Neither team looked great on offense, but the Titans managed to pull things together first, putting the first touchdown on the board in the third quarter. It looked like they were going to cruise to a relatively easy win, but a huge 63-yard punt return by Rashad Greene set the Jaguars up at the 5-yard line. One play later, Blake Bortles found Julius Thomas for the go-ahead touchdown.
A Titans fumble on the ensuing possession let the Jaguars kill some clock and kick another field goal to extend their lead with two minutes to go in the game. The Titans were unable to complete a comeback in the two minutes, and Jacksonville got the win.
Both teams were hesitant to take chances in the red zone, and that's why we have multiple field goals. On a 1st-and-goal attempt for the Jaguars in the third quarter, they were set up at the Tennessee 7-yard line. Instead of taking a shot through the air, the Jaguars ran it up the middle three times with Denard Robinson before kicking their third field goal of the game.
The Titans finally found the end zone later in the third quarter. Two Jacksonville defenders were called on pass interference, leading to a free 48 yards for the Titans. Two plays later, Mariota sold a beautiful fake and took it 23 yards for a touchdown. That rushing total doubled the total rushing yards the team had at the time.
It was a very slow first half of play. Both offenses struggled to move the ball. The Titans got on the board first with a 47-yard field goal from Ryan Succop, and the Jaguars tied it at the start of the second quarter when Jason Myers hit one from 31 yards. Succop and Myers each made field goals, of 49 and 32 yards, before the first half came to an end.
The second half had a little more action, but not by much. The best drive of the game was the first Titans touchdown, and that drive was assisted by two huge pass interference penalties. Succop missed a field goal in the fourth quarter.
The AFC South has not been a good division. The Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans are tied at 4-5, which put them on top going into Thursday's game. With a Jaguars win, they're 4-6 and right there with those teams.
3 things we learned from Thursday's game
There are still no solutions for Tennessee's running game
The Titans have had little production from their running game this season and that didn't change on Thursday. Antonio Andrews, Dexter McCluster and Bishop Sankey came into the game as the top three backs, and none of them inspire any confidence. Andrews had a 3.5 yards per carry average. But there was some optimism as promising rookie David Cobb was set to play in his first NFL game after a stint on injured reserve.
As noted above, when Mariota took in a 23-yard touchdown, he doubled the Titans' rushing yardage. At the time, Antonio Andrews, the starter, had 24 yards on six carries. Andrews eventually put together a couple solid runs late and the Titans finished with 104 rushing yards altogether. But the consistency was not there and that hurt them big time.
Jacksonville passing game slow to start
Jacksonville's top receivers, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, have been nothing short of amazing this season. The pair are both looking like they will eclipse 1,000 receiving yards this season, but both were covered well by the Titans on Thursday. Perrish Cox returned from an injury and he played well for the Titans and Hurns and Robinson were both held to limited production in the first half.
Robinson ended up finding his rhythm and had a good game, catching five passes for 113 yards. Hurns was quiet throughout the game, catching three passes for 28 yards. Tennessee came into Thursday's game with one of the top passing defenses, and they held up for the most part.
Green-Beckham has quiet game
Titans receiver Justin Hunter is out for the year and Kendall Wright missed his third consecutive game due to injury. Rookie Dorial Green-Beckham, one of the most intriguing players for the Titans, was one of the top receivers for Mariota on Thursday. He started alongside Harry Douglas but had a quiet game overall. The Titans were hurting for receiving targets overall, though tight end Delanie Walker had a big game, with 109 yards on eight catches Green-Beckham finished three catches for 40 yards, two of which came in the final minutes of the game.