Countdown to Kickoff: 49 Days

One of the worst days in Titans' history included a first-rate run-stopping performance by the defense.
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The countdown to kickoff continues.

The Tennessee Titans will open the 2020 regular season Sept. 14 at Denver. That is 49 days away. So, today we look at one way the number 49 figures into the team’s recent history.

It will always be remembered as one the Tennessee Titans’ worst days.

As a result, people tend to forget just how well their defense played.

The Titans limited the Baltimore Ravens to just 49 rushing yards in the 2000 divisional playoff contest at Nissan Stadium. Baltimore won 24-10 en route to a Super Bowl victory but was unable to do one of the things it did best.

The Ravens had the NFL’s fifth-ranked rushing attack that season, and their primary back – Jamal Lewis – finished sixth in the league 1,364 yards. Then they ran the ball 140 times in their four playoff games (an average of 35 per contest) a number that only two teams have surpassed in the 19 years since, and topped 100 yards rushing in their other three postseason contests.

Against the Titans, they never gave up. But they also never got far.

Baltimore ran it 23 times among 43 offensive plays. Lewis had a couple of five-yard gains in the first quarter and “broke free” for 14 yards on a third quarter carry but finished with 47 yards on 17 attempts, which meant his other 13 attempts yielded 23 yards.

In Tennessee’s 16 playoff games from 1999-2019, only one opponent finished with fewer rushing yards. That was the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV – and their pass attempts were more than triple their rushes.

In the past 20 seasons, there have been 19 teams held to fewer than 50 rushing yards in a divisional playoff game, and only that did so despite 20 or more attempts. Those teams were a combined 5-14.

Without question, the Titans played well enough – on defense, at least – to win that day. Alas, they did not.