Titans turn in complete game, beat Jaguars 20-16
For the first time in weeks, maybe even months, the Tennessee
Titans looked like the team coach Mike Munchak envisioned.
The Titans had a power running game, some play-action success
and even a defensive stop down the stretch.
Nate Washington scored on a 30-yard reception in the fourth
quarter and Tennessee stuffed Maurice Jones-Drew on a key fourth
down late – both equally huge in helping the Titans beat the
Jacksonville Jaguars 20-16 and end a three-game losing streak
It also may have bolstered Munchak’s shaky job security.
”The second half was finally how we wanted to play,” said
Munchak, whose team had lost eight of 10 games since September.
The Titans (6-9) overcame a 10-point deficit in the second half
and held Jacksonville (4-11) to 85 yards after the break. The best
work came on the ground, where Shonn Greene and Chris Johnson
combined for 181 yards.
The key plays, though, came from Washington and the defense.
Washington slipped behind Alan Ball and caught Ryan
Fitzpatrick’s pass early in the fourth period for the go-ahead
score. He finished with six catches for 117 yards.
The Jaguars were in position to take the lead after that, but
Ropati Pitoitua stymied Jones-Drew on a fourth-and-1 play at the
Tennessee 20 with 5:21 remaining.
”We were down 10, playing on the road again, not playing as
good in the first half as we had hoped, and all of a sudden this
thing could have gone the other way,” Munchak said. ”It didn’t.
We’re not happy with this season. The best we could do is to finish
out the season by beating two division teams. We got one today,
finally, and we’ll be doing our best to get one at home next
Tennessee closes the season against lowly Houston, and winning
out could help Munchak’s case.
”There were a lot of reasons it was an important game for us,”
Fitzpatrick said. ”Just the locker room after, to get that winning
feeling back, to be able to get in victory formation at the end of
the game and take a knee, that’s the kind of stuff you want.
”We haven’t been able to feel that for a long time.”
The game was one of three on this weekend’s NFL schedule with no
playoff implications. But it proved to be entertaining – thanks
mostly to retiring Jacksonville center Brad Meester.
The Jaguars honored Meester with a reception – the pass-catching
Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch called a screen play for the
14-year veteran who announced Wednesday that Sunday’s game would be
his home finale.
Meester reported as an eligible receiver, moved from center to
tight end and then caught the screen pass. He had fellow offensive
linemen Uche Nwaneri and Austin Pasztor out front and plenty of
”The thing that ran through my head was `Don’t drop the
ball,”’ Meester said. ”I knew I would catch a lot of flak if I
got open one time in my life and I dropped the ball. That was the
one thing I was focusing on is catching it. I caught it, got a few
yards, would have loved to have scored. That’s something I will
Thing got a little ugly after the catch, maybe expected for
someone making his first career reception.
Meester ran right into Nwaneri’s backside.
”I couldn’t figure out what to do,” Meester said. ”Am I going
outside? Am I going inside? Is he moving? I stuck there for a while
and finally went inside and there were a couple of guys waiting for
me. I was excited to know I got the first down.”
The play gained 9 yards and set up Chad Henne’s 4-yard touchdown
pass to Marcedes Lewis. It was Lewis’ fourth consecutive game with
a TD reception.
The Jaguars were up 13-6 after Henne hooked up with Mike Brown
late in the first half, but Josh Scobee’s extra point was blocked.
That proved big, especially when Jacksonville was in field-goal
range late but had to go on fourth down.
”I don’t think our guys flinched one bit,” Jaguars coach Gus
Bradley said. ”Sometimes, I told them, you can’t climb a smooth
mountain. There’s going to be roughness on the journey, and we need
those spots to learn from.”
NOTES: Johnson needs 50 yards rushing to become the sixth player
in NFL history to run for 1,000 yards in each of his first six
seasons. … Jones-Drew finished with 45 yards on the ground,
becoming the 46th player in NFL history to top 8,000 yards rushing.
… Lewis’ fourth straight game with a TD catch tied the franchise
record held by Reggie Williams (2007) and Cecil Shorts III
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org