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Patriots Reclaim First Place With Blowout Win Over Titans

BOSTON (CBS) -- The Patriots were bumped out of first place in the AFC East on Thanksgiving. It didn't take them long to reclaim their spot.

The Patriots applied a slow-and-steady approach on Sunday, turning a 16-13 halftime lead into a 36-13 advantage in the fourth quarter. That score held for the final, as the Patriots improved to 8-4 on the season, winning their sixth straight game.

Mac Jones was solid yet again, completing 23 of his 32 passes (71.9 percent) for 310 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also had two rushes for 11 yards, while taking two sacks for a loss of 21 yards.

Kendrick Bourne caught five passes for 61 yards, catching both of Jones' touchdowns. Rhamondre Stevenson (nine rushes, 46 yards) and Damien Harris (11 carries, 40 yards) combined for an efficient 86 rushing yards, with Harris scoring the touchdown that put the Patriots up by 23 points.

Nick Folk was 5-for-6 on field goals, with the lone miss coming from 53 yards before halftime.

Ryan Tannehill was 11-for-21 for 93 yards with one touchdown and one interception for Tennessee. The Titans ran for 270 yards but had little to show for it, thanks to three lost fumbles.

The game began with a Matthew Judon sack on third down, forcing a Titans three-and-out on their opening drive. After a Titans penalty on the punt and then a 15-yard punt return by Gunner Olszewski, the Patriots took over at Tennessee's 37-yard line. Brandon Bolden converted a third-and-10 by tiptoeing up the left sideline, and Kendrick Bourne hauled in a difficult catch in the corner of the end zone to give the Patriots a 7-0 lead.

The Titans responded, though, with a marathon touchdown driving, going 74 yards on 14 plays. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine was initially ruled down short of the goal line on a third-and-goal pass from the 1-yard line, but a Mike Vrabel challenge was successful, and the Titans were on the board. Randy Bullock's PAT attempt, however, was no good, so the Patriots maintained a 7-6 lead.

The Patriots then drove 85 yards to the Titans' 4-yard line before settling for a field goal to take a 10-6 lead.

Tannehill missed an open Chester Rogers on a third-and-4 on the Titans' next possession, and Bullock again clanked a kick off the right upright. This field goal attempt was no good from 44 yards, and the Patriots kept their 10-6 lead intact.

The Patriots' ensuing drive included a rather challenging catch made by Jakobi Meyers. With Kevin Byard flashing across his face, Meyers kept his concentration and hauled in Jones' deep shot for a gain of 38 yards.

A completion to Nelson Agholor on third-and-8, though, didn't move the sticks, and the Patriots settled for another field goal. Folk's 37-yarder was good, giving New England a 13-6 lead.

Davon Godchaux forced a fumble from Dontrel Hilliard on Tennessee's next possession, and Kyle Dugger recovered at the New England 32-yard line. A 19-yard catch-and-run by Brandon Bolden and a 15-yard facemask penalty on Jackrabbit Jenkins moved the Patriots deep into Titans territory, but Jones badly overthrew a wide open Hunter Henry on a third-and-7 from the 26-yard line, resulting in another field goal try for Folk. The 44-yarder was good, and the Patriots stretched their lead to 16-6.

New England was unable to take that lead into halftime, though, as Hilliard made up for his fumble by busting through the middle of the line, juking Devin McCourty in the open field, and flying down the field for a 65-yard touchdown. The successful PAT cut New England's lead to 16-13 before halftime.

Folk's 53-yard field goal attempt before halftime twisted wide to the right, and the score stayed at 16-13 at halftime.

A 37-yard Olszewski kick return and a 15-yard facemask penalty on the Titans had the Patriots starting out at midfield in the third quarter. And though they drove to the 17-yard line, Jones threw two consecutive incompletions --  one of which slipped out of his hand on a screen, the other of which could have been intercepted -- and then came up short on a third-down scramble. Folk tacked on another field goal to make it a 19-13 lead.

On the Titans' next drive, D'Onta Foreman broke free for a 31-yard gain, but J.C. Jackson crept in from behind and knocked the ball loose. Jalen Mills recovered it just before falling out of bounds, squashing a Titans scoring opportunity.

The two teams then exchanged punts, before Kendrick Bourne turned in one of the more impressive individual efforts of the season. Bourne caught a pass on a crosser, caught a block from Meyers, and then somehow shed a tackle while staying in bounds and bursting up the right sideline for a 41-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown.

Folk's PAT put the Patriots ahead 26-13 with 5:01 left in the third.

The Titans nearly responded with a touchdown drive of their own, as they marched all the way to the New England 2-yard line. But Tannehill threw into traffic on fourth-and-goal, and Devin McCourty got his hand on it. J.C. Jackson found the redirected pass and came down with it for an interception, ending the Titans' drives and getting the Patriots out of their own end of the field with the touchback.

The Patriots turned that ensuing drive into a field goal to go up 29-13, and after forcing a turnover on downs, they drove 21 yards for a touchdown to turn the game into a laugher. Damien Harris scored on a 14-yard touchdown run, and the PAT made it a 36-13 lead for New England.

With the Titans driving in garbage time, the Patriots' defense forced one more turnover on Tennessee's fourth fumble  -- and third lost fumble  -- of the game. Brian Hoyer entered the game to kneel out the clock.

It was the Bills who had knocked the Patriots out of first place with a win in New Orleans on Thanksgiving, and the Bills happen to be the Patriots' next opponent. Those two teams will meet next Monday night, in what is sure to be a chaotic environment in Buffalo.

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