Coming off of back-to-back wins in which lead changes were common, the Jaguars had proven their resolve and shown they can fight through the early losses. Most were feeling this team on the rise. Another division game could be the huge swing they needed to take the lead in the division. So, a stage was set in a literal sense: Monday Night Football. A place the Jaguars had provided some of their most memorable wins, and some of their most gut-wrenching losses. The seemingly upstart Titans were coming off an impressive win in Dallas where they were out gained in yardage 511 to 321, but forced 3 Tony Romo interceptions, and pounded the ball with Chris Johnson for 131 yards and 2 tds. So how did the Jaguars match up?
I usually approve of Vince Young playing quarterback for the Titans over the pesky Kerry Collins only because in his career, Young has played much worse against the Jaguars and is much more inaccurate with his throws usually. But, he retained his starting position early in the season and played efficiently. Usually, he doesn't wow people with his passing, relying on a heavy dose of all-pro Chris Johnson to loosen up the defense. The Titan defense was also improving with quite a few veteran free agent signings in the off-season, as well as a certain rookie cornerback who proved to be quite the nuisance.
- The Titans offense goes right down the field and sets the tempo for this heated showdown. A comeback throw to Kenny Britt, coupled with a pass to Bo Scaife for 28 yards had the ball moving fast. Two plays later, Vince Young would hit Kenny Britt on the inside of a post route for 23 yards and an opening touchdown. David Jones gave up the inside too easily. Annoyingly, Chris Johnson only had 2 carries for 3 yards on the drive (deciding to pass first in order to loosen the defense for CJ) but an annoying 15 yard facemask on Rashean Mathis trying to tackle an already wrapped-up Johnson only made the drive that much easier.
- A one first down series by the Jaguar offense is not the response fans were looking for. Garrard was already getting hit early and often.
- The Titan offense gets an easy first down in a couple plays from some runs by CJ and Ahmard Hall. A blitz on Young leads to an incomplete pass, and that pressure would get to him the next play, as well, as Young fumbled the snap, picked up the ball, tried to get some forward progress, and gets tackled brutally with the ball ending up in Aaron Kampman's hands. A turnover? Not quite, as the play was challenged and reversed, but more importantly, Young is injured on the play, spraining his knee. Kerry Collins comes in, picks up a first down, then can't convert on a 3rd and 17 and the drive stalls.
- The Jaguars drive the ball well. Passes to Sims-Walker and Marcedes Lewis of 9 yards, coupled with a Jones-Drew toss for 10 bodes well. A play-action bomb to Tiquan Underwood is broken up by the smaller Cortland Finnegan, and to make matter worse, offensive pass interference is called (no one understands why) and the 10 yard penalty ultimately kills the drive.
- A 3 and out by the Titans offense. A holding by the Jaguar offense on 1st down. Too many mistakes will set this offense back, and it's capitalized on this drive with an interception by safety Michael Griffin on 3rd and 16. Mike Thomas is running down the seam, but David Garrard just under throws him and misses. As Mike Tirico puts it on the telecast: "Terrible throw" as it's being thrown.
- The Titans would take advantage of the turnover and good field position. Passes to Bo Scaife again gouge this defense, as no linebacker can keep up with the speedy tight end. Going with that trend, Kerry Collins hits Scaife for a 3 yard touchdown to put the Titans up 14-0. Kirk Morrison gets rubbed out (picked) by Kenny Britt, taking the wrong angle, and leaving Scaife open in the process.
- The Jaguars would respond with another 3 and out, disappointingly. To make matters worse, on a 3rd and 5, David Garrard takes a shot by Will Witherspoon, who's untouched on the play and leaves Garrard hurting. He would not return to the game.
- The Titans mount a drive with Javon Ringer spelling Chris Johnson and doing a good job of it. On 3rd and goal Kerry Collins would throw the ball out of the back of the end zone and a 26 yard Rob Bironas field goal would put the Titans up 17-0.
- The half ends with a decent drive led by Trent Edwards at the helm. Short, accurate passes that led receivers out of bounds to stop the clock gave the fans some hope. Edwards even shows his best David Garrard impression at one point, sensing pressure on his blind side and scrambling up the sideline for a crucial first down. Unfortunately, the half ends as sourly as it starts with a pass to Marcedes Lewis into the red zone, then he coughs up the football fighting for extra yards.
All-in-all, a terrible half of Jaguar football. Enough said.