JACKSONVILLE -- Senior writer John Oehser's five takeaways from the Jaguars' 19-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field Thursday
1. Flair for the dramatic.We begin game-night takeaways with Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley, who in the wake of Thursday's dramatic, come-from-behind victory said, "I think we're seeing who we are." Indeed. The Jaguars' third victory in four games came the same way all four of their victories have come this season – in nail-biting, last-minute fashion. "We're getting these one possession games and we've been in them all year," Bradley said. "To see us do enough to get the win is great. We need this spirit, we need this will, the trust and the faith that they have in one another. … That's what's great about this team. I'm sure there will be many more to come like this, in these one possession games. Fortunately we came out of the good end this time and we'll get back to work." The Jaguars on Thursday trailed 13-9 before taking their second lead of the game on a five-yard pass from Blake Bortles to tight end Julius Thomas with 3:30 remaining. They clinched the victory when defensive end Andre Branch sacked Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota on the game's final play, which began at the Jaguars 23. "We closed out a game and got a 'W,''' Branch said. "That's the most important thing."
2. Sudden impact. Rookie wide receiver Rashad Greene waited eight games to make an impact. It was worth the wait. Greene, who missed the last eight games on injured reserve-designated to return with a thumb injury, immediately took over punt return duties– and immediately came up with one of the Jaguars' biggest plays of the season. The Jaguars trailed 13-9 with just under four minutes remaining, Greene caught a punt at the Jaguars 32 on the right side of the field. He broke contain just after fielding the punt, then evaded the coverage before being knocked out of bounds at the Titans 5. "When it came off of his foot I saw that it was kind of short, so I peeked and saw my guys blocking and knew that I was going to get a gain from it, regardless," Greene said. "Early in the return I saw a couple of lanes here and there, so I knew there was an opportunity based on what we were trying to set up. I just needed that ball and he gave it to me the way I wanted it … I did my best to make a play, but I've just got to give it back to the guys up front. They did a hell of a job blocking for us."
3. Closing time.The game's final play was one Branch said sort of felt like took forever. It was also one of the biggest plays of the four-year veteran's Jaguars career. The backup Leo defensive end was part of a pass rush that pressured Mariota well throughout much of the fourth quarter. Branch said he had been getting good pressure on the edge, which he said helped set up the final play. "I knew he (Titans right tackle Byron Bell) was going to jump out," Branch said. "As soon as I beat him around the edge, Mariota stepped up to buy some time and I just countered back inside." On the play, Branch covered about 10 yards chasing Mariota down from behind as Mariota looked for a receiver from around the 25-yard line. "It's kind of like slow motion," Branch said with a laugh, adding of the game's final drive. "We finally had a chance to put the game on our backs. We were trying to rush with four the whole game. They were throwing the ball quick, but you can't get frustrated. We just kept working and we finally got a chance to rush these guys."
Images from the Jaguars Week-11 matchup with AFC South foe Tennessee Titans.
4. Gutting it up.The Jaguars didn't make it through Thursday uninjured. Guard Zane Beadles was being evaluated for a concussion after the game, but the most significant injury may have been to Otto linebacker Dan Skuta. The veteran played through a groin injury Thursday that kept him out of last Sunday's victory over Baltimore. He reaggravated the injury and left in the second quarter. "I made it a while," Skuta said. "I made it to late second-quarter, then it just popped on me. I tried it at halftime and it just got cold. If I could have stayed warm somehow … maybe." Skuta, who been a game-time decision in Baltimore, had the same status entering Thursday night's game. "I'm probably going to be a little more careful this time to get this right," he said. "I don't want to be doing this every other week." Running back T.J. Yeldon played through a foot injury after being a game-time decision, rushing for 54 yards on 14 carries. Also, wide receiver Bryan Walters played after being cleared from the NFL's concussion program. He caught two passes for 35 yards. "It really is a testament to these guys and their will," Bradley said.
5. Stuffed. The Titans on Thursday rushed for 104 yards on 26 carries. That's a 4.0-yard-per-carry average that was slightly above the Jaguars' average yards-per-carry allowed this season. Still, aside from a 23-yard touchdown run and a 26-yard run by Antonio Andrew, the Jaguars did a solid job against the run for a third consecutive week. That's in keeping with their performance against the run much of this season, with Thursday night's performance coming a day after defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks was placed on injured reserve with a torn triceps. "The thing is, each week we have to stop the run," defensive end Jared Odrick said. "It's a mindset you have to go into the game with. It's a continuing belief. We can stop the run if we focus on it."