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Jaguars' Comeback Falls Short Against Titans: A Recap of Key Plays

Five Key Plays - Week 18

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Senior writer John Oehser examines five key plays from the Jaguars’ 28-20 loss to the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday

  1. Just short. Little went right for the Jaguars for nearly three quarters Sunday, but they scraped back into the game when quarterback Trevor Lawrence passed 14 yards to tight end Evan Engram on the first play of the fourth quarter to cut a fifteen-point deficit to 28-20. Safety Andre Cisco then gave the Jaguars added momentum when he returned an interception on the ensuing series 28 yards to the Titans 28. The Jaguars drove toward a potential tying touchdown and faced third-and-goal from the one-yard line. But Lawrence threw incomplete on third down. On fourth-and-goal, he jumped toward the end zone and reached the ball toward the goal line, but his reach was inches short and the Titans took possession still leading 28-20 with 7:13 remaining. "Trevor's trying to make the play," Head Coach Doug Pederson said. "He had success in the past on it, just came up inches short. But you can't fault him for trying to make a play." Pederson added, "He saw something that wasn't the actual play call. But if he saw something there and he had an opportunity to sneak it with his length, usually that works." The Jaguars took possession once more, but Lawrence's pass to tight end Evan Engram on fourth-and-two from the Jaguars 33 was incomplete with 1:50 remaining. Lawrence said of the fourth-down play on the goal line, "I have to take accountability for that. If you do it, you better score and I didn't. It's unfortunate. I made the decision and they trust me with those things and it didn't work."
  2. Beau-ti-ful. The Jaguars entered Sunday with four plays of more than 50 yards this season. They added a fifth in the second quarter on one of their prettiest plays of the season – and one of their most important. The Jaguars trailed 7-3 entering the quarter, with the Titans having taken away the Jaguars' early momentum. The Jaguars started a drive on their own 12 late in the first quarter, then faced first-and-15 at their 41 after Lawrence was called for delay of game. On that first-and-15 play, Lawrence dropped and got plenty of time. He used it to throw a perfect deep down the middle of the field that wide receiver Calvin Ridley caught behind two defenders for a 59-yard touchdown and a 10-7 Jaguars lead with 12:24 remaining in the second quarter.
  3. Uh oh … A couple of big plays felt ominous early. They came from the Titans running game in the form of longtime Jaguars nemesis Derrick Henry. Playing in perhaps his final game with the Titans, Henry throughout his career had multiple big games against the Jaguars. A pregame theme was ensuring the Yulee native didn't have such a game Sunday. Henry burst through the line for a 12-yard gain on the Titans first series to help set up a 28-yard touchdown reception by running back Tyjae Spears and Henry also had a 16-yard run on the ensuing series. He had 34 yards on four carries through the first two series, and he capped the Titans' third possession with an 18-yard touchdown run for a 14-10 Titans lead with 8:27 remaining in the second quarter.
  4. … and another uh oh. A difficult start for the Jaguars got tougher shortly after Henry's touchdown run. First, Lawrence's pass to Engram bounced off the tight end for a diving interception by Titans safety Terrell Edmunds at the Jaguars 36. That play led directly to Spears' second touchdown of the game – this one on a three-yard run up the middle. That pushed the Titans' lead to 21-10 with 3:03 remaining in the second quarter, a double-digit lead the Titans never fully relinquished. The Jaguars got a break late in the half when Titans punter Ty Zentner fumbled a snap and was tackled by Jaguars tight end Brenton Strange at the Titans 38. That set up a 30-yard field goal by Jaguars kicker Brandon McManus that cut the lead to 21-13 on the final play of the half.
  5. Uh oh – and oh no. The ominous feeling of Henry's first-half effectiveness came to full, dominant fruition early in the second half. With the Jaguars having trimmed the lead to eight points on the final play of the first half, they needed a defensive stop when the Titans took the second-half kickoff. Instead, they allowed the all-too familiar scenario of Henry running easily through the defense. This time he did it on second-and-eight from the Titans 27, rolling through the defense barely touched and rumbling for a 69-yard gain to the Jaguars four-yard-line. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill capped the drive two plays later with a six-yard pass to wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins for a 28-13 Titans lead with 12:45 remaining in the third quarter. Asked about the Jaguars' run defense, Pederson said: "Obviously we had missed tackles again, and some of the same self-inflicted gap integrity, rules … things like that. I would venture to say it showed up today, but until we really dive into the tape, it's hard to fully comment on that."

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