JACKSONVILLE – The opportunities were there. Over and over again.
And again. And again.
The Jaguars (4-6) at last took advantage – just in time – with the end result a 19-13 prime-time, nationally-televised, come-from-behind AFC South victory over the Tennessee Titans (2-8) in front of 60,121 at EverBank Field Thursday night.
Rookie wide receiver Rashad Greene returned a fourth-quarter punt 63 yards to the Titans 5, with tight end Julius Thomas' five-yard touchdown reception from quarterback Blake Bortles on the ensuing play giving the Jaguars a 16-13 lead with 3:30 remaining.
That was the seventh time the Jaguars been in Titans territory. It was their first touchdown after three field goals by rookie kicker Jason Myers.
Cornerback Davon House forced and recovered a fumble on the ensuing possession, giving the Jaguars possession at the Titans 28. Myers converted a 36-yard field goal for a six-point lead.
The Titans' final drive ended on the game's final play when Jaguars defensive end Andre Branch sacked Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota on 1st-and-10 from the Jaguars 23.
Mariota's 23-yard run with 5:22 remaining in the third quarter gave the Titans a 13-9 lead, with the drive aided by back-to-back 15-yard and 33-yard interference penalties on House and cornerback Aaron Colvin.
The Jaguars drove to the Titans 23 two possessions later, but Bortles was intercepted by linebacker Zach Brown with 10:49 remaining.
The Jaguars are now a half-game behind Indianapolis and Houston in the AFC South.
Bortles completed 21 of 30 passes for 242 yards with one touchdown and one interceptions, while Mariota completed 22 of 35 passes for 231 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions.
Bortles dealt with dehydration in the locker room early in the fourth quarter, but did not miss a play.
The Jaguars, after a 6-6 halftime tie, stalled for a third time in the red zone on their first drive of the second half. Myers' 20-yard field goal made it 9-6 after three runs from the Titans 6 by backup running back Denard Robinson netted four yards.
The Jaguars outgained the Titans 174-147 in the first half, twice settling for field goals after driving past the Tennessee 20. The Jaguars drove past the 50 four times in the first half, also giving up possession with a punt and a fumble by Bortles.
Bortles had completed 10 of 15 passes for 125 yards at halftime with Mariota completing 10 of 17 passes for 128 yards. The Jaguars held the Titans to 20 first-half rushing yards.
Succop gave the Titans an early 3-0 lead with a 47-yard field goal, a kick that ended the first possession of the game. Tennessee drove 51 yards on 10 plays on the drive.
Myers tied it 3-3 with a 31-yard field that ended the Jaguars' second possession with 14:53 remaining in the second quarter. The field goal ended an 11-play, 73-yard drive, with Succop giving the Titans a 6-3 lead by capping the ensuing drive with a 49-yard field goal with 11:03 remaining in the second quarter,
Myers' 32-yard field goal with :31 remaining in the second quarter made it 6-6 at halftime.
Player of the game
Rashad Greene, wide receiver.Maybe it's better to call this the "play of the game." Whatever you call it, Greene's fourth-quarter punt return was undoubtedly the key play. He took the punt near the right sideline, avoided the coverage and was knocked out of bounds at the 5 by safety Daimion Stafford. The Jaguars took the lead a play later.
The Jaguars finished with 308 yards total offense, and while they struggled in the red zone, they scored the go-ahead touchdown late when given the opportunity. The Jaguars had 174 yards offense in the first half, including 64 rushing.
The Jaguars allowed 316 yards and 22 first downs, but except for a penalty-aided drive did not allow a touchdown. The Jaguars held the Titans to 147 yards in the first half.
Kicker Jason Myers converted four of four field goals and an extra point, including kicks from 31, 32, 20 and 36 yards. Greene's return was the key play of the game, and the punt coverage improved from recent weeks.
*Otto linebacker Dan Skuta left the game with a groin injury. He had started the game after missing last Sunday with a groin injury.
*Running back T.J. Yeldon started after missing practice with a groin injury Monday and Tuesday.
*Wide receiver Bryan Walters (concussion) was active, as was wide receiver Rashad Greene (thumb) and wide receiver Allen Hurns (foot). Walters was cleared from the concussion program this week and Greene was moved to the active roster from the injured reserve-designated to return list. …
*Jaguars inactives Thursday: running back Joe Banyard, running back Bernard Pierce, cornerback Nick Marshall, tight end Nic Jacobs, defensive tackle Michael Bennett, defensive end Chris Smith and offensive lineman Luke Bowanko.
*Robinson returned kickoffs with Marshall inactive while Greene moved into the punt return role in his first game off IR-designated to return.
*Walters had an impressive catch early, picking up a first down with a 31-yard gain that helped set up the Jaguars' first field goal. He finished with two receptions for 35 yards.
*House continued to have a big season for the Jaguars, defensing a pass in the first half to raise his career-high total to 17. His second-quarter pass breakup nearly was intercepted by safety Sergio Brown.
*Defensive end Jared Odrick had a first-half tackle for loss, as did defensive tackles Tyson Alualu and Roy Miller. That group along with Skuta and Paul middle linebacker Posluszny continued to be key for the Jaguars' run defense. Odrick also had a second-half sack.
*Cornerback Aaron Colvin also had a big pass breakup on the game's final drive.