After incredible A.J. Brown catch, Sam Sloman's doinked field goal gives Titans the AFC South title

Frank Schwab
·2-min read

You shouldn’t be able to pack that much drama into 18 seconds of football.

The Tennessee Titans were backed up on their own 25-yard line with 18 seconds left, tied with the Houston Texans 38-38. With a win, the Titans were AFC South champs. A loss and the Indianapolis Colts would steal the title and get to host a playoff game in the wild-card round.

Instead of overtime, Ryan Tannehill, A.J. Brown and Sam Sloman pulled out a clutch win in regulation.

A 52-yard catch by Brown set up a field-goal attempt by Sloman on the final play. Sloman pushed it right, it hit the upright and bounced back over the crossbar to win the game and the division. Sloman was promoted off the practice squad this past week because Stephen Gostkowski was on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The Titans clinched the AFC South championship with the 41-38 win. They’ll host the Baltimore Ravens on Jan. 10.

Tennessee Titans kicker Sam Sloman (2) celebrates with teammates after kicking the game-winning field goal against the Houston Texans during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Houston. The Titans won 41-38. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)
Tennessee kicker Sam Sloman (2) celebrates with teammates after kicking the game-winning field goal against Houston. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

It looked like the Titans might blow that chance. Deshaun Watson, who has had a phenomenal season on a horrendous team, kept the Texans in the game. The Texans tied it late on a field goal. Then somehow, Houston let Brown behind the defense and Tannehill hit him on a phenomenal throw and catch. Given the stakes, that was probably the biggest play of the NFL season.

Sloman made it interesting on the final play, but it will go in the stat sheet as a made field goal. The Titans won their first division title since 2008.

Indianapolis put pressure on Tennessee to win. The Colts beat the Jaguars 28-14, meaning the Titans had to win to clinch the division or else fall to wild-card status. Even though the Texans came in with a 4-11 season, they have Watson and fought hard. Watson threw for 365 yards and three touchdowns. The Texans kept chipping away, even leading at one point, 35-31. After the Titans went up 38-35, the Texans tied it with a 51-yard field goal in the final minute. It looked like they’d be going to overtime, and that wasn’t good news for the Titans with Watson as hot as he was.

The Titans made it interesting. They came up big when they had to, and broke the Colts’ hearts in the process.

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