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Game Report, Week 18: Titans 28, Jaguars 20

Game Report - Week 18

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Comeback Cats almost came back at the right time.

They just didn't come back enough.

Trevor Lawrence threw a fourth-quarter touchdown, but his goal-to-go fourth-down run minutes later fell inches short. That became the key play in the game and in the 2023 season – with the Tennessee Titans eliminating the Jaguars from the postseason with a 28-20 victory at Nissan Stadium Sunday afternoon.

"It's disappointing," Head Coach Doug Pederson said. "It's disappointing the way we finished our season, obviously. It's definitely not good enough. Things start with me and I have to make sure I'm holding myself accountable and I'm doing all I can to help our football team win on and off the football field, but just not good enough."

The loss in the 2023 regular-season finale cost the Jaguars (9-8) a second consecutive AFC South title. They had been eliminated from wild-card contention Saturday night.

"It's hard to process in this moment," Jaguars safety Andre Cisco said. "I definitely didn't think of an outcome where we'd be going home today."

Lawrence called being eliminated from the postseason Sunday "surreal."

"It's tough," he said. "It's kind of hard to put into words right now. The whole season comes down to one game and then you look back and it's like a few plays – your whole season comes down to a few plays and you just weren't able to make them."

The Jaguars lost five of their final six regular-season games after an 8-3 start.

"It hurts to not be able to finish," Lawrence said. "You look at where we were at one point in the season and we just finished really, really poorly and kind of gave it away. There are so many things you look at and it's disappointing and frustrating. We have a lot of really great players and I think we have the potential to be a great team.

“We didn't finish the year that way. I think we were headed towards that halfway through the season and for whatever reason, just didn't finish well.”

The Jaguars trailed 28-20 midway through the fourth quarter Sunday when Lawrence's dive over the line of scrimmage on fourth-and-goal from the one was stopped for no gain.

"He saw something," Pederson said. "It wasn't the actual play call, but he saw something there and he had an opportunity to sneak it. With his length, usually that works."

Lawrence reached the ball toward the goal line at the snap, but didn't cross the plane.

"That's one of those plays: I've scored on it four or five times and didn't on that one," Lawrence said. "I have to take accountability for that. If you do it, you better score and I didn't. So it's unfortunate."

The Jaguars took possession once more. A long pass from Lawrence to wide receiver Calvin Ridley behind the Titans defense was just incomplete off Ridley's fingers near the Titans 25 just after the 2:00 warning. That was on second-and-two from the Jaguars 33.


Lawrence's pass two plays later on fourth-and-two to Engram was incomplete with 1:50 remaining. The Titans knelt out the clock.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Lawrence's 14-yard touchdown pass to Engram, cut a 15-point Titans lead to eight. The Jaguars, after rallying to win six times when trailing by a touchdown or more last season, did not win a game when trailing at halftime this season.

Lawrence's 59-yard pass to Ridley gave the Jaguars a 10-7 second quarter lead, but the Titans scored touchdowns on three of their next four possessions and led 28-13 after a six-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Tannehill to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins early in the third quarter.

Lawrence, who started at quarterback for the Jaguars in his first 49 regular-season games, returned on Sunday after missing the previous week with a sprained AC joint. He completed 29 of 43 passes for 280 yards and one touchdown with two interceptions.

Titans running back Derrick Henry rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. Tannehill completed 17 of 26 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.

The Jaguars registered two sacks Sunday, with outside linebacker Travon Walker registering his 10th sack of the season late in the first half and outside linebacker Josh Allen registering his 17.5th sack of the season in the fourth quarter.

Cisco's second-half interception marked the Jaguars' 27th takeaway of the season. Tight end Brenton Strange tackled Titans punter Ty Zentner after a fumbled snap late in the first half, a play that led to a Jaguars field goal.


Step by Step:

  • Kicker Brandon McManus' 44-yard field goal capped the game's opening drive and gave the Jaguars a 3-0 lead with 9:45 remaining in the first quarter. The Titans drove 75 yards on the ensuing possession, taking a 7-3 lead when running back Tyjae Spears caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Tannehill with 5:57 remaining in the first quarter.
  • Ridley's 59-yard reception from Lawrence capped an 88-yard drive and gave the Jaguars a 10-7 lead with 12:24 remaining in the second quarter. Henry capped the ensuing possession with an 18-yard run to give Tennessee a 14-10 lead with 8:27 remaining in the half. Spears' three-yard run on the Titans' next possession pushed the lead to 21-10 with 3:03 remaining in the half; that 36-yard drive began when Titans safety Terrell Edmunds intercepted a pass from Lawrence that deflected off Engram. The Jaguars cut the lead to 21-13 with a 30-yard field goal by McManus on the half's final play; that play came four plays after Zentner's botched punt attempt.
  • The Titans quickly reestablished momentum early in the second half, with Tannehill's six-yard pass to wide receiver Hopkins pushing the lead to 28-13 with 12:45 remaining in the third quarter; Henry's 69-yard run to the Jaguars four set up the touchdown.


  • Lawrence and wide receiver Zay Jones both started Sunday for the Jaguars after practicing limited throughout the week and being listed as questionable on Friday's final injury report of the week. Jones missed the last two games with a knee injury. Wide receiver Christian Kirk was among five Jaguars inactives Sunday after being listed as questionable Friday with a groin injury; Kirk was activated from injured reserve Saturday after missing the last three games. The Jaguars' four other inactive players Sunday: guard Cole Van Lanen, outside linebacker Yasir Abdullah, defensive lineman Angelo Blackson and quarterback Matt Barkley (emergency third quarterback).

Injury Report:

  • The Jaguars reported no injuries Sunday.

Battle in Nashville ⚔️ Check out top game photos during the Week 18 showdown against the Tennessee Titans.

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