JACKSONVILLE – The smiles were wide, and the plays were big. Real big.
In fact, pretty much all was jolly around EverBank Field on Christmas Eve – and the Jaguars won in Jacksonville for the first time this season.
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles threw for an efficient, productive 325 yards and a touchdown, turning in his best performance of the season as the Jaguars beat the Tennessee Titans 38-17 in front of 59,621 at EverBank Field on Saturday afternoon.
The Jaguars took a 10-0 first-quarter lead and never trailed. They lost to the Titans, 36-22 on October 27 in Nashville in a game Tennessee led 27-0 at halftime.
Bortles also caught a 20-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Marqise Lee in the fourth quarter, a play that gave the Jaguars a two-touchdown lead with less than six minutes remaining.
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey's 30-yard interception return for a touchdown gave the Jaguars a three-touchdown lead moments later.
The victory came in Doug Marrone's debut as Jaguars interim head coach. The Jaguars (3-12) had been 0-6 at EverBank this season with their lone home victory coming at Wembley Stadium in London in Week 4 against Indianapolis.
The victory came less than week after the team relieved former Head Coach Gus Bradley of his duties. It also snapped the Jaguars' nine-game losing streak, the longest single-season losing streak in the franchise's history.
The Titans, who entered the game tied for the AFC South lead with Houston, fell to 8-7.
The Titans, after trailing 19-7, at halftime, cut into the lead with a 42-yard field goal by Ryan Succop with 12:29 remaining in the third quarter. That made it 19-10 – and came after the Titans recovered a fumble by Jaguars running back Chris Ivory at the Jaguars 26.
Jaguars kicker Jason Myers' season-long 56-yard field goal on the ensuing series pushed the Jaguars' lead back to 12 – 22-10 – with 8:13 remaining in the third quarter.
Myers' 50-yard field goal on the Jaguars' next possession pushed the lead to 25-10 with 2:59 remaining in the third quarter.
Titans backup quarterback Matt Cassell, playing for injured starter Marcus Mariota, completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Delanie Walker with 8:52 remaining that pulled the Titans to within 25-17.
Lee's 20-yard touchdown on a throwback pass to Bortles came on the ensuing series with 5:32 remaining. That gave the Jaguars a 31-17 lead.
Bortles completed 26 of 38 passes for 325 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions, turning in his most complete, most-productive game of the season. Wide receiver Allen Robinson also turned in his best game of the season, catching nine passes for a season-high 147 yards.
Robinson had six receptions for 103 yards at halftime, and his 21-yard, one-handed reception on the sideline gave the Jaguars a critical fourth-quarter first down.
Mariota completed eight of 20 passes for 99 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. He left the game with an ankle injury late in the third quarter. Cassell replaced Mariota and completed 13 of 24 passes for 124 yards and a touchdown with an interception in a little more than a quarter.
The Jaguars took a 7-0 lead when Bortles capped the game's first drive with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Lee. That was the Jaguars' second game-opening touchdown drive of the season. The last time it happened was in a loss to Buffalo on November 27.
The Jaguars pushed the lead to 10-0 with a 29-yard field goal by Myers on the ensuing possession. That was the third time this season the Jaguars have held a double-digit lead, having done so against Indianapolis in Week 4 and against Houston last week.
Mariota's six-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Rishard Matthews with 8:59 remaining in the second quarter made it 10-7, Jaguars. A roughing-the-passer penalty on defensive tackle Sheldon Day gave Tennessee first down on the drive after Ramsey broke up a deep pass on third down.
Bortles led another touchdown drive late in the first half, a possession capped by a one-yard touchdown run by running back Chris Ivory. When Myers missed the extra-point kick, the Jaguars led 16-7 with 1:57 remaining. Bortles completed eight of eight passes for 77 yards on the 75-yard drive.
Myers' 48-yard field goal with :23 remaining in the second quarter made it 19-7, Jaguars.
PLAYER OF THE GAME …
Bortles. The Jaguars' third-year quarterback has struggled more often than not this season, but he was efficient and accurate early Saturday – and that was enough to give the Jaguars momentum and a lead they never relinquished.
The Jaguars finished with 415 yards offense after producing 273 yards and 16 first downs in the first half.
The Jaguars held the Titans to 263 total yards after allowing 97 yards and eight first downs in the first half.
The Jaguars' coverage teams had their best game in nearly half the season. The lone glaring mistake: a missed extra point in the second quarter by kicker Jason Myers, who converted all four of his field goals.
INJURY UPDATES …
Running back T.J. Yeldon left in the first quarter with an ankle injury and did not return, and Ivory left the game in the third quarter after reinjuring his hamstring.
Rookie Brandon Allen, inactive as the third-team quarterback in every game this season, was the only healthy player among the Jaguars' seven game-day inactives.
The other inactives: Wide receiver Arrelious Benn (concussion), defensive tackle Jordan Hill (calf), wide receiver Allen Hurns (hamstring), linebacker Sean Porter (hamstring), running back Denard Robinson (ankle) and tight end Neal Sterling (concussion).
*Ramsey had four passes defensed after a five-breakup performance last week. He has a team-high 13 breakups this season. He also had a pass breakup negated by a roughing-the-passer penalty against Day in the second quarter.
*The Jaguars scored 10 points in the first quarter and had 140 yards at that point. They hadn't scored 10 or more points in the fourth quarter since a Week 2 2015 victory over Miami.
*Day registered his first career sack in the third quarter on the play that injured Mariota.
*Lee and Bortles became the first NFL duo in 31 years to throw and catch touchdown passes with one another.