With the AFC South in shambles across the board during the 2015 season, the Thursday Night Football game between the visiting Tennessee Titans and the host Jacksonville Jaguars was a key game as someone will have to win the division. But who knew who exactly was going to shine in this contest? It really, truly, was up in the air, with the victor getting the spoils as they try to catch up to the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans who are tied for the division lead at 4-5.
The Titans would get the ball first and marched right down the field but were stopped short of the red zone, because during a third and two from the 28 yard line of the Jaguars, Marcus Mariota would lose a yard while he was tackled by Telvin Smith and Andre Branch. That would set up a 47 yard field goal try for Ryan Succop. Succop nailed it to give the Titans their first lead of the game as they went up 3-0.
After both teams had punted, the Jaguars got their offense going when Blake Bortles was finally able to find a man open deep in Brian Walters as they gained 31 yards to get near midfield. They would end up reaching the red zone but Bortles would throw an incompletion on third down and it would wind up with Jason Myers kicking a 31 yard field goal to tie the game early in the second quarter.
Myers and Succop would both wind up kicking several field goals in this game, as they combined for six field goals and two extra points. When you put it all together, they scored 20 of the 32 points in the contest, which should show the average fan just how important a good kicker can be to their team. Especially when you consider that Succop missed a field goal as well.
But both teams would get another of those field goals before the half as it closed with a total of 6-6. Jacksonville had the first chance at getting into the end zone and breaking the offensive scoring drought in this game, but when they reached the seven yard line, they kept it rather vanilla, and ran Denard Robinson three straight times before giving Myers another of his field goals in this game. Greg Olson, the Jaguars Offensive Coordinator, really needs to find a way to take advantage of their big tight end in the red zone, or give it to a running back that is bigger than Robinson, because successful teams score touchdowns in this situation instead of field goals. They were up 9-6, but it wasn't exactly feeling like a big lead.
The Titans got the ball next and had their best drive of the game. Although you wouldn't have known from the first play of the drive, when Aaron Colvin sacked Mariota for a loss of seven. But after giving up a first down on a reception by Anthony Fasano, the Jaguars defense gave up back to back penalties. Davon House and Colvin were both called for defensive pass interference to give up a total of 48 yards of field position. From the Jaguars 23, Mariota took things in his own hands, but more so in his own legs, as he rushed those final 23 yards for the first touchdown of the game, and put the Titans back on top by a score of 13-9.
The Titans would force another punt and then had possession of the ball into the final quarter. Succop lined up for a 53 yard field goal, but missed it wide left to give the ball back to the Jags with good field position. But the Titans would get a defensive stop when Bortles threw an interception into the red zone as he was picked off by Zach Brown while trying to find Julius Thomas.
Both teams would punt a few more times before the Jaguars made their big play of the game. Brett Kern came out to punt the ball on a fourth and one with just 3:49 left in the game, but Rashad Greene had big plans. He took the punt at the Jaguars 32 yard line, and returned it all the way to the Titans five yard line. The 63 yard return was just what Gus Bradley had ordered and the Jaguars looked like they had a chance to come back. Thomas would catch the Bortles pass on the next play as they scored their only touchdown of the game to take a 16-13 lead.
The Titans got the ball back and needed to avoid mistakes in order to go down and score a touchdown to win or a field goal to tie. But on the first play from scrimmage, Phillip Supernaw would catch the Mariota pass and then would fumble the ball. House, who was flagged earlier for defensive pass interference, would recover the fumble at the Titans 28 yard line, giving the offense another good opportunity to score.
But the offense would stay mild again, as they went with three straight runs to T.J. Yeldon, who would only come up with 9 total yards as he was stuffed for no gain on a third and one. But they burned Tennessee's final two time outs and had the clock down to just over two minutes remaining before Myers kicked a field goal to make the Titans have to score a touchdown to take a lead.
The Titans drove down the field and had a chance to score a game winning touchdown, as Mariota spiked the ball with just five seconds left in the game. Branch would sack him though on the final play of the game as the Jaguars managed to end the game with a victory and a final score of 19-13.
Passing: Blake Bortles (21/30, 242 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT)
Rushing: Antonio Andrews (15 carries, 78 yards)
Receiving: Allen Robinson (5 catches, 113 yards)
The loss in this game drops the Tennessee Titans to 2-8. They will play again back at Nissan Field in Nashville in 10 days as they host the Oakland Raiders (4-5). Meanwhile the Jacksonville Jaguars move to 4-6 and stay alive in the AFC South. Also, they will get to stay home over the Thanksgiving Holiday before they face the San Diego Chargers (2-7).