JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines five key plays from the Jaguars' 37-19 loss to the Tennessee Titans in a 2021 Week 5 game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday …
1. All the way the other way. The Jaguars needed a quick start – and a good first series offensively. Instead, on 3rd-and-10 from the Jaguars 25 on the third play of their first offensive possession, Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw short to tight end Dan Arnold, who fumbled as he was hit by Titans cornerback Elijah Molden – a play that happened quickly enough some observers wondered if Arnold completed the reception. Officials ruled he had done so and that it was indeed a fumble. Titans safety Kevin Byard recovered, got to his feet and weaved through the Jaguars offense – making Lawrence and another Jaguars player miss – for a 30-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Titans lead with 14:00 remaining in the first quarter.
2. J-Rob rolls. Second-year running back James Robinson has been a bright spot offensively for the Jaguars the last two seasons. He not only was a bright spot early Sunday, but he also made the play that gave the Jaguars first-quarter momentum. Robinson's five-yard run on the first play of the series after Byard's touchdown set up 2nd-and-5, with Robinson then breaking over left tackle for 58 yards for a first down to the Titans 12. The Jaguars' continued running effectively from there, with running back Carlos Hyde running for 7 and 4 yards to the Titans 1. Robinson's one-yard power run on 1st-and-goal from there pulled the Jaguars to within 7-6, with Matthew Wright – elevated from the practice squad Saturday – missing off the right upright with 11:21 remaining in the first quarter. Robinson finished Sunday with a career-high 149 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries – an 8.3-yards-per-carry average. "The line just did a really good job today opening up holes," Robinson said. "Every time I got the ball, it was kind of a big play."
3. So close. Jaguars cornerback Shaq Griffin already was frustrated, dropping at least two interceptions in the first four games of the 2021 season. That grew early Sunday, when the veteran captain dropped an interception that could have resulted in a Jaguars touchdown – or at least very good field position. Griffin late in the first quarter on 2nd-and-6 from the Titans 25 cut in front of a pass from quarterback Ryan Tannehill to wide receiver A.J. Brown. Griffin dropped the pass, with Tannehill throwing to 25 yards to wide receiver Jeremy McNichols in the ensuing play. Titans running back Derrick Henry's one yard run eight plays later gave the Titans a 14-6 lead. "Very, very, very frustrating," Griffin said. "I had both hands on it. Those are the ones I have to pull in. If I catch the ones I should catch, that's three interceptions this year. So, yeah … very frustrating."
4. Kicking themselves. The Jaguars' kicking woes continued in a big way Sunday – and while missed chances for points didn't define the game, they certainly changed first-half momentum. Wright's missed extra point early kept them down 7-6 and meant they trailed 14-13 after the teams exchanged touchdowns later in the half. Wright then missed from 53 yards with 2:22 remaining in the half, with Titans kicker Randy Bullock then converting from 34 yards with :33 remaining in the half to push the Titans lead to 24-13. Had Wright made the two kicks, the margin would have been a touchdown at halftime rather than two scores. The Jaguars this season have yet to convert a field goal and have missed three extra points. Josh Lambo, who kicked in the first three games, missed three field goals in Weeks 1 and 2 and he missed two of three extra points in a Week 3 loss to Arizona. A 24-21 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4 was the only game this season to date in which the Jaguars did not miss a field goal or extra point.
5. Touchdown – then not. The Jaguars nearly got back in the game early in the fourth quarter – and then they didn't. With the Jaguars trailing 31-19, Lawrence scored an apparent touchdown on a four-yard run on 3rd-and-goal from the Titans 4. Officials initially ruled the play a touchdown but ruled upon review that Lawrence had been tackled at what essentially was the Titans' four-or-five-inch line. Hyde was stopped for a four-yard loss on the ensuing play, preserving the Titans' 12-point lead. "That was tough," Lawrence said. "We score there, the defense goes back on the field and gets a stop, we get the ball back and go win the game. I thought I got in. They reversed it. That's tough. You want to be able to punch that in. It was disappointing, for sure." Head Coach Urban Meyer said afterward Lawrence isn't yet comfortable with the quarterback sneak in that situation. "I feel comfortable," Lawrence said. "Obviously, I haven't really ran it before in a game, but I feel comfortable. It's something we've worked. We trust our guys up front. We trust our backs in that situation."
The Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Tennessee Titans for the Week 5 matchup at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.