Titans lose 9th consecutive game, 21-13 at Jaguars
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The Tennessee Titans have blown second-half leads in back-to-back games.
And to two of the worst teams in the AFC.
Four days after surrendering a late lead to the New York Jets, the Titans basically did it again in a 21-13 loss at Jacksonville on Thursday night.
"It was more about mistakes that we made than anything else because when we did it right - as you can see by most of the first half - we played pretty good," Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said.
The Jaguars (3-12) played better down the stretch.
Rookie Blake Bortles completed 13 of 26 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown, a 4-yard pass to Marcedes Lewis that got Jacksonville going late in the second quarter. Jordan Todman's 62-yard run - which followed Tennessee's failed fourth-down attempt - gave the Jaguars some cushion in the fourth quarter.
Todman juked Michael Griffin and stiff-armed George Wilson in his first carry of the night. He leaped into the stands after his first score of the season.
"The neat thing about this was different guys stood up at different times," Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said.
Sen'Derrick Marks' play, though, got all the attention.
With the Titans driving, Marks sacked Charlie Whitehurst on the final snap. It gave him 8 1/2 sacks on the season, triggering a $600,000 bonus in his contract.
"What a great way to end the night," Bradley said.
Marks stood up and starting rubbing his fingers together before getting mobbed by teammates near midfield.
"Oh, we're going to spend some of that money," Jaguars defensive end Red Bryant said.
The Jaguars won for the second time in four weeks thanks to a rejuvenated offense that had been mostly stagnant for four-plus games. Playing the Titans (2-13) surely aided the effort.
Tennessee lost its ninth consecutive game and moved a step closer to securing the No. 1 draft pick.
"Obviously, it was a disappointing loss for us," Whisenhunt said. "I thought we played well. There are a few things you worry about on a short week, especially on the road with how you start, and it couldn't have started much better for us."
The Jaguars had only 16 yards of offense until Bortles led them on an 80-yard drive at the end of the first half, ending it with a jump ball to Lewis in the left corner of the end zone.
The Jaguars got the ball to start the second half, and Bortles found Marquise Lee on a 34-yard catch-and-run on third-and 7. After two more completions, Jacksonville went to some trickery with a backward to Cecil Shorts III, who then threw across the field to Todman to the 9.
It looked as if Jacksonville would have to settle for a tying field when Bortles was flushed from the pocket and scrambled down the sideline to the 2 on third-and-goal. But linebacker Avery Williamson was called for holding Lewis away from the play, giving the Jaguars new life. Toby Gerhart punched it in from the 1 on the next play.
"We needed to stop them on that last drive in the first half," Titans nose tackle Sammie Hill said. "It changed the momentum and it's hard to beat a great defense like they have. We just have to keep fighting and try to get better."
The turnaround for the Jaguars was surprising. Losers of seven of their last eight games, the Jaguars had only two offensive touchdowns in their previous 46 drives over four games and nearly two quarters, and just like that, Bortles took them down the field for touchdowns on consecutive drives.
"It's all about winning in the National Football League," Titans running back Leon Washington said. "We didn't win the game so we've got to figure out a way how do we get over the hump. First half, we came out and did a good job. Second half, not so good."
For the final NFL game on Thursday night this year, about the only thing at stake was the inside track for the No. 1 pick, and likely a slightly easier schedule. In this case, the loser had more to gain.
The Titans led 10-0 early had a 179-16 advantage in yards.
But things turned from there, with the key play for Tennessee being that failed fourth-down conversion and Todman's long run.
"Obviously, the big play after we went for it on fourth down hurt us," Whisenhunt said. "We have to convert those. It was a disappointing loss."