Talk About a Touchdown -- A.J. Brown Scored One for the Ages
It was not the play that won the game.
However, it was so astonishing that it sent social media into a frenzy and left his teammates lost for ways to properly describe it.
In a 30-24 overtime victory Sunday over the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium, second-year wide Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown added another gem to an already crowded highlight reel.
Trailing the Ravens 21-16 late in the fourth quarter, the Titans found themselves in a got-to-have-it moment. On a third-and-long from the Baltimore 14, quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw to Brown well short of the line to gain. The 6-foot, 227-pound receiver caught the ball around the 10-yard-line, shook off three Ravens defenders and ran through the last, linebacker Patrick Queen, as he reached the end zone and gave the Titans a slim lead with just over two minutes to play.
“My mindset was to get the first down,” Brown said. “I was going to try to run through the catch. … I knew I had to get a first down. We needed a touchdown, not a field goal. I was trying to do whatever it took to get the first down. I looked up and I saw the endzone, I was like, ‘Oh. I am about to score. So just hold on to the ball.’
“My teammates did a good job of pushing me in to keep me going and keep my momentum going forward.’”
Wide receiver Corey Davis, who led the Titans with five catches for 113 yards in the game, laughed and called it what it was, a crazy play.
“That’s who he is though,” Davis said. “... I am sitting there watching him break four, five tackles. He’s a relentless player. He’s a guy who has faced a lot of adversity as well. That’s a guy who is going to fight to the end and keep going. Happy he’s on our side, I will tell you that.”
Coach Mike Vrabel’s mind raced as he watched Brown race through the Ravens defense and to the end zone for his seventh touchdown of the season, one short of his team-leading total from a year ago.
“I thought the effort from everybody was outstanding,” Vrabel said. “Certainly, of A.J. on that play. It went from, ‘Are we going to kick a field goal?’ To, ‘OK, maybe we are close enough to go for it.’ To, ‘What’s going to be our goal line play to going for two?’
“That was a lot of emotions going through my mind as he was running.”
It was not Brown’s only big play on the scoring drive, though.
To get the Titans inside the Ravens 15-yard line, he turned a short reception into a 25-yard gain -- his longest play of the day. During the run after that catch, he evaded multiple defenders before he was pushed out of bounds at the 14.
“He made some really big plays for us,” Tannehill, who completed 22 of 31 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns, said. “... He was able to break three, four tackles and pretty much will his way into the end zone. It was a pretty amazing play to watch happen.
“Pair that one with the play he made a couple plays before on the left side, where he again broke three or four tackles and was able to keep going, gaining yards up the sideline. It was really cool. Glad to be a part of it.”
In total, Brown had four catches on seven targets for 62 yards against Baltimore. While he has had a handful of frustrating drops in recent weeks, including one against the Ravens, he all but made up for it by showcasing his game-breaking ability again.
“Unfortunately, in this league, I am going to drop some more. I am not trying to drop anything,” Brown said. “Definitely just trying to make a play when my number is called. In the second half, I got an opportunity and I made the most of it.”