JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines five key plays from the Jaguars’ 20-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans in a 2022 Week 18 game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Saturday
1. All.The.Way.Back. We'll cheat tonight and move the game's final key play to No. 1 on this list because Saturday's game-winning play was far and away the game's biggest play – and one of the biggest plays in the Jaguars' 28 seasons. The Jaguars didn't lead during the first 57 minutes Saturday, rallying from an early 10-point deficit to cut the lead to three points three different times. Finally, with just under three minutes remaining, safety Rayshawn Jenkins got around the edge on a blitz and sacked Titans quarterback Joshua Dobbs. The hit forced a fumble that bounced forward. Outside linebacker Josh Allen picked up the fumble on one bounce on the run and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown, the Jaguars' first lead of the game and the game-winning points. "I got back there and he was still holding the ball," Jenkins said. "I said, 'Just go for the ball. The sack is already there. I'm back there and the sack is there. Let's be great and make a great play. Let's swat at this ball.' I was fortunate to get it." Said Allen, "With Ray, he made a play. A sense of urgency. He cut that corner so clean. It was clean. It was a sense of urgency. It was playing for one another."
2. Early aggression – and early patience. The Titans were bold and patient early Saturday, an approach that yielded a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter. The Titans on their second possession drove 51 yards on 17 plays on a drive that consumed 9:59. The Titans on the drive twice converted fourth downs – with Dobbs passing seven yards to tight end Austin Hooper to convert fourth-and-three from the Jaguars 48 and nine yards to wide receiver Robert Woods to convert fourth-and-three from the Jaguars 34. Kicker Randy Bullock's 51-yard field goal capped the drive and gave the Titans a 3-0 lead with 1:23 remaining in the first quarter.
3. Uh-oh. The Titans had momentum early in the second quarter – and they gained more from a Jaguars error in Titans territory. The Jaguars drove into Titans territory on the possession after Bullock's 51-yard field goal. They converted two big third downs with passes from quarterback Trevor Lawrence to running back Travis Etienne Jr. and wide receiver Christian Kirk. But on first-and-10 from the Titans 22, Lawrence pitched to wide receiver Jamal Agnew, who was running a reverse. The pitch was botched, and Titans outside linebacker Rashad Weaver recovered at the Titans 31 with 9:24 remaining in the second quarter. The Titans took advantage, driving 69 yards to take a 10-0 lead when Dobbs passed 21 yards to tight end Chig Okonkwo with 5:32 remaining in the second quarter.
4. Agnew time – and Trevor time. The Jaguars needed a big play or big drive after Okonkwo's touchdown. They got both on the ensuing series, with the big play coming when Agnew returned the ensuing kickoff 54 yards to the 50. The Jaguars immediately turned in their most efficient drive of the game to that point, with Lawrence converting third-and-six from the Titans 35 with a 10-yard pass to tight end Evan Engram. Lawrence on the next play had plenty of time behind good blocking from the line, then found wide receiver Christian Kirk open in the short left corner of the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown to cut the Titans' lead to 10-7 with 2:36 remaining in the second quarter.
5. Oh no – and OK. The Jaguars opened the third quarter with an impressive drive – and though they cut a 13-7 Titans halftime lead to three points, they missed a chance to take the lead. The Jaguars drove 64 yards on 12 plays to open the half and faced third-and-seven from the Titans eight late in the drive. Lawrence on the play was pressured, then overthrew wide receiver Zay Jones wide open crossing in the back of the end zone. Jaguars kicker Riley Patterson's 26-yard field goal cut the Titans' lead to 13-10 with 10:09 remaining in the third quarter.
5a. Piiiiiick. The Jaguars didn't force a turnover for the first two and a half quarters. When they got their first takeaway, it led to key points. On third-and-17 from the Titans 13, Dobbs threw deep to rookie wide receiver Treylon Burks. The pass was short, and cornerback Tyson Campbell intercepted and returned it to the Titans 25 with :41 remaining in the third quarter. The play led to a 36-yard field goal by Patterson that cut the Titans' lead to 16-13 with 14:49 remaining in the fourth quarter.