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Titans End Season With 28-20 Win Over the Jaguars


NASHVILLE – If this was indeed the last ride for Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry, it was one to remember.

And, if nothing else, the 2023 Titans went out in style during an otherwise disappointing season.

The Titans beat the Jaguars 28-20 win at Nissan Stadium to finish the season with a 6-11 record.

After the game, Henry grabbed the microphone before leaving the field, and he thanked the fans. 

"It's been a great eight years, a lot has happened," Henry said after the game. "I've had some great teammates, some great coaches, and the fans have been there through it all." 

Tannehill and Henry had a moment in the tunnel before they took the field together in pre-game.

"It was a fun day for a lot of different reasons," Tannehill said. "To be able to finish the season out, finish my time out here with a win, it was a lot of fun."

The Jaguars, who had a chance to win the AFC South with a win, didn't have much fun. Instead, they were eliminated from the playoffs with the loss.

Sunday's win provided some payback for the Titans, who were eliminated by the Jaguars a year ago in Jacksonville.

"Everybody knew this was the last game, us as the 2023-24 Titans," said edge rusher Arden Key, who played for the Jaguars last season. "We wanted to end this thing with a win.

"(The Jaguars) were talking junk during the game. But I was smiling (at the end), and they were doing a lot of frowning."

Henry ran for 153 yards on 19 carries, along with a touchdown. Henry went over the 100-yard mark for the 41st time in his career, passing Earl Campbell (40) in the number of times for that feat.

Tannehill completed 17-of-26 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns in the contest, along with an interception.

Titans Coach Mike Vrabel said he was proud of his team.

"I think there's a lot of satisfaction to be able to play a game this late in the season that doesn't have playoff implications, division implications for us, and to prepare the way they did, to come out here and compete the way they competed," Vrabel said. "I always tell you; credit goes to the players. They were the ones that allowed us to run the football, allowed us to give up a play and come back and get stops in the red zone. Told them at halftime, 'Guys, you're the best red zone defense in the league, and we're going to need a stop to win the game.' And that's what they did. All the credit goes to the players, to the coaches for getting them prepared and I'm sure they're excited like everybody else."

After the Jaguars took an early 3-0 lead on a 44-yard field goal from kicker Brandon McManus, the Titans answered back in a hurry.

A 28-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill to running back Tyjae Spears gave the Titans a 7-3 lead, and it capped a seven-play, 75-yard drive that featured some trickery, including a flea-flicker pass to tight end Chig Okonkwo that went for 21 yards.

Early in the second quarter, the Jaguars reclaimed the lead at 10-7 on a 59-yard touchdown pass from Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence to receiver Calvin Ridley.

During a break in the action early, chants of "Henry, Henry, Henry" filled Nissan Stadium when Henry's accomplishments for the season – 1,000-plus rushing yards, a fourth Pro Bowl trip – were shown in the Nissan Stadium video board.

The chants were amped up when Henry scored on an 18-yard touchdown run to give the Titans a 14-10 lead with 8:27 left in the second quarter.

The Titans then extended their lead to 21-10 in the second quarter on another touchdown by Spears, this one on a three-yard touchdown run. The six-play, 36-yard drive was set up by an interception by defensive back Terrell Edmunds at the Jacksonville 36-yard line.

Sean Murphy-Bunting intercepted Lawrence again in the second quarter, but the drive stalled and the Titans punted.

The Jaguars took advantage of a special teams mishap by the Titans – a fumbled snap by punter Ty Zentner – to put three more points on the scoreboard on another McManus field goal, and it was 21-13 Titans at the half.

The chants for Henry returned even louder in the third quarter after Henry busted off a 69-yard run, which gave the Titans a first-and-goal at the Jacksonville four-yard-line. Two plays later, Tannehill connected with receiver DeAndre Hopkins on a six-yard touchdown pass to give the Titans a 28-13 lead.

The Jaguars cut the lead to 28-20 early in the fourth quarter on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Lawrence to tight end Evan Engram.

After Tannehill was intercepted by Jaguars safety Andre Cisco, Jacksonville was in business again. But Lawrence was stopped short of the goal line on a fourth-and-goal from the one with 7:13 left, and the Titans took over.

The Titans got some stops on defense late, and they held on for the win.

And, they ended the year with a good feeling.

"It means everything," linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair said after the game. "Earlier in the week, (Mike) Vrabel was asked a question like, 'Why? Why do you want to win?' Or whatever the question was. He kind of snapped like, 'Because I hate losing.' It's like when you lose, everything that you do is magnified. 

"When you get wins, everything feels so good. It changes everything; how you go home, the text messages you get. So it's just an overall, joyful feeling."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 18 at Nissan Stadium

The Tennessee Titans arrive at Nissan Stadium for their Week 18 Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

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