|Posted on September 23, 2018 at 6:15 PM|
Article by Dan Tortora
The Jacksonville Jaguars had one of their best seasons as a franchise in the 2017-18 campaign.
They won 10 of their 16 regular season games.
Jacksonville would go on to defeat the Buffalo Bills at home in the AFC Wild Card round and then head to Pennsylvania, where they met and took down the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional round game. They would command the majority of the AFC Championship game on the road in Foxboro versus the New England Patriots, missing what could have been their first-ever trip to the SuperBowl by a mere four points.
But they did not defeat the Tennessee Titans that season.
They lost not once, but twice to their AFC South divisional foe.
Jacksonville suffered their largest loss of the 2017-18 season, postseason included, when Tennessee bested them on their own field in Florida by 21 points, 37-16. Their second-largest defeat of the season was by 11 fewer points, by 10 (27-17) versus the Los Angeles Rams, also at home in Florida.
Case in point: The Jaguars struggle when they face the Titans, no matter how good the Jaguars look against other franchises.
Jacksonville was coming off of a win over the New England Patriots in Week 2 of this season by 11 points, 31-20, at home at TIAA Bank Field, gaining their first win ever over New England in the regular season in eight tries and their first-ever victory over Tom Brady while he has been the quarterback of the Patriots.
A week later, they could not take down the Titans, a team who has been underwhelming as of late. In the first half of this contest on Sunday, September 23rd, Tennessee quarterbacks Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbert (former high Jaguar draft pick) had combined to go 4-for-10 from the field for 18 total passing yards, averaging 1.8 yards per pass in the first half.
Despite out-gaining the Titans 110 to 60 total yards and six first downs to four, the Jaguars had nothing but a field goal to show for it in one half of play. If not for the boot of kicker Josh Lambo from 46 yards away in the second quarter, Jacksonville would have laid a goose egg in the first half.
With 2:27 left in the third quarter, the Jaguars would take six minutes and 39 seconds off the clock on a drive that went into the fourth quarter. Quarterback Blake Bortles went 6-for-7 on this drive, but again, no end zone for the Jaguars, who kicked a 38-yard field goal to tie the game at 6-6, a response by Lambo to Ryan Succop's 36-yarder.
Though Jacksonville's defense did not allow a single touchdown all game, their offense did not gain one either, and the defense was left on the field for over 32 of the 60 allotted minutes.
The Jacksonville defense struggled against the run, failing to slow down the wheels of Mariota, who averaged 7.3 yards per carry on seven carries for 51 yards. Jacksonville gave up a total of 150 yards on the ground, while their own rushing attack ended with 87 yards.
Starting running back Leonard Fournette sat for the second straight week due to a hamstring injury.
On top of that, two of Jacksonville's starting linemen, left tackle Cam Robinson and right guard A.J. Cann were inactive for the game, Robinson out for the season with a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and Cann nursing a triceps injury.
So, moving the ball and protecting Bortles were a grave issue that stuck out like a sore thumb in this one.
On a fourth-quarter drive for the Titans, Mariota went 3-for-4 and running back Derrick Henry ran seven times for 33 yards to help set up Succop, who connected from 28 yards out to give Tennessee the separation they needed to get the win, leaving Jacksonville, Florida, the same way they did last regular season, with a victory, this time 9-6.
In the 21st century, the Jaguars are now 15-22 versus the Titans.
There has only been one season in the 21st century where the Jaguars won both divisional games against the Titans in the same season, that being the 2005-06 campaign.
Overall, Jacksonville has a 20-26 record all-time against the Tennessee franchise.
The bright spot for Jacksonviile in this head-to-head rivalry, though, has been Bortles, who went 3-0 at home versus Tennessee in his first three NFL (National Football League) seasons, defeating the Titans on December 18, 2014, by a score of 21-13, on November 19, 2015, by a score of 19-13, and on December 24, 2016, by a score of 38-17.
But Bortles has yet to get a win at home over the Titans on a Sunday.
Since 2013, the Jaguars as a team have only defeated the Titans once in eight Sunday contests.
The last win for Jacksonville against Tennessee on a Sunday was on Sunday, November 10, 2013, on the road in Tennessee, 29-27 with Chad Henne as quarterback for Jacksonville.
Thier last home win on a Sunday versus the Titans was back on Sunday, November 25, 2012, where Henne once again led the team, this time to a 24-19 victory.
Jacksonville is now 2-1 this season and will next face Tennessee in Tennessee on Thursday, December 6, 2018, at 8:20pmET.