By The Associated Press
The Latest on wild-card Sunday in the NFL playoffs (all times EST):
Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler intercepted a Lamar Jackson pass on on a ball that looked like it intended for the Titans cornerback instead of Ravens receiver Miles Boykin.
Butler’s takeaway led to a 45-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski, who was activated off the reserve/covid-19 list earlier this week. That gave Tennessee a 10-0 lead with 1:38 left in the first quarter of their AFC wild card game.
This was Butler’s first playoff interception since Super Bowl 49 when he picked off Russell Wilson’s pass at the goal line in the closing seconds to preserve New England’s 28-24 win over the Seahawks.
Tennessee forced three turnovers in beating Baltimore in the divisional round a year ago. The Titans led the NFL with a plus-11 in turnover margin with Butler tied for the team-lead with four interceptions during the regular season.
The Titans have taken the lead in their AFC wild-card game with the Baltimore Ravens.
Both teams opened with a three-and-out. Then the Titans went on a 10-play, 70-yard drive with Ryan Tannehill throwing a 10-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Brown with 5:39 left in the first quarter.
Malcolm Butler intercepted Lamar Jackson on the Ravens’ ensuing possession.
Tannehill threw for a career-high 33 touchdowns this season. He has started this game completing 6 of 7 for 70 yards, and Brown has been his best target with 52 yards receiving on three catches.
The Ravens have been putting five and six defenders on the line to slow down NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry. He has five carries for just seven yards to open this game.
The road team has won each of the first four playoff games between these teams. Tennessee won in Baltimore last year in the divisional round, upsetting the then-No. 1 seeded Ravens.
The Cleveland Browns have no new positive COVID-19 tests Sunday after nearly a week of issues leading into their first playoff game in almost two decades.
The Browns will be without coach Kevin Stefanski for Sunday night’s wild-card game in Pittsburgh. He tested positive with the virus Tuesday along with Pro Bowl guard Joel Bitonio, who will also miss the game.
Top cornerback Denzel Ward won’t play either after testing positive. The Browns did get safety Ronnie Harrison, tight end Harrison Bryant and linebacker Malcolm Smith back to face the Steelers.
It’s not yet known if they’ll have All-Pro right tackle Jack Conklin. He was listed as questionable with an “illness” and traveled separately to Pittsburgh.
In addition to Stefanski, the Browns are also without several assistants, including offensive line coach Bill Callahan.
Cleveland is making its first playoff appearance since the 2002 season. The Browns are facing two other major droughts: They’ve lost 17 straight at Heinz Field and haven’t won a road playoff game since 1969.
The Ravens-Titans playoff game features two of the NFL’s best ground games.
The Titans are led by running back Derrick Henry, who’s 2,027 rushing yards this season was the fifth-most in NFL history. Henry led the league with 17 touchdown runs.
Henry ran for 195 yards in the Titans’ 28-12 win over Baltimore in last year’s playoffs. That was his third career playoff game with 150 or more rushing yards, one game shy of Hall of Famer Terrell Davis’ record.
The Ravens rushed for 404 yards at Cincinnati last weekend, the fourth-highest single-game total since 1950.
Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson this season became the first quarterback in NFL history with at least 1,000 rushing yards in multiple seasons.
And Baltimore rookie running back J.K. Dobbins rushed for 805 yards and nine touchdowns in 2020. He’s had a TD run in each of his last six games.
It’s Day 2 of the NFL’s wild card weekend beginning with a rematch from last year when the Ravens visit the Titans.
That’s followed up by the Bears visiting the Saints and the night game pits the Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh. The Browns are making their first playoff appearance since 2002.
To advance, the Browns will have to end a 17-game losing streak at Pittsburgh.
In Saturday’s wild card games, the Bills edged the Colts 27-24, the Rams won at Seattle 30-20 and Tampa Bay won at Washington 31-23.
That was the Buccaneers’ first playoff victory since they beat Oakland in Super Bowl 37 on Jan. 26, 2003.
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