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Mac Jones finishes 23 of 32 for 310 yards and two touchdowns; Kendrick Bourne records two touchdown catches include a 41-yard grab-and-go to the house; JC Jackson claims seventh interception of the season alongside forced fumble
Last Updated: 28/11/21 9:37pm
The New England Patriots flaunted their ever-growing playoff credentials as they beat the Tennessee Titans 36-13 to record their sixth straight victory and move to 8-4 on the year.
Story of the Game
Damien Harris put the game to bed with a 14-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter after JC Jackson had intercepted Ryan Tannehill on a tipped pass in the end zone amid Tennessee’s efforts to convert on fourth-and-goal while trailing 26-13.
Kendrick Bourne snagged an impressive touchdown grab in the Patriots’ opening drive of the game before skipping beyond three defenders on his way to a 41-yard catch-and-run to the house to put daylight between the two sides later in the third quarter.
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Rookie quarterback Mac Jones continued to look commanding and growing in confidence under center, going 23 of 32 for 310 yards and two touchdowns as the Patriots complemented the form of their flourishing run game by leading on their threat in the air against a strong Titans front.
Dontrell Hilliard ripped off a 68-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter to move the Titans within 16-13 and earn some welcome momentum, only for the hosts to strengthen their grip with a Nick Folk field goal followed by a forced fumble and recovery.
Hilliard finished the game with 131 rushing yards for one score off 12 carries on the ground alongside D’Onta Foreman’s 109 yards off 19 attempts as the pair were tasked with not only trying to fill the void in production left by an injured Derrick Henry, but also carrying an offense, too, missing its star receivers in AJ Brown and Julio Jones.
Passing: Ryan Tannehill, 11/21, 93 yards, 1 TD, 1 INTRushing: Dontrell Hilliard, 12 carries, 131 yards, 1 TDReceiving: Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, two catches, 25 yards, 1 TD
Passing: Mac Jones, 23/32, 310 yards, 2 TDsRushing: Rhamondre Stevenson, nine carries, 46 yardsReceiving: Jakobi Meyers, five catches, 98 yards
Bourne put the Patriots on top when he snatched Jones’ four-yard touchdown lob over Kevin Byard at the back of the end zone after Matt Judon had derailed Tennessee’s opening drive with a sack on Tannehill, taking his tally to 11.5 on the year.
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine stretched over for a one-yard touchdown on the Titans’ ensuing possession, but not before an angry Mike Vrabel was wrongly required to use the challenge flag after the play had initially been called short despite the wide receiver not being touched while going to ground before crossing the plane. Randy Bullock missed the subsequent extra point to leave Tennessee trailing.
Folk extended the Patriots’ advantage with three consecutive field goals, separated by Bullock’s missed 44-yarder, after Jones had overcooked his would-be touchdown pass to a wide-open Hunter Henry on the latter.
Hilliard tore through the Patriots’ defense for a 68-yard touchdown run to help reduce the deficit to 16-13 heading into half-time as Folk was wayward with his 53-yard effort in the final seconds.
Folk then split the posts with a 28-yard field goal to open the second half, before interception machine Jackson cut short Foreman’s 34-yard breakaway with a forced fumble recovered by team-mate Jalen Mills.
It became a 13-point game with five minutes to go in the third quarter when Bourne turned his shallow crossing route catch into a 41-yard touchdown, side-stepping Janoris Jenkins before following Jakobi Meyers’ sideline chip-block and shoving off Jayon Brown to pave his way to the end zone.
Jackson foiled another opportunity for the Titans as he collected Devin McCourty’s tip in the end zone on a pass intended for Hollister after the Titans had elected to go for it on fourth and goal, bringing a scoreless end to a 14-play, 73-yard drive last eight minutes.
Folk’s 52-yard field goal made it 29-13 before Harris ran in a 14-yard touchdown to cap the scoring at 36-13 with 4.38 remaining on the clock.
The Patriots face the Buffalo Bills on the road in Monday Night Football in Week 13, while the Titans head into a bye week before hosting the Jacksonville Jaguars.
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