind of keep fighting.”

Here is a comparison of the Titans’ game-winning drives from the first three weeks of the 2020 NFL season:


at Denver

The situation: The Titans trailed by one, 14-13, when they got the ball at their own 10. The offense had gone three-and-out with just five yards gained on its preceding two possessions.

Time remaining: 3:05.

How they got there: Gostkowski missed a PAT just over a minute into the fourth quarter (he also missed three earlier field goals) and the Broncos responded with a touchdown drive of their own (plus a successful PAT) on the ensuing drive.

The drive: 12 plays, 83 yards, 2:48 off the clock. Five completed passes for 40 yards. Four runs for 27 yards. One penalty for 16 yards.

What happened: Tannehill completed his first four passes to four different receivers, Adam Humphries, Corey Davis, Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown to get things going. After a pass interference penalty got the Titans across midfield and made it first-and-10 from the Broncos’ 35, Henry carried three times in the next four plays and gained 22 yards. On third-and-1, Tannehill overthrew an open Brown in the end zone.

The kick: 25 yards with 17 seconds to play.

They said it: “To be able to move the ball down and grind out some clock and some yards to get us down there into chip-shot range, was huge. We've got a lot of faith in Ryan to get us in the right play and operate our offense.” – Vrabel


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vs. Jacksonville

The situation: The score was tied 30-30 and the offense got the ball at its own 40 following a short punt (35) that went out of bounds.

Time remaining: 3:29

How they got there: The Titans had a 14-point lead in the first half before Jacksonville scored on four straight possessions – three touchdowns, one field goal – and pulled even with 7:25 to play. Tennessee’s defense finally got a stop and forced a punt that gave the ball back to the offense with time to work.

The drive: 8 plays, 29 yards, 1:53. Three runs for 11 yards. Two completed passes for 10 yards. One penalty for 8 yards.

What happened: Henry got things going with two carries for 11 yards. Tannehill three two passes to tight end Anthony Firkser, one that drew a critical pass interference penalty on third-and-5 from the Jaguars’ 44 and a five-yard completion on the final play before the field goal.

The kick: 49 yards with 1:36 to play.

They said it: “We know whatever situation is called upon us, man, we've got to execute.

It was very similar to (the previous) week. I had all the faith in our kicker to go out there and do his thing like he's been doing the past few years. We got down there, and he got it done.” – tight end Jonnu Smith


at Minnesota

The situation: The Titans trailed 30-28 when they got the ball at their own 19 remaining after having scored on each of their previous three possessions (two touchdowns, one field goal).

Time remaining: 3:42.

How they got there: Tennessee overcame a 12-point third-quarter deficit when Henry delivered a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs 2:31 apart before the start of the fourth. With a chance to hold the lead, the defense allowed a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that included just one first down, after which the Vikings elected to go for two to try to make it a seven-point lead. They did not get it, and Gostkowski’s 54-yard field goal 6:31 to play cut the deficit to two.

The drive: 9 plays, 44 yards, 1:58. Four completed passes for 34 yards. Two runs for 10 yards.

What happened: The offense ran five plays – three Tannehill completions (two to tight end Jonnu Smith) for 33 yards sandwiched between a pair of Henry 5-yard runs – prior to the two-minute warning. After that, three passes produced one yard, two incompletions and ran eight seconds off the clock (Minnesota did use its final timeout).

The kick: 55 yards with 1:44 to play.

They said it: “We just keep pushing, keep fighting and sticking together. There’s no quit. We want to finish games with the ball in our hands and us with an opportunity to win.” – running back Derrick Henry