NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans desperately needed to beat the Redskins to keep pace in the AFC wild-card race. With Blaine Gabbert and Derrick Henry coming through on a crucial drive, they found a way.
Gabbert's 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Mycole Pruitt with 4 minutes, 30 seconds to play, punctuating a go-ahead drive on which Henry did most of the damage, was perhaps the biggest play of a 25-16 win over the Redskins on Saturday. It kept the Titans (9-6) tied with the Baltimore Ravens (9-6) for the final spot in the AFC wild-card race.
"You always have to be ready when your number is called. It was just go win the game," Gabbert said of the drive. "We needed a touchdown. I think we were down four at that point. Derrick Henry did a great job churning up some tough yards. And then [offensive coordinator] Matt [LaFleur] had that great call on the keeper down there on the goal line. He ran the ball a couple of times in that formation in the game, and Mycole popped right open."
Henry carried the ball four times for 32 yards on the seven-play drive that covered 75 yards. His physical runs set up an easy play-action throw for a touchdown.
For Gabbert, it was sweet to be back on the field with a chance to huddle up with his teammates. It's something the eight-year veteran said he misses now that he is a backup.
If the Steelers lose to the Saints on Sunday, the Titans will be in control of their AFC wild-card destiny in Week 17. But no matter what happens, they must win next Sunday against Andrew Luck and the Colts (8-6). And the Titans might have to do it without starting quarterback Marcus Mariota, who was injured at the end of the first half and diagnosed with a stinger.
"We had full trust when Blaine got in the game that he was going to drive down the field and score on that last drive. We have full trust in him no matter what happens going forward," safety Kevin Byard said.
If Mariota isn't able to play, the bulk of the load on offense will be on Henry's shoulders. The Titans are 5-0 when Henry carries the ball 15 or more times. Henry doesn't have any concern if they must lean on Gabbert.
"Blaine has that attitude," Henry said. "He has that killer instinct. I don't think anything scares him. He doesn't shy away from anything. He goes in there like he's the starter. One man goes down, you have to step up."