The Jacksonville Jaguars took advantage of the national stage Thursday night, showing off their stingy defense and earning a come-from behind 19-13 win over the visiting Tennessee Titans. With the win, the Jaguars find themselves within a half game of first place, with the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans ahead of them.
“It’s great to come out with a win,” said Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley. “First I have to give credit to our fans – that last drive I know we felt the energy from them and to be able to get this win at home, in front of our home fans, awesome feeling.” Thursday’s contest was ugly at times, with the offense stalling inside the 20 three times and having to settle for field goals. At one point in the third quarter, Jacksonville elected to run Denard Robinson three straight times from the seven yard-line and he was stuffed, by a pretty impressive Titans defense. The Jaguars managed only a field goal on a drive that looked for all the world, would end in a touchdown.
“Give credit to them,” said Bradley, speaking of the Titans defense. “They have a very tough defense, put a lot of pressure on us and we knew that coming in, that we were gonna have to hold up with our protections and we did just enough.”
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles did not have a bad night in the grand scheme of things. He completed 21-of-30 passes for 242 yards and one touchdown. He was treated for dehydration at one point during the game, but did not miss an offensive possession. “I had to get some good Gatorade, some fluids,” Bortles said. With all that going against the Jaguars, it looked like quarterback Marcus Mariota and the Titans were going to steal one in Jacksonville, with former Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey leading the charge. That changed when Jaguars kick returner Rashad Greene returned a punt 63 yards, setting up Bortles’ 5-yard touchdown pass to Julius Thomas with 3:30 remaining.
“I liked how aggressive he was,” said Bradley of Greene’s punt return. “He was back there and got a low punt to him and he had his mindset that he was going for it and did a nice job.” The return is even more impressive considering that Greene was playing for the first time in seven games, recovering from a torn ligament in his thumb. The return was Jacksonville’s longest punt return in five years. The touchdown put the Jaguars up 16-13 and gave Bortles 10 consecutive games with a touchdown pass. The Jaguars added to the lead following a fumble by Titans tight end Phillip Supernaw on the ensuing possession. Jason Myers capped a four field goal night, hitting from 36 yards out with 2:19 left, putting the Jaguars up six — 19-13. “I thought we did some good stuff from the 20 to the 20 obviously,” said Bortles after the game. “We lacked a little bit in our red zone efficiency when we got down there, but I felt the guys continued to fight, continued to battle and they did an unbelievable job.”
For more info: Titans @ Jaguars game highlights
The Titans had one more chance, but they had no timeouts left for the final drive. Mariota drove his team down the field and got to the 23-yard line. That’s when Jaguars defensive end Andre Branch came up with the Jaguars fourth sack of Mariota with the clock winding down, giving the Jaguars consecutive wins for the first time since December of 2013. Jacksonville has now won three of their last four games. Allen Robinson did his part for the offense Thursday, as well. He caught five passes for 113 yards. Allen Hurns consecutive touchdown streak ended at seven games. He caught three passes for 19 yards.
Jacksonville will now have 10 days between games, as they await the arrival of the San Diego Chargers on November 29. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m.