Forget about those two losses to Houston. If the Jaguars don't make it into the playoffs, it's Sunday's loss to the Titans they'll remember all winter long.
This one was a giveaway. It's that simple. It's not as though the Jaguars weren't ready to play or didn't play well. They lost because they allowed the Titans to score three touchdowns on defense.
"It was a game in which we pretty much beat ourselves," quarterback David Garrard said.
Garrard had the worst day of his career. He had the worst day of any quarterback's career. Garrard had the kind of nightmarish afternoon that challenges a player's mental toughness. Can he recover from his performance in the Jaguars' 24-17 loss at LP Field on Sunday and rally the Jaguars to a playoff berth?
Two of Garrard's three interceptions were returned for touchdowns. Garrard's fumble in the third quarter, as he was moving the ball into chip-shot field goal range, was scooped up and returned 92 yards for a touchdown. The Titans totaled 236 yards and three touchdowns in returns off Garrard turnovers. Oh, by the way, the Titans also returned the second-half kickoff 70 yards to set up a field goal that tied the game at 10-10.
Yeah, this one is going to make everybody finally forget about Houston. This one was at crunch time. This one was on the heels of a rousing win over the Colts and could've put the Jaguars on the verge of clinching a playoff berth. Now, because of this giveaway to the Titans, the Jaguars will almost certainly have to win both of their final two games to have any chance of winning a wild-card berth.
Jack Del Rio is the guy who has to shoulder all of this angst, and as he and his team left the field following Sunday's loss, Del Rio had a choice to make: Take the high road and stand tall in the face of the harsh criticism that would follow, or lambaste his team for a ridiculous loss at the most important time of the season?
Del Rio did the right thing. He took the high road. It's the right thing because trashing his team's morale isn't going to help beat the New England Patriots on Christmas Eve.
"I don't feel frustrated. I think I need to respond like a man and recognize that it didn't go our way today. There was a lot of good football played," Del Rio said.
When he sat down with the final statistics on the way home from Nashville Sunday night, Del Rio was no doubt horrified by the numbers. His team held the ball for nearly 44-and-a-half minutes. The Jaguars ran 82 plays to the Titans' 34.
The Titans didn't even break the 100-yard mark in total net yards. Their offense could've stayed at home. They only had five first downs; didn't convert a third-down play, a fourth-down play or much of any kind of play. The Titans, however, also didn't commit a turnover.
Del Rio's team so dominated the game that his offensive players were having to leave the game with cramps.
"It wasn't the heat. It was the fact we were on the field all day," Del Rio said.
Now comes the tough part. How are the Jaguars going to react to this catastrophe? Will they shake this loss off before next Sunday rolls around? If they can, they'll still have a chance to make it into the playoffs.
Any chance of clinching a playoff berth before they go to Kansas City for the final game of the regular season is gone. The Jaguars won't have that luxury this year. That's what was lost on Sunday in Nashville.
Now, without a doubt, the playoffs start. They almost certainly can not lose again.