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NFL: Titans dethrone Patriots

BRADY (AFP)

BRADY (AFP)

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Reigning champion New England was dumped from the NFL playoffs by upstart Tennessee on Saturday, the Titans taking a 20-13 road victory that could spell the end of six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady’s career.

NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry ran 34 times for 182 yards and a touchdown on his 26th birthd anniversary and former Patriot Logan Ryan returned an interception of Brady nine yards for a touchdown with nine seconds remaining for the final points to seal New England’s fate.

”We were just locked in,” Henry said. ”We wanted it. It’s a great win against a great team in a hostile environment. I’m just happy we could advance. A great team win.”

Brady, a 42-year-old quarterback who is now a free agent, could not guide the Patriots to a second-half score against a Titans defensive unit overseen by Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel, a linebacker on three Super Bowl champions with New England.

After completing 20-of-37 passes for 209 yards, Brady said it was ”pretty unlikely” he would retire even though he turns 43 before next season opens.

”Who knows what the future holds. Let’s leave it at that,” Brady said. ”I don’t know what the future looks like. I’m not going to predict it.”

The Titans advanced to a second-round matchup next Saturday at American Conference top seed Baltimore while Houston will travel to second seed Kansas City next Sunday. Both hosts had first-round byes.

Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson ran for one touchdown, threw for another, and made a stunning play to set up Ka’imi Fairbairn game-winning 28-yard field goal 11:40 into over-time as the Texans beat visiting Buffalo 22-19.

The National Football Conference playoffs begin Sunday with Minnesota at New Orleans and Seattle at Philadelphia, with top seed San Francisco and second seed Green Bay waiting to see who they will entertain next weekend.

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