JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Titans beat the Jaguars 37-19 on Sunday at TIAA Bank Field.
Here's a look at six things that stood out from the contest:
Goal Line Stand
The game was turning. After the Titans built a 31-13 lead, the Jaguars cut the lead to 31-19 and they had the ball on the Tennessee five-yard line, first and goal. The Titans broke up two passes by Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. On third down, Lawrence ran to the Tennessee one-yard line before being stopped short by safety Kevin Byard. Then came the play of the game. On 4th and 1, defensive lineman Teair Tart busted through the line and forced Jaguars running back Carlos Hyde outside. Once there, a host of Titans, including defensive back Chris Jackson, greeted him, and stopped him for a four-yard loss. The Titans never looked back. "It was a big momentum swing for the team," Tart said. "We felt like it was a crucial moment in the game to help the team build momentum, bring some positive energy to our sideline."
Another game, another big performance from Titans running back Derrick Henry. After a slow start – Henry had just 31 yards on 11 carries at the half – the big back eventually wore the Jaguars defense down in the second half. Henry finished the contest with 130 yards and three touchdowns, including a 10-yard touchdown run late. Henry now has 640 yards and seven touchdowns on the season. "This whole team loves Derrick," left tackle Taylor Lewan said. "I love Derrick. He's a great guy. He wants to win, he wants to play well, but he could have 20 yards and as long as we win, that's all he cares about. I'm a huge fan of Derrick Henry. Have been for a long time, and I'm just happy he's on our team, man. I really am. I love being around the guy. He's a good friend. I'm really happy for him. The way he comes out and works every single week, there's a reason why he's captain. I voted for him as captain. I think he's a stud."
Byard's Big Day
Titans safety Kevin Byard was one of the game's most impactful players, and he made his presence felt on the first defensive series of the game when he scooped up a fumble and returned it 30 yards for his first career touchdown. Then, on the final play of the game, Byard intercepted a Trevor Lawrence pass in the end zone. On the day, Byard finished second on the team with 10 tackles, along with the interception and fumble return for the score. "It felt great – I got my first NFL touchdown," Byard said. "Elijah (Molden) made a great play (to knock it loose) and it popped up and I was able to sprint to the end zone. I'm just excited to make a play."
Poor Run Defense
The Titans made some plays on defense, and they got some key stops when they needed them at key times. But the run defense wasn't very good at all, which allowed the Jaguars to stay in the game. Jaguars running back James Robinson ran for 149 yards and a touchdown in the contest, including a 58-yard sprint. He averaged 8.3 yards per carry. The Titans are going to need to clean things up in run defense. "We have to stop the run," Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said. "We have to go get off blocks, set edges, not dive and go off the diving board and miss tackles. That's what it comes down to in the run game, lining up and trying to beat somebody and shed and make tackles. So, give them credit."
Help at WR
The Titans got a boost at receiver with the return of A.J. Brown, who had three catches for 38 yards in the contest. Another receiver, Marcus Johnson, also made a nice contribution in his first action of the season. Johnson, who spent the first four games of the season on Injured Reserve, caught three passes for 52 yards in the contest. He sparked a touchdown drive with a 22-yard reception in the second quarter. "It felt good," Johnson said. "All glory to God. I'm just thankful to be back. You know what I mean? Earning that trust in training camp, just fighting my way back during IR (Injured Reserve). I felt like it was a solid debut coming back." Brown acknowledged he's not 100 percent, but he was glad to be back. "I'm not there yet, to be honest," Brown said. "Soon. Maybe. Hope so. But I'm not there yet."
Harold Landry Rewarded
Titans outside linebacker Harold Landry was rewarded for his relentless effort against the Jaguars. Heading into the contest, Landry had been credited with nine quarterback pressures, and 2.5 sacks. He'd been around opposing quarterbacks on many occasions, but unable to close the deal. Against the Jaguars, Landry had seven tackles and he tied his career high with two sacks. Landry recorded a four-yard sack on Lawrence in the second quarter and then ended a Jaguars drive in the third quarter with a 13-yard sack on third down. His performance gave him 4.5 sacks in 2021 and 23.5 sacks in his career. "For me personally, it was just about being relentless," Landry said. "The sacks are nice, but just being in that moment and everybody being juiced up, that's what it is all about."
The Tennessee Titans take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 5 at TIAA Bank Field.