On a weekend where several of the NFL's top-seeded teams were upset in the playoffs, the Titans were no exception. After earning the AFC's number one seed for the first time since 2008, the Titans were in control of their destiny. However, doom and gloom soon followed as the Titans fell short in a 19-16 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. This game marked the third-straight playoff loss for the Titans, dating back to the 2019 season when they last made it to the AFC Championship.
In this low-scoring affair, the Titans' defense was unstoppable. Tennessee tied an NFL playoff record with nine sacks against the Bengals. Defensive lineman Jeffrey Simmons led the way with a game-high three sacks on Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. However, the defense alone was not enough to overcome the three crucial interceptions thrown by Ryan Tannehill.
This game also saw the return of Derrick Henry in the starting lineup after missing several weeks due to a foot injury. In his return, Henry carried the ball 20 times to go along with his 62 rushing yards and rushing touchdown in his first game back. Wide receiver AJ Brown had one of the biggest games of his career with 148 receiving yards and a touchdown.
On the other hand, Cincinnati's offense was firing on all cylinders, with the dynamic tandem of Joe Burrow and Jamarr Chase on full display. Burrow passed for 348 yards and one interception, while rookie Jamarr Chase became the first rookie with multiple 100-yard receiving games in the playoffs with 109 yards. Running Back Joe Mixon gained 105 yards from scrimmage and rushed for Cincinnati's only touchdown of the game.
The ability of this Titans roster to make it this far was a miracle in itself. Tennessee played an NFL record of 91 players during the regular season and set this record by week 12 of the NFL season. The most significant injury came from All-Pro running back Derrick Henry in week eight. Despite the odds, the team earned the best record in the AFC with a 12-5 record.
The Titans now look ahead to the 2022 NFL draft to make necessary adjustments to their roster for the 2022 NFL season.