The Patriots' Fall Is Complete

And Brady's career is up in the air, though he says he'll be back next season
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 5, 2020 12:03 AM CST
The Patriots' Fall Is Complete
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady walks to the sideline after throwing an interception late in the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff game against the Tennessee Titans, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass.   (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)

When the eerie Foxborough fog lifted, it became clear that New England's reign atop the NFL was ending. Derrick Henry ensured that with the kind of dominating playoff performance usually reserved for Tom Brady and the Patriots. Henry rushed for 182 yards and a touchdown while Tennessee's defense stymied Brady and perhaps ended his championship-filled New England career with a 20-13 wild-card victory Saturday night. Brady vows to be back on an NFL field next season, but the AP reports that his contract with the Patriots is done. “I love the Patriots,'' the 42-year Brady said, adding about leaving the game after 20 seasons: “I would say it's pretty unlikely, hopefully unlikely. I love playing football. I don't know what it looks like moving forward.” As for this defeat, the Patriots' fourth as a wild card, Brady noted: “They kind of stopped us in the first half and the second half and we couldn't get the job done.''

The Patriots, who made the last three Super Bowls and won two, stalled repeatedly with the ball. They no longer were the bullies on the block—Henry was. “We were just locked in," Henry said. “It’s a great win against a great team in a hostile environment." There had been no scoring in the second half when All-Pro Brett Kern's 58-yard punt that took up 10 of the final 25 seconds rolled down at the New England 1. Brady then was picked by former Patriot Logan Ryan for a 9-yard touchdown to finish off the Patriots (12-5), who at one point were 8-0. But New England's spotty attack flopped and never revived. That has not been unusual during the second half of the schedule. Tennessee QB Ryan Tannehill now has five victories over Brady, second only to Peyton Manning's six for the most by an opposing QB since 2001, including playoffs. Meanwhile, Buffalo lost 22-19 to Houston on Saturday in overtime.

(More NFL playoffs stories.)

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