New England Patriots

The Patriots will play in the AFC Championship Game for the seventh straight season after dominating the Tennessee Titans 35-14 on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro.

Tom Brady returned to his MVP form after posting an 81.6 passer rating in his final five games of the regular season. He finished 35-for-53 for 337 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions on the night. He completed passes to seven different receivers.

Brady’s favorite target on the night was receiver Danny Amendola, who made 11 catches for 112 yards on 13 targets. Rob Gronkowski added six catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.

Gronkowski moved into a tie for third place all-time among all pass-catchers in postseason touchdowns. His 81 yards were also just enough to pass Shannon Sharpe and Keith Jackson for second all-time in career postseason receiving yards by a tight end (835).

Rob Gronkowski is tackled after catching a touchdown pass during the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 13, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski is tackled after catching a touchdown pass during the AFC Divisional Playoff game at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 13, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The key drive of the game came in the second quarter with the Patriots up 14-7. Forced to punt from their own 14-yard line, the Patriots initially got flagged for a false start penalty. Referee Ron Torbert’s crew eventually reversed the call to a neutral zone infraction on the Titans’ Brynden Trawick, which gave the Patriots a first down. The Pats then drove 86 yards on 13 plays to build a 21-7 lead that they took to halftime.

Patriots running back Dion Lewis recognized the importance of the Titans’ penalty as well as anyone.

“It was huge,” Lewis told reporters after the game. “Whenever a team makes a mistake, you got to capitalize on that. They made a mistake and as an offense, we have to capitalize. We can’t let them give us a chance and not capitalize.”

Tom Brady of the New England Patriots hands the ball to Dion Lewis in the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 13, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady of the New England Patriots hands the ball to Dion Lewis in the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Tennessee Titans at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 13, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tennessee put the pressure on the Patriots early, finishing the first quarter with a 7-0 lead. On just their second possession of the game, quarterback Marcus Mariota passed to tight end Delanie Walker for 36 yards on the first play. Ten plays later, rookie receiver Corey Davis made a spectacular one-handed catch in the back of the end zone to give the Titans their first and only lead of the game.

Brady and the Patriots answered that drive with a touchdown of their own, as Dion Lewis picked up 31 yards on a catch-and-run that was initially ruled a 50-yard touchdown. After the officials ruled Lewis down by contact, he and James White combined for the final 24 yards to tie the game at 7 on White’s first touchdown of the game.

Lewis totaled 141 yards on 24 total touches. White only had eight touches, but scored touchdowns on two of them.

Up Next…

The Patriots await the winner of Sunday’s Steelers-Jaguars divisional playoff. They will host the AFC Championship Game next Sunday, Jan. 21 at 3 p.m. at Gillette Stadium.