Titans stifle Tom Brady and the Patriots in upset win
NASHVILLE, Tenn. –Tom Brady added another big chunk of NFL history to his resume.
The Tennessee Titans made sure the Patriots quarterback didn’t finish his 300th game.
The Titans sacked Brady three times and hit him repeatedly as they beat New England 34-10 Sunday, snapping a seven-game skid against the Patriots in Mike Vrabel’s first game as head coach against the team he helped win three Super Bowls.
It was the most sacks allowed in a game this season by the Patriots (7-3), and coach Bill Belichick pulled Brady for Brian Hoyer midway through the fourth quarter.
Only Brett Favre (326) has played in more games, both regular season and postseason, as a quarterback than Brady. The three-time NFL MVP also needed only three touchdown passes to tie Peyton Manning (579) for the NFL record for most TD passes all time for both the regular season and postseason. He left having thrown for 254 yards and no TD passes.
Marcus Mariota capped each of the first two drives with TD passes, and Drrick Henry ran for a pair of TDs. Ryan Succop also added two field goals as the Titans (5-4) scored a season high in points after jumping out to a 17-3 lead in the first quarter. They now have beaten both of last season’s Super Bowl teams in Nashville.
The loss snaps a six-game winning streak going into New England’s bye. The Patriots, who routed the Titans 35-14 in January, also lost to Tennessee for the first time since Dec. 16, 2002.
Tennessee fired coach Mike Mularkey after that loss and hired Vrabel to try to recreate the Patriots’ winning ways with the Titans. Vrabel hired Dean Pees, a former Patriots linebackers coach and defensive coordinator, as his defensive coordinator. General manager Jon Robinson, who started in New England, signed cornerback Malcolm Butler and running back Dion Lewis in free agency.
Darius Jennings opened the game with a 58-yard kickoff return, and Mariota capped the drive with a 4-yard TD pass to Jonnu Smith. The Titans never trailed again.
The Titans came in with the NFL’s stingiest scoring defense and also leading the league in fewest touchdowns allowed in the red zone. They held the Patriots to a pair of 52-yard field-goal attempts by Stephen Gostkowski, who missed his second wide left. James Develin scored on a 1-yard TD run early in the second, which pulled New England within 17-10.
Brady looked ready to pull off another amazing comeback, driving the Pats to the Titans 37. But the Titans stopped Brady a yard shy of the first down. A false start followed, then Ryan broke up a Brady pass to Edelman to turn the ball over. On the very next play, Vrabel called his own trick play with Jennings throwing to a wide-open Mariota for a 21-yard gain.
Hoyer replaced Brady on the next drive.
Patriots left tackle Trent Brown missed the final drive of the first half and was announced as questionable to return because of illness. LaAdrian Waddle replaced him for that seies, but Brown returned for the first start of the third quarter. Brown left later in the third quarter with an injured back. Receiver Julian Edelman hurt an ankle and didn’t return. Tight end Dwayne Allen also hurt a knee in the third quarter.
Titans running back David Fluellen picked up 16 yards on back-to-back runs, then went down untouched on the next play with a knee injury.
Patriots: Bye, then visit Jets on Nov. 25.
Titans: Visit Indianapolis.