I've been watching the Tennessee Titans very closely this week. I was looking for signs of "quit." I was looking for a team who had given up on their season and started looking towards next year. After all, their starting QB, Vince Young, was put on the IR and called out for the season, Randy Moss has backfired on this team, and have injuries left their D-line decimated. As if that's not good enough, it looks as though Titans management has made an ultimatum to Jeff Fisher: either Vince Young plays or Fisher is gone. Add a four game losing streak to that hot mess and you would imagine a team that's all but ready to phone it in. Well, the Titans didn't phone it in, they just got run over.
Maurice Jones-Drew had a career day, rushing for 186 yards on 31 carries. Pocket Hercules was running hard all day, dragging defenders with him and gaining an average of six yards a rush. I mean, it really looked like he was gaining six yards on every run. The Jaguars ultimately ran off 258 yards, 28 more yards than the defense allowed, including touchdown runs of 10 yards by Rashad Jennings and 5 yards by David Garrard. Garrard also completed 14 of 19 throws, though I think it's hardly worth mentioning Garrard's passing stats given the performance of the running game.The Jaguars ground game was exceptional today. With Mike Sims-Walker unable to make the trip to Tennessee due to pain in his ankle, the Jaguars had to lean hard on their running game. They certainly did that today, running the ball 11 times out of 12 on their first drive for 71 yards on the way to a touchdown. Jennings provided the big spark on a fourth and one play from the Titans' ten yard line, bouncing off a tackler at the point of attack and galloping up the middle for the Jaguars first score of the day. The Jaguars held the ball for over twenty minutes in the first half, and made Chris Johnson entirely irrelevant through two quarters.
With temperatures bordering on freezing, and bits of snowfall sprinkled in throughout the afternoon, the team from Florida proved to be the much better cold weather team. The Jags won up front, and the Titans' passing game couldn't stand up to the cold. The Titans tight ends, Bo Scaife and Craig Stevens, dropped two passes each to go along with several Kerry Collins under throws. The first under throw led to a brilliant Derek Cox interception. Cox, who also broke up a potential touchdown pass for Randy Moss, let Nate Washington get behind him before showing great burst and undercutting Collins' throw to make a leaping catch. Collins also missed a wide open Randy Moss inside the Jaguars ten yard line.
For a brief moment in the third quarter, the Titans started hinting at a comeback. Down 17-0, the Titans forced a Jaguars punt to start the half. Then Collins completed a few long passes, then Chris Johnson ran for a twenty yard gain. Gulp. However, the long drive led only to a field goal. Late in the third quarter, the Titans put together another drive. The Titans got aggressive, going for it on a 4th and six while already deep in field goal range on the next drive. After running off six plus minutes of game clock, the Titans came away with another field goal.
The Jaguars did have some miscues: the secondary was bailed out more than a few times by Tennessee drops, and Scobee went 0 for 2 on field goals, missing a 47 yarder and having a 49 yard kick blocked. The Jaguars left some points on the field, but all in all, the Jaguars showed a TV audience from Tampa to Texas and all the way up to the Carolinas what the AFC South leading Jaguars are made of. The Jaguars now lead the Texans and Titans by two games each. Indianapolis is playing in Dallas today, a game which many think will be hard fought. The Jaguars