JACKSONVILLE – In a weekly feature for the 2022 season, NFL Media and Jaguars Media analyst Bucky Brooks breaks down the Jaguars' performance in a 20-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Saturday.
- The Jaguars have improved by leaps and bounds since the beginning of the season. This team has learned how to win by focusing on the "process" of winning games instead of the results. While it sounds like Coach Speak to some, the players frequently refer to the importance of taking care of what is directly in front of them. Whether that requires them to take it one play at a time in games or put their effort, energy and focus into the next practice period or film session throughout the week, the Jaguars have entirely bought into Head Coach Doug Pederson's approach and process. As a result, the team reflects the coach's personality and does not flinch or waver in big games – or succumb to the pressure of the moment. The resilience, grit and fortitude displayed by the Jaguars throughout this playoff run are due to the team's commitment to staying in the moment and not being affected by the consequences of a win or loss. Those lessons will not only serve the Jaguars well in this tournament, but it will set the foundation for a title run over the next few seasons.
KEYS TO VICTORY
- The Jaguars outlasted the Titans in a slugfest. The team matched the Titans' physicality and took advantage of some timely turnovers to flip the game's momentum. Cornerback Tyson Campbell's interception and outside linebacker Josh Allen's "scoop-and-score" in the third and fourth quarters were the deciding factors in a game that tested the mental and physical toughness of the Jaguars. With another hard-fought win on the resume, the Jaguars are learning how to win by utilizing various styles to get it done.
- The Jaguars' franchise quarterback was a little off against the Titans, but he made enough plays to get the win. Trevor Lawrence managed the game like a 10-year veteran while avoiding costly mistakes (turnovers). Although the second-year veteran narrowly missed some throws in the red zone that would have blown the game open, the patience and poise he displayed are part of a maturation process that eventually enabled him to join the NFL's top tier at the position. The best quarterbacks in the game master the art of winning and Lawrence's ability to embrace a managerial role when his game is off will help the Jaguars continue to win by utilizing a complementary football approach.
- Despite failing to earn a Pro Bowl berth, safety Rayshawn Jenkins has played at an all-star level this season. The veteran has become one of the defense's biggest playmakers as an instinctive defender with a nose for the ball and a love of contact. Jenkins' physicality, toughness and awareness showed up against the Titans as he registered seven tackles, a strip-sack and a pass breakup in the season finale. As a versatile box area defender with various skills, the veteran finds a way to make the big hit or interception when the Jaguars need a play. With a game-winning strip-sack on quarterback Joshua Dobbs with fewer than three minutes remaining in the game, Jenkins' big-play ability helped the Jaguars chalk up another win.
- It was not a pretty effort from the Jaguars' offense, but Lawrence and Co. made enough plays to win a grind-it-out affair against the Titans. Although the coaching staff will undoubtedly challenge the offensive line to perform better against a stout defensive front, particularly on running plays, the quintet avoided the big errors (penalties and blown assignments) that derail drives. In pass protection, the front line kept Lawrence clean and allowed him to throw from a cocoon on most plays. While the young quarterback could not fully take advantage of his opportunities, the Jaguars found a way to muster enough points to get the job done.
- The defense deserves applause for containing Titans running back Derrick Henry in a game that rested on the former rushing champ's performance. The front line swarmed to the ball and clogged up holes at the point of attack to prevent the super-sized runner from getting to the second level. Although the Jaguars' commitment to run defense enabled Dobbs to enjoy a solid outing, the unit eventually rattled the backup quarterback and forced him into a few critical mistakes that flipped the game's momentum.