Vinatieri sends Patriots past Titans

Sunday, January 11, 2004

FOXBORO, Mass. -- The New England Patriots can handle the cold and snow. They have Adam Vinatieri.

The hero of the snowy "Tuck Rule" game and the 2002 Super Bowl kicked a 46-yard field goal with 4:06 left Saturday night to give New England a 17-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans and send the Patriots back to the AFC title game.

B-b-b-b-barely.

Riding a 12-game winning streak and an 8-0 record at home, New England fought off temperatures that dipped to 2 degrees -- with a wind chill of 11 below -- to knock out the Titans. The Patriots will play the winner of today's game between Kansas City and Indianapolis for the AFC title and the right to play in the Super Bowl.

Tennessee failed in its attempt to reach a second consecutive conference championship game.

Tom Brady hit Troy Brown with a 4-yard completion on a fourth-and-3 from the Tennessee 33. Vinatieri, who missed a 44-yarder in the same direction in the first quarter, came on four plays later and kicked the winner.

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