Derrick Henry rushed for 195 yards and completed a dazzling touchdown pass to Corey Davis as the Tennessee Titans reached deep into their bag of tricks to shock the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens 28-12 on Saturday in the NFL playoffs.
Henry has carried the Titans on his back in the post-season and their star pulled off the trick play of the playoffs so far by connecting on a three-yard jump pass with Davis for a third-quarter touchdown.
The Titans advanced to next weekend’s AFC championship game at the winner of Sunday’s game between Houston and Kansas City.
Earlier, the San Francisco 49ers halted the Minnesota Vikings’ giant-killing run, also moving to within one win of a Super Bowl berth with a ruthless 27-10 playoff victory.
When they weren’t handing the ball off to Henry, the Titans were taking advantage of Lamar Jackson’s turnovers in front of 71,000 fans at M&T Bank Stadium.
Jackson’s unheralded counterpart, quarterback Ryan Tannehill, ran for a touchdown in the third quarter, finishing off a short six-play drive with a one-yard scamper to give Tennessee a 28-6 lead.
He improved to 3-0 as a playoff starter.
Jackson supplied the magic and force for the Ravens this season, throwing 36 touchdowns and rushing for a quarterback-record 1,206 yards, but he was unable to solve Tennessee’s defense.
It was no secret the Titans planned to give the ball over and over to Henry, who carried the sixth-seeded Titans to a stellar 20-13 upset of the third-seeded New England Patriots last weekend.
Henry, 26, carried 30 times and caught two passes against the Ravens with his longest run being 66 yards.
The Ravens set a record this season with 3,296 rushing yards but the Titans beat Baltimore at their own game, rushing for 217 yards compared to only 185 for Baltimore.
– Niners rip Vikings –
The host 49ers advanced to a home NFC championship showdown against either the Seattle Seahawks or Green Bay Packers, who meet Sunday, with a relentless defensive display to throttle the Vikings offense led by quarterback Kirk Cousins.
San Francisco running back Tevin Coleman rushed for two touchdowns while quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo finished with 131 passing yards to claim victory in his first career playoff game.
Cousins, the hero of last week’s upset over the New Orleans Saints, was given a torrid time, sacked six times by a rampant Niners defense.
“I was pumped for the defense,” said 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan.
“When you see how well the defense is playing it makes it so much easier. I think our whole team fed off it.
“Our defense just kept getting us the ball back. It was a great overall win for the whole team.”
Garoppolo marched the 49ers 61 yards in eight plays and found Kendrick Bourne with a three-yard touchdown pass. But the Vikings equalized when Cousins found Stefon Diggs for a 41-yard touchdown pass.
That was as good as it got for the Vikings offense, however, although the 49ers benefited from a slice of fortune to regain the lead.
The 49ers looked to be in trouble when Deebo Samuel appeared to fumble after a jolting tackle from Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks.
The replay booth came to San Francisco’s rescue, however, correctly spotting that Samuel had a knee down before the fumble occurred.
Buoyed by that break, the 49ers advanced to the one-yard line, where running back Coleman skipped over for the go-ahead score at 14-7.
Minnesota’s defense came up big to keep their team in touch, Kendricks reading Garoppolo’s attempted pass to Samuel to pluck the interception deep in Niners territory.
The Vikings were unable to make the most of the turnover, settling for a field goal to trail 14-10 at half-time.
San Francisco dominated the second half, extending their lead to 17-10 in the third quarter with a 35-yard Robbie Gould field goal and then exploiting a Richard Sherman to set up Coleman’s second touchdown for a 24-10 edge.
Gould added his second field goal from 21 yards to complete the scoring at the start of the fourth quarter.