NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The ending of Monday night’s national championship game will go down as one of the most exciting finishes in college football history.
Clemson beat Alabama 35-31 by scoring on two-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Deshaun Watson to receiver Hunter Renfrow with just one second remaining. It capped a nine-play, 61-yard drive that took just 2:06 off the clock.
It was a gut-check drive for the ages.
It also got me thinking, and prompted me to rank the top 10 game-winning drives in Titans history, using the following criteria: The drive ended with a game-winning touchdown – not a field goal -- in the closing moments, or it was a walk-off, game-winner in overtime. No, The Music City Miracle doesn't count.
How about these 10 finishes?
Titans 20, Cardinals 17
What happened: Trailing 17-13, the Titans took over at their own one-yard line with just 2:37 left. Quarterback Vince Young guided an incredible 18-play, 99-yard drive and capped it off with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Britt on fourth down on the game’s final play for the win.
Date: September 24, 2000
Titans 23, Steelers 20
What happened: Steve McNair wasn’t supposed to play in this one after suffering a sternum injury the previous week. When Neil O’Donnell was knocked out late, McNair was called on to save the day. With the Titans down 20-16, McNair came off the bench and completed three straight passes, including the game-winning 18-yard toss to tight end Erron Kinney with 1:25 left, to win in in dramatic fashion.
Titans, 27, Texans 24
What happened: The Titans fell behind 24-20 with just 1:48 left. Then McNair stepped in and drove the Titans 75 yards down the field on eight plays, capping it off with a 23-yard touchdown pass to receiver Drew Bennett with just 17 seconds left. Everyone remembers Bennett hushing the crowd in Houston that day.
Date: September 18, 2016
Titans 16, Lions 15
What happened: With the game on the line,
Titans 20, Chargers 17
What happened: The Titans trailed 17-13 with the ball at their own six-yard line with just 2:05 left. Quarterback Jake Locker engineered a 10-play, 94-yard drive in just 1:50 and capped it off with a 34-yard touchdown pass to receiver Justin Hunter with 15 seconds left to win it.
Date: November 24, 2013
Titans 23, Raiders 19
What happened: Things weren’t looking good for the Titans late in the Black Hole. Then quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick guided a 14-play, 80-yard drive in crunch time. He capped it off with a 10-yard touchdown pass to receiver
Titans 35, Bills 34
What happened: The Titans and Bills staged a shootout at Ralph Wilson Stadium, and the Titans fired the last shot – just in time. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck connected with receiver Nate Washington on a 15-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with just 1:03 left and the Titans pulled it out. It capped off a seven-play, 52-yard drive in 1:54.
Date: November 8, 2015
Titans 34, Saints 28
What happened: The Titans rallied to tie the game in the fourth quarter. After winning the toss to start overtime, quarterback Marcus Mariota engineered a nine-play, 80-yard drive and capped it off with a beautifully designed five-yard touchdown pass to tight end
Titans 26, Texans 20
What happened: Vince Young returned to his hometown, and delivered a dagger in overtime. On the first possession in overtime, Young engineered a five-play, 57-yard drive and ended it on a walk-off 39-yard touchdown run just 3:46 into overtime. It set off a wild celebration on the field and in the stands in Houston.
Date: October 5, 2008
Titans 13, Ravens 10
What happened: The Titans entered the fourth quarter trailing 10-3 before staging a memorable rally. Then came the fantastic finish. The Titans took over at their 20-yard line with 6:07 left. Quarterback Kerry Collins stepped into the huddle and guided the team 80 yards downfield in 11 plays and 4:11, capping it off with an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Alge Crumpler for the game-winner with just 1:56 left.