Titans soar past Jaguars, 42-20

Titans soar past Jaguars, 42-20

The type of offensive explosion the Tennessee Titans couldn’t have dreamed about for most of the season arrived suddenly in the third quarter, scoring 28 points in just over eight minutes of game time in a 42-17 rout of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
The Titans, in a must-have game for their playoff hopes, responded in a big way with a strong offensive second half following a solid defensive first half where the Titans held a 7-3 edge.
Tennessee’s only points of the first half came courtesy of Ryan Tannehill’s 21-yard scramble for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Jacksonville answered with Josh Lambo’s 49-yard field goal to account for their first half points.
The third-quarter barrage began when the Titans reached the 1-yard line thanks to a pass interference call on a halfback pass, and then Tannehill threw to Dennis Kelly on a tackle eligible play.
On the next Titans offensive series, Derrick Henry did what Henry does to the Jaguars in Nissan Stadium – he broke free for a long touchdown run, this one a 74-yarder that made the score 21-3. It was also reminscent of what Henry did to the Jaguars last season, when he broke off a 99-yard touchdown against Jacksonville.
“When I broke through the line, and broke that tackle from the lineman, it was a foot race,” said Henry, who finished the day with 159 yards on the ground. “It was similar (to the 99-yarder). I was trying to keep him away and trying to stay in bounds and keep moving down the field, and it worked again.”
The Titans kicked off and Jacksonville’s Michael Walker fumbled when hit by Daren Bates, who also recovered the ball at the 7 yard line. From there, Henry went in for his second score and the Titans pushed the lead to 28-3.
Tennessee wasn’t through, however, getting the football back for another offensive series. This time, with the Jaguars stacking the box to stop Henry, Tannehill found A.J. Brown on a square in route and the rookie receiver did the rest going 65 yards for a touchdown.
Tannehill, who lost a scoring chance early in the game when he was hit and fumbled when trying to pass at the Jaguars’ 10-yard line, finished with a strong game. He was 14 of 18 for 259 yards with two passing touchdowns and two more on the ground.
“You can execute plays and not have 75-yard touchdowns,” Tannehill said. “But it kind of shows you what we can do when we execute up front.”
The Jaguars answered finally with Leonard Fournette’s 1-yard touchdown and a two-point conversion, but it was far too little and far too late.
Tennessee’s final score game after Jacksonville had cut the lead to 35-17, as Tannehill added his second rushing touchdown to cap a short drive after the Jaguars illegally touched an onside kick.
The Titans’ offense was in such a groove that in the third quarter, Tannehill was 5 of 5 for 122 yards and two touchdowns for a perfect 158.3 passer rating. Henry had eight carries for 126 rushing yards in the quarter as the Titans piled up 248 of their total 471 yards in the quarter.
“We started really clicking and got that confidence that was really able to put us to that next level,” left guard Rodger Saffold said. “I think what it was was that we wanted to play really, really aggressive on offense. I think the play-calling was was right for that. And being able to run bootlegs and play-action, and with everything kind of clicking, whatever we were running was seeming to work. That just gave us a lot of confidence that that was going to happen.”
Added left tackle Taylor Lewan, whose big block helped spring Henry on the long TD run, “If our offense looks like that, we’re going to be the best offense in the league. It’s about being consistent, establishing the run game, and you’re not always going to score 42 points, but the job is to extend drives. Even when we weren’t scoring, we were getting the ball down the field and giving Arthur (Smith) a chance to open up the playbook. Guys did their job today, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
For the Titans, it will take more of that as they hold their playoff fate in their hands with five weeks left in the regular season.
The next step of that journey comes in a house of horrors for Tennessee – Lucas Oil Stadium, where they have never won a single time since the building opened in 2008.

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