(Reuters) – Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill shocked the top-ranked Baltimore Ravens with two early touchdown passes as the sixth-seeded Titans upset the Ravens 28-12 in an NFL playoff game on Saturday.
Running back Derrick Henry then broke the Ravens’ backs with a jump-pass touchdown in the third quarter while dominating on the ground with 195 rushing yards.
The San Francisco 49ers also were winners, advancing to the National Football Conference (NFC) championship with a 27-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
But the stunner was the Titans’ American Football Conference (AFC) win over the Ravens and the way they did it.
Tannehill staked Tennessee to a 14-0 lead with touchdown passes first and second quarters and later ran for another.
In between, Henry worked his magic with his bruising runs and a three-yard jump-pass touchdown to Corey Davis that pushed the Titans lead to 21-6.
“We don’t do too much talking,” Henry said. “We just go work and believe in each other. That’s our mentality.
“We’re just locked in.”
The surprising Titans will meet the winner of Sunday’s Houston Texans-Kansas City Chief’s game for the American Football Conference (AFC) title next Sunday.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, the league’s likely most valuable player, passed for 365 yards but was intercepted twice.
San Francisco will host Sunday’s Seattle-Green Bay winner for the NFC title on Jan. 19.
The Super Bowl between the conference champions is set for Feb. 2 in Miami.
Running back Tevin Coleman’s two short touchdowns and an aggressive defense powered the 49ers past the Vikings.
The top-seeded 49ers never trailed, their defense holding the Vikings to 21 yards rushing and 147 total yards.
Minnesota had only seven first downs as Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins could not get on track and was sacked six times.
Top Vikings running back Dalvin Cook was held to a mere 18 yards.
The 49ers’ offensive line also was effective, controlling the game up front.
“Those guys did very well, they moved the guys back, so I could have clear holes to run through,” Coleman, who scored on runs of one and two yards and rushed for 105 yards, told reporters.
“It’s an amazing feeling.”
The proud San Francisco franchise had not been in the playoffs since the 2013 season.
“We’ve got some things to clean up, but we played well enough to win and that’s all you can ask for,” said 49ers tight end George Kittle. “Playoff football anyone can win and we just made more plays today.”
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo got the 49ers rolling, hitting Kendrick Bourne with a three-yard touchdown pass during their opening drive.
He completed 11 of 19 passes for 131 yards and one interception.
Minnesota came back to tie the score on Cousins’ 41-yard pass to Stefon Diggs, but Coleman’s first touchdown put San Francisco ahead 14-7.
The teams traded field goals before the 49ers put the game out of reach 24-10 on Coleman’s second touchdown run after Richard Sherman’s interception of Cousin.
Robbie Gould’s second field goal for San Francisco, which covered 21 yards, ended the scoring at 27-10.
Cousins, who had led Minnesota to a surprising overtime win over the New Orleans Saints last weekend, passed for 172 yards this time, connecting on 21 of 29 attempts with an interception.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Christian Schmollinger)