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Patriots lead Titans 21-7 at halftime

Tom Brady, Derrick Morgan

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady passes under pressure from Tennessee Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan (91) during the first half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2018, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)


The Titans trailed the Chiefs 21-3 at halftime last week and rallied in the second half to advance. They are down “only” 21-7 tonight. But the Patriots aren’t the Chiefs, and Tom Brady isn’t Alex Smith.

In other words, the Titans are within 30 minutes of the offseason.

For one quarter, Tennessee appeared as if it was going to hang with the Patriots. The Titans’ 95-yard drive gave them a 7-0 lead and quieted Gillette Stadium.

But after that, it was all Patriots with New England outgaining the Titans 209 to 60 and outscoring them 21-0 the rest of the half.

James White scored two touchdowns on a 5-yard pass from Brady and a 6-yard run. Chris Hogan added a 4-yard touchdown catch. Both White and Hogan returned from injuries this week.

Tennessee self-destructed on offense and defense late in the half.

The Titans forced a New England three-and-out only to jump offsides on fourth-and-five, with Brynden Trawick’s miscue giving the Patriots a first down with 6:32 remaining in the second quarter.

Later in the drive, on a 7-yard pass from Brady to Danny Amendola, Erik Walden drew an unnecessary roughness penalty for punching Nate Solder in the facemask. The 7-yard penalty -- half the distance -- moved the ball to the Tennessee 6. Three plays later, Hogan scored.

The Titans then botched a chance for points late in the half with poor clock management and a questionable play call on fourth-and-one as Derrick Henry was tackled for a 5-yard loss.

Tennessee was fortunate Stephen Gostkowski missed a 53-yard field-goal attempt on the final play.

Brady has completed 21 of 31 passes for 206 yards and two touchdowns, while Mariota is 9-of-15 for 117 yards and a touchdown and leads the Titans in rushing with 31 yards on three carries.