The Jacksonville Jaguars set the tone of the football game on the first play of the game. The Titans ran a play action naked bootleg, and defensive end Matt Roth was waiting for Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to run right into his crazy loving arms. The Titans promptly went 3-and-out and struggled to move the football for much of the game. The Jaguars new-look defense stifled the Titans rushing attack, limiting Chris Johnson to just 9 carries for 24 yards. Johnson's longest run of the game was for 9 yards, but he averaged just 2.7 yards per carry. Overall, the Jaguars made the Tennessee Titans completely one dimensional. The Titans ran the ball as whole just 12 times.
The Titans can't play like that.
The veteran free agents and players the Jaguars picked up prior to the start of the 2011 NFL season paid dividends. Matt Roth picked up a sack on the first play of the game, playing in place of the inactive Aaron Kampman. Dwight Lowery, who was picked up from the New York Jets in a trade on cut day sealed the game with an interception late in the fourth quarter. Drew Coleman sacked Matt Hasselbeck on a corner blitz from his nickel back spot and forced a fumble. Safety Dawan Landry led the team in tackles.
The additions clearly had a positive effect on the Jaguars defense.
While Hasselbeck was sacked twice and only hit five times, the Jaguars defense was able to make him uncomfortable in the pocket. Hasselbeck missed a lot of wide receivers, even some he never saw down the field. Defensive end Jeremy Mincey led the way with pressure, hitting Hasselbeck three times and causing some quick throws on others. Outside of a fluke 80-yard touchdown pass to Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt, the Titans passing attack was stifled as well. The team had just one legitimate scoring drive assisted by a pass interference call on cornerback Rashean Mathis. It was capped off with a perfect throw from Hasselbeck to Britt in the back of the end zone, where Mathis actually had really good coverage. Not much you can do about those plays, but considering it was the only real drive the Titans had, I'll take it.
The enthusiasm should be tempered a bit with the Jaguars defense. They did a lot of good things against the Titans, but we can't get ahead of ourselves. I know the team was without Aaron Kampman, who's obviously not ready, but they still struggled to consistently pressure the quarterback. While Hasselbeck was harassed at times, the Jaguars got a lot of breaks with him flat out missing open receivers by overthrowing them. There were also quite a few instances where he just never saw the wide open receiver down the field and opted to check it down.
The defensive perfomance on opening day showed the potential this defense has if everything can be consistent, however.