SANTA CLARA, Calif. – They lost, but they also won – sort of.
That was one way to describe a very weird day for the Jaguars, who on Sunday lost to the San Francisco 49ers by a score of 44-33 at Levi's Stadium on the same day they won the 2017 AFC South title.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo led early and late surges for the 49ers (5-10), and the Jaguars (10-5) rallied from a 16-0 first-half deficit before losing for just the second time in their last nine games. The Jaguars rallied late after trailing 37-19 early in the fourth quarter.
And yet, the Jaguars also made history Sunday.
They did that when the Los Angeles Rams (11-4) beat the Tennessee Titans, 27-23, at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. The second-place Titans fell to 8-7 with the loss, which means they could not catch the Jaguars in the South with one game remaining in the regular season.
The Titans game started at 1 p.m. Eastern and ended in the first quarter of the Jaguars-49ers game, which began at 4:05 Eastern.
Images of the Jaguars Week 16 matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.
The division title was the Jaguars' first since they won the AFC Central title in 1999. The division title means the Jaguars will play host to at least one playoff game. The last playoff game in Jacksonville was the AFC Championship game following the 1999 season.
Garoppolo won for the fourth time in as many starts with the 49ers, completing 21 of 30 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles completed 30 of 48 passes for 375 yards and two touchdowns with a season-high three interceptions – including one that cornerback Dontae Johnson returned 50 yards for a second-quarter touchdown.
The Jaguars outgained the 49ers, 472-369, but committed a season-high 12 penalties for 99 yards and also had three turnovers to one for San Francisco.
Step by step:
*The 49ers dominated early, taking a 10-0 lead on a one-yard sneak by Garoppolo and a 27-yard field goal by Robbie Gould in the game's first 10 minutes. The 49ers had a 133 to minus-1 total-yardage advantage at that point, by which time the Jaguars had clinched the division title because of the Rams' victory in Nashville. The 49ers finished the quarter with a 157-29 advantage in total yards. …
*The Jaguars got their footing in the second quarter, but not before the 49ers extended the lead with a strange sequence. Cornerback Dontae Johnson caught a deflected pass by Bortles and returned it for a 50-yard touchdown and a 16-0 49ers lead. Jaguars cornerback Jalen Myrick blocked the conversion attempt and Aaron Colvin returned it for a two-point conversion for the Jaguars that made it 16-2, 49ers. The Jaguars responded to Bortles' first pick-six of the season with a 75-yard drive that ended with a one-yard run by rookie running back Leonard Fournette to make it 16-9, 49ers, with 5:15 remaining. The Jaguars then tied it when wide receiver Jaelen Strong caught a five-yard pass from Bortles that caromed off the hands of Fournette. Strong's touchdown a day after being activated from the practice squad made it 16-16 at halftime.
*The Jaguars pushed into the lead on the opening drive of the second half with a 45-yard field goal by Josh Lambo with 10:57 remaining in the third quarter. After Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue sacked Garoppolo to end the ensuing drive, they had a chance to extend the lead, but cornerback K'Waun Williams' interception set up an eight-yard touchdown pass from Garoppolo to tight end George Kittle that gave the 49ers a 23-19 lead with 6:46 remaining in the third quarter.
*San Francisco extended the lead with Garoppolo's five-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Trent Taylor with10:39 remaining in the fourth quarter. After cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon intercepted Bortles on the ensuing drive, running back Carlos Hyde's six-yard touchdown run made it 37-19 with 8:59 remaining. The Jaguars cut the lead to 37-27 with a one-yard run by running back T.J. Yeldon and a subsequent two-point conversion pass from Bortles to tight end Ben Koyack. After recovering the onside kick, the Jaguars cut it to 37-33 with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Bortles to tight end James O'Shaughnessy with 1:49 remaining. Lambo's conversion hit the right upright. Running back Matt Breida's 30-yard touchdown run in the final two minutes gave San Francisco the final margin.
Notable: Safety Barry Church intercepted Garoppolo in the end zone late in the first half. It was a critical play that kept the Jaguars within seven points – 16-9 – and also gave the Jaguars a franchise-record 21 interceptions for the season. … Jaguars rookie wide receiver Keelan Cole caught six passes for 108 yards Sunday to become the first rookie in franchise history with back-to-back 100-yard receiving games. … When the Jaguars allowed the 49ers to score a touchdown on the game's opening drive, it marked the first time this season the Jaguars' defense had allowed an opening-drive touchdown. The only other time a Jaguars opponent had scored a touchdown to open a game this season was against the Los Angeles Rams in October when the Rams scored on the opening kickoff return. …
Injury report: Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson left in the second quarter with an abdominal strain and did not return; he was replaced by Josh Wells. … Rookie linebacker Blair Brown left in the second quarter with a concussion and did not return. … Cole left briefly in the fourth quarter with an ankle injury but returned. … Strong left with a knee injury in the fourth quarter and did not return. … The Jaguars were without wide receivers Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee Sunday; Hurns was deactivated 90 minutes before kickoff Sunday and Lee had been ruled out Friday. The Jaguars' other five inactives Sunday: nose tackle Eli Ankou, defensive end Carroll Phillips, offensive guard Chris Reed, offensive tackle Josh Walker and offensive tackle William Poehls.
What's next: The Jaguars are scheduled to visit the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, December 1, at 1 p.m.