Monday Takeaways: Titans 16 vs. Jaguars 14



NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans' four-game losing streak is now officially a thing of the past after they squeaked past the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6) by a score of 16-14 to improve to 2-4 on the season.

A 20-yard touchdown pass from Blake Bortles to Clay Harbor with 37 seconds remaining pulled Jacksonville within two points. The Jaguars then recovered an on-side kick before setting up a game-winning 55-yard field goal attempt for Josh Scobee. However, the big right paw of Sammie Hill blocked the attempt to avoid a second straight week of heartbreak.

Charlie Whitehurst got his second start of the season in the absence of Jake Locker, throwing for 233 yards with no turnovers. Sunday marked the first time Whitehurst crossed 200-plus passing yards in a single game.

Justin Hunter led Titans receivers with 77 yards on three receptions – his second straight week with over 70 receiving yards. Delanie Walker and Dexter McCluster added 57 yards and 52 yards respectively.

Super Jumbo

The Titans lone touchdown came on a Jackie Battle one-yard plunge in the team's "super jumbo" package. Ok, that might not be the official name of the Titans personnel group, but it did feature defensive lineman Karl Klug at fullback as well as OT Byron Stingily and C Chris Spencer.

That means Taylor Lewan, Andy Levitre, Brian Schwenke, Chance Warmack, Michael Oher, Byron Stingily, Chris Spencer and Karl Klug were all on the field at the same time. Now that's some serious beef.

Getting Defensive

A few members of the Titans' defense had big statistical games. Both Jason McCourty and Blidi Wreh-Wilson had 11 total tackles with Wreh-Wilson recording his first career interception. Wreh-Wilson missed last week's game against the Browns with a concussion and returned in a big way. McCourty also forced a key fumble, stripping the ball away from Cecil Shorts, when the Jaguars were driving deep into Titans territory. The fumble was recovered by rookie linebacker Avery Williamson, who made his first start a memorable one in front of family and friends from Kentucky.

Jurrell Casey finished the day with two sacks, nine total tackles and three total quarterback hits. They were Casey's first sacks since the home opener in Week 2, giving him four on the season.

Feeling Special

Special teams have been an area of concern for the Titans this season, but the unit gave Tennessee a huge lift on Sunday. After the Jaguars took an early 7-0 lead, Leon Washington returned the ensuing kickoff 50 yards to the Titans 47-yard line. It was the longest kickoff return of the season for Washington.

Titans punter Brett Kern landed three punts inside the Jaguars' 20-yard line and had a long of a whopping 69 yards. His five punts went for a grand total of 249 yards for an average of 49.8.

It goes without saying that the play of the game was the blocked field goal attempt at the end of the game by Sammie Hill to seal the win for the Titans.

Storyline Statistics

First Downs – Jac: 27 Ten: 14

Third Down Efficiency – Jac: 8/15 (53%) Ten: 3/11 (27%)

Total Yards – Jac: 379 Ten: 290

Red Zone Efficiency – Jac: 2-2 (100%) Ten: 1-3 (33%)

Turnovers – Jac: 2 Ten: 0

The Tennessee Titans battle the Jacksonville Jaguars in a Week 6 matchup at LP Field. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

If there was ever a game to win the turnover battle, it was this one. It's true that the Jaguars racked up big numbers in the fourth quarter, but they still ended the game with a statistical advantage in most categories.

Wreh-Wilson's interception occurred at the Titans' 16 yard line and McCourty's forced fumble of Cecil Shorts happened at the Tennessee 10. Two drives that looked destined for Jaguar points ending in turnovers is your story of the game.

Red zone defense and offensive third down efficiency will continue to be points of emphasis for the Titans.

Review of the Five Things to Watch

1. Pressure Bortles

Mission accomplished in this department. The Titans had Bortles under fire and brought down the Jaguars quarterback six times. Those six sacks were the most by a Titans defense in a single game since December 30, 2010 against Jacksonville.

Jurrell Casey led the way with two sacks with Marqueston Huff, Karl Klug, Kamerion Wimbley, and Shaun Phillips each recording one. The sacks by Phillips and Wimbley were the first two by Titans outside linebackers this season.

The Jaguars have now allowed 27 sacks this season, easily the most in the NFL.

2. Protect Locker/Whitehurst

The Titans get a passing score here, but it wasn't a convincing effort. The Jaguars sacked Whitehurst three times and hit him twice more. To be fair, the bar is set very high for the Titans' offensive line, but that's what happens when you have two first round picks and plenty of free agent dollars invested in the unit.

3. Home Field Advantage

Tennessee badly needed a win at home and they got one Sunday. The 'W' didn't come without nerves for the home crowd, but everyone went home happy nonetheless.

4. Establish the Run

Bishop Sankey earned the lion's share of carries in the absence of starting running back Shonn Greene. The rookie carried the ball 18 times for a game-high 61 yards (3.4 avg.). Outside of a long of 22 yards, running lanes were few and far between for the Titans.

Dexter McCluster only received two carries, but was a focal point in the passing game, leading the team with six receptions. The Titans made it clear that getting McCluster into space was a big piece of the game plan this week.

5. Next Man Up

With Bernard Pollard lost for the season and Coty Sensabaugh out with a knee injury, Marqueston Huff, George Wilson and Daimion Stafford filled in admirably. Huff especially was one of the game's standout performers with four combined tackles and his first career NFL sack.

Taylor Lewan got his first NFL start in place of Michael Roos. With Roos on IR, it's Lewan's spot for the rest of the season. The Titans' 2014 first-round pick got beat a few times, but held up nicely throughout the game. Most notably, Lewan didn't have a penalty called on him the entire game.

Quote of the Game

"The moment when my hand touched it, I turned around to make sure I didn't just tip the ball. So when I saw it fall, I'm thinking 'Thank you, God. Thank you, Jesus.' It felt great. But there is no feeling in the world right now that I can say makes me feel good and any better than just getting the win today. Forget the block. Just win. That's the biggest part for me. I don't care how we did it, as long as we did." – Sammie Hill on his blocked field goal.

That quote is the quintessential emotion from the Titans' locker room postgame on Sunday. On to the nation's capital.

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