Even though it was a 41-yard field goal by K Josh Scobee that gave Jacksonville some room to breathe down the stretch, the Jaguars (2-9, 2-3) beat the Titans, 24-19, in Jackonville on Sunday because they were able to convert more of their drives into TDs than the Titans (4-7, 0-3).
The Jaguars converted both trips to the red zone into TDs and added a 59-yard TD strike from QB Chad Henne to WR Cecil Shorts. The Titans scored just one touchdown in the game, but two other times had WRs get their hands on potential TD receptions, only to have Damian Williams and Nate Washington unable to make the catches. The Titans' other scoring came in the way of four field goals in the loss to their AFC South foes.
Henne, making his first start in place of injured QB Blaine Gabbert (arm), had a shaky start when his first pass was batted and then intercepted by CB Alterraun Verner. But he settled down and led the Jaguars’ offense despite being sacked a Jaguars’ season-high seven times.
Henne spread the ball around to seven different targets, but it was Shorts, WR Justin Blackmon and TE Marcedes Lewis who got most of the looks. That trio combined for 13 receptions for 223 yards and two TDs.
The Jaguars appeared to have the win wrapped up when Blackmon made a 7-yard TD reception with just under seven minutes to go that put Jacksonville up 21-12.
But the Titans responded with a short TD reception by WR Kenny Britt just two minutes later after moving down the field in large chunks to cut the lead to 21-19. The Titans got one more shot to take the lead late, but the Jaguars stopped the drive and Scobee’s late FG sealed the win.
When the game turned: The Titans made a huge defensive stop and got the ball back with just over three minutes to play in good field position, trailing by just two points. It seemed that they were in prime position to move the ball into field goal range for a game-winning kick, but an INT by S Dwight Lowery gave Jacksonville the ball back and an opportunity to melt away much of the clock.
Highlight moments: Shorts has a knack for making big plays. He did it again with his 59-yard TD catch. It looked like multiple Tennessee defenders would have a chance to get a hand on it, but the ball fluttered through the zone defense and into Shorts’ hands. He then outran the defense into the end zone. Titans RB Chris Johnson also had a nice 31-yard run that set up Tennessee’s final score. The Jaguars, who at the time were holding a nine-point lead, were surprised by the draw play and Johnson got to the right sideline for the long run.
- Jaguars QB Chad Henne -- 17 of 26 passing, 261 yards, 2 TDs, 1 int.
- Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts -- 4 catches, 105 yards, 1 TD
- Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon -- 5 catches, 62 yards, 1 TD
- Titans QB Jake Locker -- 23 of 40 passing for 261 yards, 1 TDs, 2 INT ; 5 rushes, 21 yards
- Titans RB Chris Johnson -- 21 rushes, 80 yards; 2 catches, 29 yards
- Titans OLB Zach Brown -- 9 tackles, 2 sacks
What they said about Jacksonville breaking its seven-game losing streak:
- Jacksonville coach Mike Mularkey: "It's good to have something good happen for them, really good. They needed that. A lot of people needed that. It was well-earned."
- Shorts: “It was good just to win for Jacksonville, and the city.”
- Henne: “There are a lot of resilient guys in this locker room. I’m really proud of what they’ve done, with what they’ve gone through as a team. I just want to help out as much as I can, and hopefully in these next five games, go on a little roll here.”
Numbers you should know: The Titans outgained Jacksonville 360-321 in total offense, but settling for FGs hurt their chances. Sunday was the Jaguars’ first home win of the season. They came into the game with an 0-5 record and an average margin of defeat of 21.8 ppg at EverBank Field. Time of possession was virtually dead even, with the Titans holding only a 37-second edge.
Injury update: Jaguars -- Starting CBs Aaron Ross (dehydration) and Derek Cox (leg) both left the game. RB Jalen Parmele was in and out of the game while battling a leg injury. Titans -- DT Jurrell Casey (arm) left the game, but was able to return.
Going forward: Jaguars -- They face a trio of sub-.500 teams in the next three weeks with games against the Buffalo Bills (4-7), the New York Jets (4-7) and the Miami Dolphins (5-6). Titans -- They face the Houston Texans (10-1) next week in Nashville and then travel to face the Indianapolis Colts (7-4) the following week.
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For more Jaguars information, follow Daniel Lewis @CBSJags