Titans beat Jaguars, 23-17

The Tennessee Titans improved their record this season to 3-1 this season in 23-17 games, beating the Jaguars in Nashville. The Titans held a two-score lead from the second quarter on until the Jaguars cut the margin to single digits, then successfully killed the clock.

The offensive star for the game was Jared Cook. A week after a nominally productive game where almost all of his production was either negated by his own mistakes or came in garbage time, he set a franchise record for a tight end with 169 yards receiving, most of it important. He scored the first touchdown of the game, beating Paul Posluszny down the seam for a 55-yard touchdown pass. He had a 24-yard gain to set up the Titans’ second touchdown, a one-yard plunge by Jamie Harper. Finally, he had maybe his most important catch of the game, a 29-yard pass to convert third down and five with less than four minutes to play. Cook’s eight catches also came on eight targets, so he had efficiency to go with his great production.

Cook’s big game came as part of a pass-heavy gameplan. Chris Johnson ended up with 15 carries, but only four of them in the first half as the Titans called 25 passes to 5 runs in the first two quarters in route to 17 first half points. Johnson ended up with 56 yards on those rushes, but his only real difference-making run I saw was a 13-yarder to seal the win.

Rob Bironas also showed off his value, hitting a pair of 51-yard field goals and not missing. Damian Williams matched Cook’s eight grabs, for 83 yards. The Titans overcame three turnovers, two Matt Hasselbeck interceptions and a Jamie Harper fumble that set up the touchdown that cut the lead to 23-17. As I anticipated, Karl Klug had a sack of Blaine Gabbert. The Titans weren’t whistled for a penalty for the first time since apparently 1972.

With the win, the Titans are still alive in the playoffs, but will need help. They’ll have to take care of their business against the Texans next week first, though. More details on the playoffs and what happened this game later in the week, when there are no adorable short people around to distract me. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

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