Game report: Jaguars 20, Titans 16

JACKSONVILLE – They fought, scrapped and rallied. Again and again and again.

And then the Jaguars won their biggest regular-season home game yet in oh-so-dramatic — and incredible — fashion.

Josh Allen returned 37 yards for a touchdown with 2:51 minutes remaining and gave the Jaguars the victory points and the AFC South title with a 20-16 win over the Tennessee Titans by 70,050 in the 2022 Regular Season Finals at TIAA Bank Field Saturday night.

“Tonight’s game kind of symbolizes our season,” said Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson. “There were some fights. There were some ups, some downs.

“But in the end we had the win.”

The fifth straight win gave the Jaguars their second AFC South title – their first since 2017. They have won six times in their last nine games and won seven of their last nine games.

“It wasn’t always pretty, we just found a way to win,” said Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. “We’ll get another chance to play next week. It just means we can play next week and there aren’t many teams that can say that.

“We deserve it. It’s been a tough year climbing out of this hole we dug ourselves. It was great.”

Pederson added: “I’m so proud of how the boys have stuck together all season. Against all odds, and even in some of the high points, we just stayed the same. We trusted each other and continued to build on what we do and the guys have been improving every week.”

The Jaguars defeated the Titans to end this season 4-2 in the South. The Titans (7-10), who lost their seventh straight game, would have won their third straight AFC South title with a win.

“Incredible,” said wide receiver Christian Kirk, who caught six passes for 99 yards and a touchdown in the second quarter that kept the Jaguars close.

Allen’s touchdown came in dramatic, memorable fashion: tough safety Rayshawn Jenkins released Titans quarterback Josh Dobbs in a blitz in third and sixth places from the Titans 35. The ball bounced down, with Allen picking it up on the run and throwing it for a returned landing.

It was the Jaguars’ first lead of the game.

The Titans took a 10-0 lead in the second quarter when Dobbs went 21 yards past Chig Okonkwo and led until Allen’s fumbling return as the Jaguars cut the lead to three points on three occasions.

The Titans held a 36:12-23:48 time of possession advantage and controlled momentum and the clock for much of the game. Titans kicker Randy Bullock converted field goals from 59, 39 and 41 yards. Jaguars kicker Riley Patterson converted from 26 and 36 yards.

“These games are never easy,” said Pederson. “I don’t care about the score. I just want more points than my opponent.”

Lawrence completed 20 of 32 passes for 212 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions, with his battered second-quarter pitch to wide receiver Jamal Agnew ending a Jaguars possession at the Titans 31 and leading to Okonkwo’s touchdown.

“Our defense has the turnover to win the game and that’s all you can hope for,” said Jaguars veteran wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr.

Lawrence’s 25-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter to wide receiver Christian Kirk was the Jaguars’ only touchdown until Allen scored late in the game.

Dobbs, a 2019 reserve for the Jaguars who made his second career start after joining the Titans last month, completed 20 of 29 passes for 179 yards and one touchdown with one interception.

The Jaguars forced two turnovers and registered four sacks. Jaguars linebacker Foye Oluokun fired Dobbs late in the second quarter and forced a field goal that gave Tennessee a 13-7 lead at halftime. Defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris registered a sack in the fourth quarter, and Corey Peters/Adam Gotsis shared a sack on the Titans’ final drive.

The Jaguars had three sacks in the fourth quarter. Jaguars cornerback Tyson Campbell’s interception in the third quarter resulted in a field goal that cut the Titans’ lead to 16-13 early in the fourth quarter.

Agnew returned two punts for a 16.5 yard average and four kickoffs for a 31.5 yard average. His 54-yard return to midfield in the second quarter set up Kirk’s touchdown.

“Defensive teams and special teams won this football game for us — and that’s okay,” Pederson said. “We found a way. Hats off to defense and special teams.”

  • Bullock’s 51-yard field goal capped a 17-play, 51-yard drive on Tennessee’s second possession and gave the Titans a 3-0 lead with 1:23 in the first quarter; Dobbs’ seven-yard pass to tight end Austin Hooper converted fourth and third places from the Jaguars 48 on the drive, and his nine-yard pass to wide receiver Robert Woods converted fourth and third places from the Jaguars 34.
  • The Titans controlled momentum in the first and second quarters, taking a 10-0 lead when Dobbs went 21 yards past Okonkwo with 5:32 left in the second quarter. That drive was set up when Titans outside linebacker Rashad Weaver recovered a battered pitch from Lawrence to Agnew at the Titans 31. Lawrence’s touchdown pass to Kirk capped the ensuing series, with Bullock’s 39-yard field goal in the last game of the half giving the Titans a 13-7 lead.
  • Patterson’s 26-yard field goal capped the first drive of the second half and cut the Titans’ lead to 13-10 with a 10:09 in the third quarter; Lawrence brought down open wide receiver Zay Jones, who crossed the Titans eight in the back of the end zone in third and seventh place. Bullock’s third field goal of the game, a 41-yarder, increased the Titans’ lead to 16-10 with 6:02 remaining in the third quarter.
  • Patterson’s 36-yarder cut the lead to 16-13 with 14:49 in the fourth quarter, with Allen’s fumble thereafter returning the game’s only points.
  • All seven Jaguars players – Lawrence (toe), safety Andrew Wingard (shoulder), safety Rayshawn Jenkins (shoulder), outside linebacker Travon Walker (ankle), right guard Brandon Scherff (abdominal/ankle), defensive tackle Foley Fatukasi (ankle) and long snapper Ross Matiscik (rear) – played Saturday. … The Jaguars announced five players as inactive 90 minutes before kickoff: wide receiver Kendric Pryor, cornerback Montaric Brown, cornerback Gregory Junior, outside linebacker De’Shaan Dixon and defensive lineman Jeremiah Ledbetter.