HOUSTON – AFC South champs. ✅
No.1 seed in the AFC. ✅.
Now, it's on to the playoffs for the Tennessee Titans, who took care of business with a 28-25 win over the Texans here on Sunday before a crowd dominated by Titans fans at NRG Stadium.
The tone after the game: Celebrate, but not too much.
"You celebrate a win," Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan said. "(And) we accomplished in the season what we wanted to accomplish. However it looked, we did it. Finishing as the No. 1 seed, it's awesome. But it's for real now.
"We have to clean up a bunch of stuff and get ready to play some ball in two weeks."
The win gave the franchise its first 12-win season for the first time since 2008, when those Titans went 13-3.
The win also gave the 12-5 Titans a 5-1 division record for the second straight year.
Most importantly, the win gave the Titans the No.1 seed in the AFC – and a first-round playoff bye.
"We took care of business and put ourselves in a good position," Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "That's all it is: A good position. We have to go out and play our best football here in the coming weeks. That's what great teams do. That's what the team that ultimately wins the whole thing will do, is play their best football and win games in January into February."
While other teams open playoff action next weekend, the Titans will have the weekend off.
They'll play the weekend of January 22-23 at Nissan Stadium vs an opponent to be determined.
"We are a No.1 seed, and these things don't happen that often," Titans safety Kevin Byard said. "It's very significant. We've got guys in the locker room that's never been a No. 1 seed, and been in the league 10-plus years. So we definitely have to relish in this moment, and understand that this is big time.
"… It's going to be great to have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, because the way our Titans fans traveled today, I would definitely expect them to be packing out Nissan Stadium for the next playoff game, the Divisional Round."
Tannehill led the way on Sunday, as he threw three touchdown passes in the first half, and four TDs in the game.
Tannehill's biggest touchdown pass came in the fourth quarter, when he connected with receiver Julio Jones for a three-yard touchdown to give the Titans a 28-18 lead with seven minutes left. It capped an eight-play, 75-yard scoring drive that came after the Texans had scored 18 straight second half points.
Tannehill escaped a sack, and connected with receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine for a 36-yard gain, to jumpstart the drive when it looked like disaster was unfolding on third down.
"I thought the play was over," Titans receiver A.J. Brown said with a smile. "I saw the dude jump on his back. I immediately stopped because I'm like, man, it's a sack. But somehow, he came out and saw Nick, and it was a great play."
But the Texans didn't fold, as quarterback Davis Mills connected with receiver Danny Ammendola for a 26-yard touchdown to make it 28-25 with 4:04 left.
Then, the Titans held on.
"That was a hell of a job by Ryan," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said of Tannehill. "That's what I just told the team. Came up with some huge plays. I thought he was in command most of the day executing and stuff. We tried to hit some throws down the field. Unfortunately, we weren't able to, but just his ability to keep some plays live in the pocket I thought were really cool. We took care of the football. All credit goes the players and Ryan obviously. Nick Westbrook coming up with a huge play when we were leaking oil, just the way that they understand the situation there at the end to be able to finish the game in four minutes."
The Titans were slow out of the starting gate, and they found themselves in a scoreless tie with the Texans at the end of the first quarter after a missed field goal by kicker Randy Bullock from 42 yards out.
But the Titans got off the mat in the second quarter, when they scored three touchdowns while taking a commanding lead.
A five-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to tight end Anthony Firkser capped an 11-play, 94-yard drive to give the Titans a 7-0 lead.
After an impressive defensive series that included four tackles for a loss on five plays, the Titans got the ball back, and went to work again. A nine-play, 85-yard drive was capped off with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to Brown, which made it 14-0 with 1:34 left in the first half.
After another defensive stop, a four-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to Westbrook-Ikhine made it 21-0 Titans just 11 seconds before halftime.
The Titans were dominant on defense early, before struggling late.
The Texans managed just nine yards on 11 rushing attempts in the first half, when they managed just four first downs and 67 yards of offense.
The Texans showed some life in the third quarter, however, as they cut the lead to 21-10 on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Mills to receiver Chris Moore, and a 31-yard field goal by kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn.
Things then got serious in the fourth quarter, as the Texans cut the lead to 21-18 on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Mills to Danny Amendola, and the subsequent two-point conversion, with 11:40.
Then came the late-game drama, and some anxious moments.
And, finally, a celebration.
See ya in the playoffs at Nissan Stadium.
"It definitely gives us an advantage, home field advantage, a lot of momentum," Brown said of the No.1 seed. "But we still got to come out and play ball. Clean up a couple drives in the second half, clean that up, and just do what we do. So, I'm excited. I know we're excited. But at the end of the day, we know we got to be clean because playoff ball is different. It's a new season."
The Tennessee Titans take on the Houston Texans in Week 18 at NRG Stadium.