Week 17 Game Recap: Tennessee Titans 13, Jacksonville Jaguars 40
What you need to know
The disappointing season finally came to an end for the Tennessee Titans and their fans in a blowout against the Jaguars. Tennessee was dominated on both sides of the football from start to finish. The defense allowed three rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns in the rout. Tennessee’s offense did not cross midfield until shortly before halftime and barely managed to score two fourth quarter touchdowns to avoid total embarrassment.
Matt Mauck got the start in place of Steve McNair and Billy Volek and was ineffective in the first half of play. Mauck and the Titans offense was overmatched by the Jaguars defense and found themselves trailing by 27 points at halftime. Volek replaced Mauck in the second half and threw two touchdown passes to avoid the shutout.
TE Ben Troupe was the lone bright spot in the game for Tennessee. Troupe made several nice catches, broke tackles and carried defenders on his way to 89 receiving yards on nine catches. He also caught a ten yard touchdown pass from Volek, his four of the season.
Tennessee was crippled by costly penalties on both offense and defense throughout the game. They managed to set a new franchise record with 18 penalties for a total of 140 yards. Cornerback Adam Jones was benched by Coach Fisher after showing his frustration with an unnecessary roughness penalty and unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
The Jaguars jumped on the Titans early and kept the momentum going throughout the game with a balance attack on the ground and through the air. With two touchdowns on their first two possessions and another in the second quarter, the Jaguars found themselves with a comfortable 27-0 lead at halftime. They did not let up in the second half as they dominated the third quarter and led by 40 points after three quarters.
LaBrandon Toefield came up big with his best career performance replacing an inactive Fred Taylor at running back. Toefield showed he can pound the ball inside and has speed when he gets outside in the open field. He set career highs with 25 carries and 102 rushing yards in the game. Toefield scored on a 32 yard touchdown in the first quarter, the longest run of his career.
Jimmy Smith went over 1,000 yards for the ninth time in his career with 46 yards in a quarter of play. Smith is tied for second behind the all-time great Jerry Rice.
Quinn Gray was buried at number three in the Jaguars’ depth chart at quarterback but that may not be the case next season as he was very impressive in his NFL debut. Gray relieved David Garrard to start the third quarter and displayed a strong arm and also nice touch on his passes. He completed eight of 14 pass attempts for 100 yards and two touchdowns, with most of his statistics coming in the third quarter.
What you ought to know
Volek replaced Mauck in the second half and immediately took to the air in an attempt to get Tennessee back in the game. In relief, Volek’s numbers were pretty solid although both touchdown passes came with the game well out of reach. Like Mauck, Volek also focused on the short passes to the tight end or dump off to a running back versus any deep shots downfield to his wide receivers. Volek helped Tennessee avoid the shutout when he connected with Ben Troupe for a four yard touchdown with about nine minutes left in the game. He again looked for Troupe in the end zone on the Titans’ next possession but this time the pass was deflected by Jacksonville linebacker Pat Thomas and caught by tight end Bo Scaife who took the ball in for the score. Volek finished the game completing 14 of 25 passes for 114 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
|QB Matt Mauck, Pass: 7 - 14 - 65 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 3 - 19 - 0|
Third string quarterback, Matt Mauck got the starting nod for injured Steve McNair and struggled throughout the first half and was replaced in the second half by Billy Volek. Mauck did have time to pass but clearly had difficulty reading the defense and finding open receivers. He made several poor decisions including throwing into double and sometimes triple coverage. Mauck finished his dismal performance completing just seven of 14 pass attempts for 65 yards, no touchdowns, an interception and one lost fumble. Of his seven completions, Mauck relied on his tight end Ben Troupe for three catches with his wide receivers accounting for just three receptions combined. He did show some mobility in the pocket on an occasion “rollout” but had difficulty accurately throwing downfield. Mauck had three rushing attempts for 19 yards.
Steve McNair was inactive for the game due to a strained pectoral muscle.
|RB Travis Henry, Rush: 13 - 48 - 0, Rec: 1 - 1 - 0 (2 targets)|
Henry rushed for 48 yards on 13 carries with all but one of those carries recorded in the first half. With the Titans finding themselves with a 27 point deficit at halftime, Henry and the running game was barely existent in the second half. Henry did have a couple of modest gains called back due to penalties. He also had one reception for a one yard gain.
|RB Damien Nash, Rush: 6 - 32 - 0, Rec: 3 - 14 - 0 (3 targets)|
Rookie Damien Nash saw his first action of the season in the second half. In his limited carries, Nash showed determination and some power breaking tackles and carrying defenders. He rushed for 32 yards on six carries. Nash also showed good hands as a receiver catching all three targets for 14 yards.
Fullback Troy Fleming was primarily used a blocker for Travis Henry. He had one reception for 11 yards.
Chris Brown was inactive for the game with a shoulder injury.
Backup wide receiver, Bobby Wade led the Titans’ wide receivers with two catches for 26 yards. Wade did have an end zone target in the fourth quarter as he almost made a spectacular grab after the defender deflected the ball but could not manage to hold on.
Rookie O.J. Small made the first reception of his career to end the third quarter for a six yard gain.
Bennett had his worst game of the season with just one catch for nine yards. The Titans’ best receiver suffered throughout the first half as Matt Mauck frequently looked for the short passes underneath versus looking downfield for Bennett and others. Bennett was triple covered and the intended receiver on Mauck’s interception in the first quarter.
Roby saw most of his action returning kickoffs after Pacman Jones was benched by Coach Fisher. He had just one reception as a receiver for eight yards.
Troupe was the lone offensive weapon for the Titans in this game. Mauck looked for Troupe as his outlet in the first half and caught three passes for 32 yards. In the second half, Volek also looked for Troupe as his leading target and connected with the tight end for a six yard touchdown to put Tennessee on the scoreboard. Troupe finished with nine catches for 89 yards and a touchdown. His nine catches put him at 55 receptions for the season. He did have the ball knocked loose on one reception but fortunately for Tennessee it went out of bounds.
Scaife caught just two passes for 15 yards in second half. His second catch was a ten yard touchdown off a deflection by Jaguars’ linebacker Pat Thomas.
Kinney had just one target late in the fourth quarter with no receptions.
Bironas made one of two extra points missing wide right on his second attempt. He had no field goal opportunities in the game.
The Titans’ rush defense had a rough day, allowing LaBrandon Toefield to set a career high with 102 yards. They allowed three rushing touchdowns in the first half including a 32 yard score by Toefield. The defense played better in the second half holding the Jaguars to short gains and keeping them out of the end zone on the ground. Keith Bulluck led the Titans with ten tackles.
Tennessee’s pass defense managed to get to David Garrard but more often that not it was after the pass was released. Defensive end’s Albert Haynesworth and Bo Schobel each recorded a sack for Tennessee. Schobel forced a fumble on his sack that was recovered by linebacker Brad Hassell that set up the Titans’ second touchdown. The Titans allowed 234 passing yards and two touchdowns.
|QB Quinn Gray, Pass: 8 - 14 - 100 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 3 - 1 - 0|
Gray came in relief of Garrard in the second half and played a great half in his NFL debut. He was not afraid to show off his strong arm on his first NFL pass attempt going deep for Matt Jones although it fell incomplete. On his second series, Gray orchestrated an 84 yard drive that culminated in his first NFL touchdown pass on a bullet throw to Matt Jones from ten yards away. He followed that possession with another touchdown pass, this time to Ernest Wilford for a 15 yard score. Gray has a very strong arm and threaded the needle on several passes and also showed nice touch on a few passes including the strike to WIlford. He finished his half of play completing eight of 14 passes for 100 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Garrard played just the first half and again played solid for the Jaguars. He led the Jaguars on two touchdown drives of over 60 yards on their first two possessions showing poise and confidence as a starting quarterback. With an early lead, Garrard relied on the running game taking some of the pressure off him and eliminate any need for late heroics. Garrard completed ten of 16 passes for 128, no touchdown and no interceptions. He has thrown 133 consecutive pass attempts without an interception. Although Garrard has played well in the absence of Byron Leftwich, he is expected to return to the backup role for the playoffs.
Toefield stepped in for an inactive Fred Taylor and had the best game of his career with 102 yards rushing on 25 carries, both career highs. He had a very good first half with 64 yards finding success to the outside while the inside yards were tough, hard fought short gains. Toefield showed pretty good speed and some power on his 32 yard touchdown run on the Jaguars second possession. Initially he appeared stop to the inside but saw daylight bursting to the outside and breaking a couple of tackles on his way to the end zone. The 32 yard gallop was the longest of Toefield’s career.
Pearman came in to give LaBrandon Toefield a breather on several occasions but was primarily used returning punts. He had six carries in the game for just 13 yards but scored a touchdown on his first rushing attempt in the game to give Jacksonville the early lead. Pearman’s six yard touchdown run was the first of his career. He also caught two passes for 16 yards.
Rookie Derrick Wimbush had just one carry in the game but found the end zone for his first career touchdown. Wimbush took the handoff and ran into the back on his offensive lineman, bounced to the inside and darted untouched for a six yard touchdown.
Fred Taylor was inactive for the game.
Smith played just the first quarter and spent the remainder of the game on the sideline resting for the playoffs. He did have four receptions for 46 yards in one quarter of action. With his 46 yards, Smith went over the 1,000 yard mark for the season and the ninth time in his career.
Williams had a couple of nice grabs in the game including an 18 yard reception that was slightly behind him that he caught with one arm. He finished the game with four receptions for 52 yards. Williams had an end zone target in the second quarter thrown slightly behind him but this time he could not come up with the grab.
|WR Matt Jones, Pass: 1 - 1 - 6 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rec: 3 - 55 - 1 (5 targets)|
Jones caught just one pass in the first half for 32 yard gain that put Jacksonville into scoring position. In the second half, Jones saw another deep target, this time from Quinn Gray that was under thrown. Jones was overthrown by Gray on an end zone target but came back to him on the next play for a ten yard touchdown strike. He also lined up at the quarterback position for a couple of plays, completing a pass for six yards and handing off to Toefield on another.
Hankton had his first receptions of the season, finishing the game with three catches for 15 yards.
Wilford caught both of his receptions late in the third quarter on back to back plays. His first catch went for 26 yards, out leaping his defender down the right sideline on a beautiful touch pass from Quinn Gray. Wilford’s next grab was basically the same play on the left sideline for a 14 yard touchdown catch. Wilford’s touchdown reception gave him seven for the season to lead the Jaguars.
Brady was primarily used as a blocker and had one reception on the Jaguars’ first possession for a ten yard gain.
Jones’ only target was an end zone target in the third quarter but was easily defended by the Titans who had three players in the area.
Wrighster had one target and no receptions and was not a factor in the Jaguars’ passing game.
Scobee made both his field goal attempt, one from 46 yards the other from 38 yards. He was four of five on extra points pushing his last attempt wide right.
With Matt Mauck starting at quarterback, the Jaguars were focused early on Travis Henry and the running game. Jacksonville clogged the middle and successfully shutdown Henry’s carries to the inside. The Jaguars held Tennessee ball carriers to just 99 yards and did not allow a touchdown. Safety Deon Grant led the Jaguars with five tackles.
The Jaguars’ pass defense confused Matt Mauck and held him to just 65 yards passing in the first half and two turnovers. Billy Volek had success in the second half, spoiling a shutout and throwing two touchdown passes. Jacksonville held the Titans to 179 total passing yards. Cornerback Rashean Mathis registered the Jaguars’ lone interception. Defensive end Bobby McCray recorded a sack and a forced fumble.