NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A dark, cold day felt that way too often for the Jaguars Sunday.
The result? The Jaguars finished the 2017 regular season on a two-game losing streak – and the Tennessee Titans are in the playoffs.
Mistakes and a struggling offense defined the Jaguars’ day, and a strong defensive effort wasn’t enough as the AFC South Champions lost a second consecutive road game – 15-10 to the Titans at Nissan Stadium Sunday as New Year’s Eve afternoon turned into evening.
The Jaguars finished the season 10-6 after clinching their first AFC South title last week. The Titans, who entered Sunday with three consecutive losses, qualified for the postseason with the victory over the Jaguars.
The Jaguars, the No. 3 seed in the AFC, will play host to an AFC Wild Card Playoff game January 6-7. The date and time of the game is to be announced Sunday evening.
The opponent was undetermined at the end of the Jaguars-Titans game.
The Jaguars fell behind 6-3 in the second quarter Sunday, with the Titans stretching the lead with field goals of 25, 39 and 38 yards by Ryan Succop late in the second quarter and early in the third.
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles completed 15 of 33 passes for 158 yards and no touchdowns with two interceptions. He had multiple passes dropped, including a potential 34-yard touchdown to rookie wide receiver Dede Westbrook. That would have made it a six-point Titans lead in the third quarter.
The Jaguars cut into the Titans lead early in the fourth quarter when defensive end Yannick Ngakoue returned a fumbled exchange between Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota and running back Derrick Henry 67 yards. Josh Lambo’s point after made it 15-10, Titans, with 10:48 remaining.
That was the Jaguars’ seventh defensive touchdown of the season, the most in franchise history.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 12 of 21 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. The Jaguars held the Titans to 232 total yards.
The Jaguars produced just 232 total yards and committed four turnovers to one for Tennessee. The Jaguars lost the turnover margin 3-1 in a loss to San Francisco last week.
Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette rushed for 69 yards on 19 carries, and finished the season with 1,040 yard rushing. He became the second rookie in franchise history to rush for more than 1,000 yards, joining Fred Taylor (1998).
Step by step:
*The teams were tied 0-0 after a quarter, with the Jaguars failing to take advantage of 56-11 total-yardage advantage. The Titans had minus-2 yards rushing in the quarter, but began driving at the end of the quarter with the possession turning into the game’s first points.
*The Titans took the lead with a 66-yard screen pass from Mariota to Henry, a play that gave Tennessee a 6-0 lead with 14:04 remaining in the half; linebacker Telvin Smith Sr. blocked the extra point following the 82-yard drive. Josh Lambo’s 41-yard field goal ended the ensuing possession to cut the Titans’ lead to 6-3 with 10:14 remaining in the second quarter. Ryan Succop’s 25-yard field goal came with 1:21 remaining in the half, with the Jaguars holding the Titans to a field goal after a muffed punt and penalty gave Tennessee possession at the Jaguars 12. Succop’s 39-yard field goal on the final play of the half followed a fumble by rookie wide receiver Keelan Cole and gave Tennessee a 12-3 halftime lead.
*The Titans continued to build their advantage with a 38-yard field goal by Succop with 7:42 remaining in the third quarter. That came after another short field with the Titans driving 23 yards for the score. The Titans had 146 yards total offense at the time.
*Notable: The Jaguars registered three sacks Sunday, finishing the season with a league-best 55. … The temperature was 23 degrees at kickoff, marking the Jaguars’ coldest game since a January 3, 2000 game at Cleveland. It was the fifth-coldest game in Jaguars history. … The Jaguars forced a three and out on the Titans’ first possession, meaning the defense gave up just one touchdown on the opponent’s opening drive in 16 regular-season games.; they held opponents without a touchdown on 13 of 16 opening possessions. … The Jaguars shut out the Titans in the first quarter, meaning they finished the regular season allowing a league-low 43 points. … Wide receiver Allen Hurns returned Sunday after missing six weeks with an ankle injury, catching three passes for 38 yards. Cole remained in the starting lineup after moving into the starting lineup when Hurns was injured against Los Angeles in November. …
*Injury report: Strong safety Barry Church left with a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter and returned. … Rookie left tackle Cam Robinson missed Sunday with an abdomen injury, marking the first missed start of his career; Josh Wells replaced him in the lineup. Wide receiver Marqise Lee (ankle) missed a second consecutive game with Westbook again starting in his place. Other Jaguars inactives Sunday: Wide receiver Montay Crockett, defensive tackle Abry Jones (back), running back Chris Ivory, offensive guard Chris Reed and offensive lineman William Poehls. Marcell Dareus started for Jones, making his first start since being acquired in an October trade with Buffalo. …
*What’s next: *The Jaguars will play host to an AFC Wild Card Playoff Saturday or Sunday, January 6-7.