The Wrong Defense Showed Up

A lot of people have been crediting the Jaguars’ defense as one of the best in the league for the last few years. I count myself in that group, and in the front ranks of it.
They were expected to be the best eleven on the field today, but the best defense turned out to belong to the Titans. In my pregame analysis, I picked the Jags to win because of their defense. Wrong. The best defense on the field today was wearing two-tone blue, not teal.
Not that the Jags’ defense played badly. In fact, the only score against them was a field goal set up on a long special teams return by Pacman Jones. But their defense didn’t convert any plays into points, as the Titans did.
Tennessee’s secondary picked off David Garrard three times, returning two picks (Pacman and Hope) for touchdowns. Sandwiched in between the picks was a Garrard fumble recovery returned 92 yards for a score by Cortland Finnegan. The Titans also had five sacks and pressured Garrard througout the game.
The Titans’ defense scored three TDs and set up the field goal, to be credited with all of the 24 Tennessee points. The Jacksonville defense was credited with zero points.
Props to Charlie Bernstein, who covers the Jags here on MVN and predicted this:

“Garrard’s been very inconsistent, and he will throw the opposing team two to three balls per game. If they catch them they’ll have a chance to win.”

Looks like Charlie was right on the money, although I’m sure he didn’t expect it to be like it turned out. It must also be noted that the Jags defense held Tennesee to 98 net yards, while the Jax offense accumulated 396 on 82 plays against the Titans’ D.
Total Titans awards game balls to players on offense, defense, and special teams after every win. This week, all three balls are awarded to Pacman Jones. He had a 83-yard interception returned for a touchdown, made a critcal pass defense stop on a fourth-and-goal, returned a kick for 70 yards to set up a field goal, and caught a pass for 14 yards on offense.
The win improves the Titans record to 7-7, with seven wins in their last nine starts and five in a row. Next week Tennessee goes to Buffalo in a Week Sixteen matchup.

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