Jaguars Hand Titans Their First Win of Season
The Tennessee Titans (1-6) recorded their first win of the season in impressive fashion over the 3-4 Jaguars by a score of 30-13. Tennessee was led by the 228-yard rushing performance of second-year back Chris Johnson. And that was much of the story on Sunday for the Jaguars – trying to come from behind.
The Titans went up 13-0 before Maurice Jones-Drew touched the ball for the first time. That first carry turned into an 80-yard touchdown run. But Jacksonville’s defense just couldn’t contain Tennessee.
The Titans put up 430 yards of total offense and 305 on the ground. The Jaguars’ AFC South rival also controlled the time of possession – 39:43 to 20:17. It was a complete reversal of the teams’ first meeting of the year, which Jacksonville won 37-17 on October 4.
Jacksonville is currently third in the AFC South behind the Indianapolis Colts (7-0) and the Houston Texans (5-3). Jacksonville will attempt to return to .500 against the Kansas City Chiefs (1-6) at home on Sunday, November 8.
Now, on to the Awards…
Deciding Play of the Game: With 11 minutes remaining in the third quarter, running back Chris Johnson put the Titans ahead 20-13 with a 52-yard touchdown run. He made it to the end zone nearly untouched. After the score, the wind seemed to be gone from the Jaguars’ sails. If you flipped over to the Minnesota Vikings-Green Bay Packers game after Johnson’s touchdown, you made a solid decision. Once Johnson scored, it seemed to me that Jacksonville wanted to get on the flight home as soon as possible.
Best Director (goes to Jaguar coach or coordinator): Mark Duffner, Linebackers Coach – I’ll say it all season long that Duffner is working with the best unit on the field. Jacksonville’s linebackers are an underrated group. The linebackers combined for 32 total tackles. That’s good in that it shows they can wrap up players, but it highlights a severe weakness along the defensive line.
Best Jaguar in a Leading Role: Maurice Jones-Drew, starting running back – His first touch of the game was an amazing 80-yard touchdown run. His other touchdown was a cool 79-yarder. For the day, Jones-Drew ran the ball eight times for 177 yards. That’s a 22.1 average. I am not one to question coaching, but Jones-Drew should have finished with at least 20 carries. I think Jones-Drew speaks up about his lack of touches by Wednesday.
Best Jaguar in a Supporting Role: Mike Thomas, wide receiver – The rookie caught four passes for 55 yards. He also had a nice end-around for seven yards. Most importantly, Thomas established himself as the go-to guy on kickoff returns. He had two huge returns of 40 and 43 yards. His explosiveness needs to be utilized as much as possible. Thomas is looking like a real catch as a fourth-round pick. Pun intended.
Worst Jaguar: David Garrard, starting quarterback – Garrard could never get any rhythm going in the passing game. He threw for 139 yards on 14/27 passing. Garrard also threw two interceptions, and was flagged in the first quarter for intentional grounding. To add to the suffering, he was sacked four times and rushed all game. Garrard took a few shots that would have knocked most quarterbacks out of the game. After feeling the pressure, his throws began to sail on him. It will be a tough week for the Jaguars’ starting quarterback.
Best Titan in a Leading Role: Chris Johnson, starting running back – He was a man among boys. Vince Young will be in the spotlight because he’s the quarterback, but it was the Chris Johnson show. His 228 rushing yards and two touchdowns made the Jaguars’ defense look pathetic. And, that’s not the first time I’ve used Jaguars’ defense and pathetic in the same sentence. Johnson’s touchdown runs were from 52 and 89 yards. Johnson is the engine behind the Tennessee Titans.
Best Titan in a Supporting Role: Vince Young, starting quarterback – In his first start in over a year, Young controlled the game as well as head coach Jeff Fisher could have wished. Young was 15/18 for 125 yards and one passing touchdown. He also ran the ball 12 times for 30 yards. Young is now 19-11 as a starting quarterback. I’d say the way Chris Johnson ran the ball through the porous Jacksonville defense; any quarterback could have won this game for the Titans. Owner Bud Adams will be smiling all week long.
Best Sound Editing: “He’s (Derrick Harvey) doing a lot of good things for Jacksonville.” – CBS color commentator Steve Tasker on the second-year defensive end. I respect Tasker, but he did not do his homework on Harvey. Through seven games this year, Harvey has zero sacks and 16 solo tackles.
Best Animated Short (goes to the player with the most passion on the field): Daryl Smith, starting middle linebacker – His nine tackles don’t immediately stand out, but he was all around the ball the entire game. Yes, Justin Durant contributed 16 total tackles; however, Smith was hitting harder than I’ve ever seen. Sadly, for the Jaguars, Smith’s intensity didn’t permeate through the whole team.
Tweet of the Week (Twitter post): “Let’s go yanks. This is our yr baby!” – Quarterback David Garrard on Wednesday, October 28, rooting for his New York Yankees in the World Series.
Offensive tackle Jordan Black
Safety Sean Considine
Cornerback Rashean Mathis (broken finger)
Defensive tackle Greg Peterson
Defensive end Bryan Smith
Wide receiver Tiquan Underwood
Offensive lineman Maurice Williams (knee)
Cornerback Brian Witherspoon (hamstring)
Other Jaguar notes:
Veteran left tackle Tra Thomas got the start instead of rookie Eugene Monroe. Thomas gave up a sack in the third quarter.
Safety Reggie Nelson started at cornerback for the injured Rashean Mathis. Tennessee targeted Nelson all game long. I noted four passing plays in which Nelson was clearly beaten. The major one was Nate Washington’s second quarter touchdown. Nelson should never be known as “The Eraser.”
Eighth-year player Brian Russell got his first starting nod at free safety. He recorded two tackles, but looked sluggish at times. In my opinion, game-time conditioning seemed to be an issue for him.
Cornerback Derek Cox dropped an easy first-quarter interception in the end zone. The Titans scored a field goal on that first drive.
Backup quarterback Luke McCown came in at the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter. He was 0/2 passing. It was his second appearance this season for the Jaguars.
Starters Mike Sims-Walker and Torry Holt combined for four catches and 26 yards.
Rookie Jarett Dillard had one catch for 23 yards. He has the potential to be a decent third or fourth wide receiver. Dillard displayed nice hands on the first-down play.
Wide receiver Ernest Wilford caught two balls for 18 yards. But, they were overshadowed by a taunting penalty he earned for clapping in the direction of a Titan. In my opinion, it was a poor penalty.
In the third quarter, tight end Marcedes Lewis went for a solid 20-yard catch-and-run. However, with the hope of gaining more yardage, Lewis was stripped by cornerback Michael Griffin. Fortunately, for Lewis, rookie Zach Miller recovered it.
Griffin blocked the extra point attempt after Maurice Jones-Drew’s second touchdown.
Punter Adam Podlesh had a spectacular 64-yard first-quarter punt that ended up at the Titans’ 4. It was his longest punt of the year. And, his seven punts were one shy of his season-high eight (against the Seahawks during Week 5).
Richard Miller is a national broadcaster for Jacksonville Jaguars’ home games on Sporting News Radio. Additionally, he can be heard on ABC 1320 WBOB in Jacksonville at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesdays with The Jacksonville Observer Radio Show.
Richard contributes to Inside the Game with Robin Valetutto every Saturday from 12-2 p.m.
Currently, Richard is writing David Lamm’s biography entitled Lamm at Large: The David Lamm Story, which will be available in 2010.
You can e-mail Richard at Richard.Miller@jaxobserver.com