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Derrick Henry’s Proud Farewell and Other Takeaways from the Tennessee Titans' Season-Ending Win

The Tennessee Titans' inspired effort featured Derrick Henry's 153 rushing yards and then his postgame thank-you to the Nissan Stadium fans.

NASHVILLE — Fueled by farewell performances from running back Derrick Henry and quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the Tennessee Titans ended the regular season Sunday with a 28-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Henry rushed for a season-high 153 yards, scored a touchdown, and surpassed 100 yards for the 41st time in his eight-year career, breaking a franchise record set by Earl Campbell. After the win, with a microphone in hand, Henry addressed the Nissan Stadium crowd. 

"Titans fans, I just want to say thank you for the greatest eight years of my life. The ups and the downs, y'all have been there for everything. Through the adversity, watching me grow as a person and a player, always supporting me. I love y'all.

"I love seeing the 22 jerseys in the stadium. Hopefully, I was an inspiration to all the young kids and everybody in the community. Just thank y'all so much. God is good, and Titan up, baby."

Henry's curtain call was the happy ending the Titans needed after a 6-12 season. Their inspired performance, which included three fourth-down stands by the defense, upended the playoff picture.

The Jaguars, who were advertising playoff tickets a month ago, are out after losing for the fifth time in six games. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills are in. The Titans, who will miss the playoffs for a second consecutive season, will have the No. 7 pick in the NFL Draft.

Here are some other subplots from Sunday's season finale.

Ryan Tannehill gets one last ride

Tannehill, starting because quarterback of the future Will Levis missed the game with a foot injury, took advantage of his last opportunity, completing 17 of 26 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns. 

Tannehill's contract is expiring and he acknowledged after the game that he sees the writing on the wall about the end of his tenure with the Titans.

“It was a fun day for a lot of different reasons, but to be able to finish the season out, finish my time out here with a win, was a lot of fun and felt really good," Tannehill said.

Since he was a short-timer, Tannehill also said he was willing to "go rogue" if it meant helping wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins hit his contract incentives. 

"I’ve got nothing to lose here," Tannehill said. "I’m out anyways, so what are they going to do?"

Hopkins cashes out

With help from Tannehill, Hopkins added seven (catches) and 46 (yards) and arrived at $500,000 — his bonus for reaching 75 receptions and 1,057 yards. Two of those catches were remarkable one-handed grabs.

"I had guys on the sideline and some of the coaches reminding me of what was going on. I didn't really want to be out there thinking about it and try to do more than I needed to," Hopkins said. "I've been playing this game a long time. Just let it come to you."

Two interceptions were crucial

The Titans entered the game with a league-low four picks. On Sunday, they intercepted Trevor Lawrence twice in the first half — Terrell Edmunds on a diving catch of a deflection and Sean Murphy-Bunting on an errant throw. One of those turnovers was converted into a touchdown drive.

"Well, we caught the one that he threw to us," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. "So that one, you start there. The other one, we were able to challenge, and guys ran to the football. So there, you get tipped. But you got to start by catching the ones that they throw you. And whatever mistake they make, you have to be able to capitalize on it." 

Defense makes a stand — three times

Three times in the second half, the Titans stopped Jaguars drives on downs and none was bigger than a goal-line stop in the fourth quarter.

With a little more than seven minutes remaining in the game, the score 28-20, the Jaguars had two tries from the Titans' 1-yard line. Lawrence threw incomplete on third down. On fourth down, he jumped and reached over the pile with the ball extended in his right arm in an attempt to cross the goal line. Nose tackle Quinton Bohanna threw Lawrence backward.

"I mean, we got a great surge inside somebody, I think maybe it was Keondre (Coburn)," Vrabel said. "Again, we had plenty of mistakes, but we were able to overcome those, and I felt like that was something that continued to show, is that one play, whether it's good or bad, isn't going to dictate this game." 

  • VRABEL SAYS 'SUCKS TO LOSE': Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel expressed his disdain for losing during Tuesday's press conference, saying ''it sucks to lose. It f------ sucks losing.'' He's hoping the Titans can win their season finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. CLICK HERE
  • LACK OF INTERCEPTIONS: Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel said he's been concerned with the team being last in the NFL in interceptions. The Titans have picked off a league-worst four passes entering the season finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars. CLICK HERE
  • VRABEL WANTS TO STAY: Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel wants to stay in Nashville, and he said he has a good relationship with first-year general manager Ran Carthon. He also told fans not to believe everything they see on social media. CLICK HERE
  • WHAT ABOUT VRABEL'S FUTURE?: Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel will likely meet next week with team leadership to discuss his future with the team. The ESPN report also suggests that Vrabel and the Titans could be open to a trade to another team. CLICK HERE