The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Tennessee Titans in a win-and-you’re-in-the-AFC South showdown Saturday night, 20-16, punching their ticket to the postseason for the first time since 2017. The Jaguars are the first team since the 2013 Kansas City Chiefs to reach the postseason after being the No. 1 overall pick in the draft, and are the first team since the 2008 Miami Dolphins to win their division the season after posting the league’s worst record.
That matchup came down to the fourth quarter, when Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins stripped Titans quarterback Joshua Dobbs from behind, and Josh Allen picked up the loose ball and ran it back 37 yards for the game-winning score with 2:51 left in the fourth. quarter. It was part of a 13-3 second-half run that ultimately gave Jacksonville the division crown.
Trevor Lawrence completed 20 of 32 passes for 212 yards and one touchdown, while Christian Kirk was his leading receiver with 99 yards and a touchdown on six catches. The running game was virtually nonexistent, as Travis Etienne rushed for 17 yards on seven carries.
Dobbs completed 20 of 29 passes for 179 yards, a touchdown and an interception in his second career start. Derrick Henry was again Tennessee’s main weapon on offense, as he rushed for 109 yards on 30 carries. Ultimately, Tennessee’s offense just couldn’t do enough.
Let’s take a look at what happened in Jacksonville on Saturday night.
Why the Jaguars won
Week 18 wasn’t a perfect outing for the Jaguars, there’s no doubt about that. But Jacksonville got the W, and that’s all that matters. Lawrence and the offense flashed at times, but the game-winning touchdown came from the defense, which played out of control in the second half.
In the final two quarters, the Jacksonville pass rush upped the ante against Tennessee’s offensive line, holding Dobbs to just 65 yards passing, and Henry to just 38 rushing yards.
The Titans put together a 10-play, 45-yard drive on their first possession of the third quarter, but their remaining drives went like this: Interception, three-and-out, three-and-out, fumble that was returned for a touchdown and then turnover on downs. In the end, this defense pulled out a win in what was a very close game, and this bodes well for the Jaguars as they prepare for the playoffs.
Why the Titans lost
Unfortunately, Titans fans have seen this movie before. Tennessee worked to gain the lead at halftime, but then the offense fell flat in the second half. The Titans scored just three total points in the final two quarters.
Entering this game, Tennessee had a -95 point differential in the second half this season, which ranked worst in the NFL. This statistic proved to be an accurate representation of what this offense is. In this game, the Titans averaged just 5.7 points per game in the second half. That’s the fewest by any team since the 2014 San Francisco 49ers. The Titans finish the 2022 season having failed to score 28 points in a single game. It turns out that not scoring a lot of points hurts your team, as only five teams since the merger managed to reach the playoffs without scoring 28 or more points in a game.
While it’s easy to criticize the Titans offense, they started a quarterback on the practice squad who had been with the team for just a few weeks, playing behind an offensive line that had three of their best players on injured reserve. The adversity was too much to overcome this season, as Tennessee ends the 2022 campaign on a seven-game losing streak.
Turning point/Play of the game
Down by three points as time wound down in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars defense had to make a stop. They did more than that, as defensive back Rayshawn Jenkins came flying around the left sideline and hit Dobbs from behind, knocking the ball loose at the last minute.
Josh Allen picked up the ball and ran it 37 yards the other way for the game-winning touchdown.
Another Derrick Henry stiff arm
Henry’s stiff arms have become the stuff of legend, and he recorded another fierce takedown in the first half against the match’s eventual hero, Jenkins. The Jaguars safety came in ready to aggressively swipe at the ball, but ended up being thrown to the ground.
What will be next
The Jaguars will watch Sunday’s action and wait for the eventual No. 5 seed. Either the Los Angeles Chargers or the Baltimore Ravens will travel to Jacksonville for the wild card round. As for the Titans, they are returning to Nashville and will turn their attention to 2023.