Titans in command with 20-3 lead over Jags
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP)
The Tennessee Titans were winning the battle of backup quarterbacks Monday night, and getting plenty of help from their defense in building a 20-3 lead over the Jacksonville Jaguars after three quarters.
Vince Young threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Britt on the opening drive, then left the game with a sprained left knee when he fumbled a snap on the next series. Kerry Collins replaced him and threw a short TD to Bo Scaife and leading the Titans on time-consuming drives to keep control.
For the Jaguars, quarterback David Garrard was shaken up on a hit by Will Witherspoon late in the second quarter and left the game with a concussion. Garrard, who had been largely ineffective, was replaced by Trent Edwards.
Edwards led the Jaguars into Titans' territory for the first time late in the first half, but the drive ended in a fumble at the 10 - one of three Jacksonville turnovers. Edwards opened the second half by hesitating on a throw, allowing Alterraun Turner to step in front Tiquan Underwood for an interception.
That led to the second of Rob Bironas' field goals, but that looked to be ample as the Titans defense stuffed Jacksonville on the ground and through the air.
At stake for the winner was joining Indianapolis and Houston, both 4-2, atop the AFC South.
The Jaguars only got into Tennessee territory twice. The first one ended shortly before halftime when Marcedes Lewis caught a short pass from Edwards, turned and let the ball slip out of his hands that the Titans recovered.
Down 20-0 early in the third quarter, Edwards hit Mike Thomas for 21 yards, Cortland Finnegan was called for defensive pass interference and Edwards again found Thomas on third-and-8 from the 18 to get down to the 7. But on third down, Jacob Ford sacked Edwards, and the Jaguars had to settle for a 33-yard field by Josh Scobee.
Maurice Jones-Drew managed only 24 yards on nine carries. Garrard was 7 of 12 for 49 yards and one interception by Michael Griffin with no receiver near the ball. Edwards was 8 of 15 for 87 yards.
The Titans converted Griffin's interception into their second touchdown, with Collins hitting Scaife near the goal line on third-and-2 from the 13, and finding him for the score in the left corner on third-and-goal from the 2.
Defensively, the Titans manhandled Jacksonville. They put constant pressure on Garrard and Edwards, bottled up the running game and rendered the Jaguars useless until the final drive.
The Titans were headed for another touchdown until Collins misfired on two shots in the end zone from inside the 10, and they had to settle for Bironas' 27-yard field goal.
Young injured his left knee when he fumbled a snap deep in Titans' territory, recovered and ran into a pile and Terrance Knighton fell on his leg. The Jaguars recovered, although it was overturned when replays showed Young's knee already was down.
Young was helped off the field and his return was questionable. He was on the sideline, walking with a limp.
For the short time he was in the game, Young found little resistance from the Jaguars' secondary, especially cornerback David Jones, who lost his starting job two weeks ago but was filling in for the injured Derek Cox.
Young found Britt for a first down on third-and-10 on the opening drive, then followed with a 28-yard completion to Scaife, with no Jaguars within 3 yards of him. After a 15-yard penalty when Rashean Mathis was called for grabbing the earhole of Chris Johnson's helmet, Young threw his TD pass to Britt.
Jones was beaten badly on the play, and Britt easily broke two tackles as he ran into the end zone.
The Jaguars came into the game ranked 29th in the league in pass defense, which did not go unnoticed by Britt. He was quoted earlier in the week as saying, ''It makes everybody smile. Especially the wide receivers room.''
About the only thing the Jaguars had going for them was winning the coin toss - in six previous Monday night games, that team has gone on to win.
On the field, it was a struggle.
Garrard was off target early on, and after picking up two first downs on its second drive, Tiquan Underwood was called for offensive pass interference on a deep throw near the goal line. That led to another Jaguars' punt.
The last time these teams played, Johnson and Jones-Drew combined for 405 yards rushing and two touchdowns, and the teams set an NFL record with four touchdown plays of at least 50 yards. The Titans won, 30-13.
Johnson had 44 yards on 18 carries, no gain longer than 11 yards.