November 11, 2007
NASHVILLE (cbssportsline.com/AP) -- The Jacksonville Jaguars are proof of the motivating power of embarrassment and desperation.
Quinn Gray threw for a touchdown and Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor ran for one apiece as the Jaguars beat Tennessee 28-13 Sunday to split the season series and work their way back into a tie for second in the AFC South.
The Jaguars (6-3) came in having lost two of three. They also wanted to make amends for a season-opening loss to Tennessee in which they gave up 282 yards rushing.
Consider that done.
"The way they embarrassed us in Week 1, there was no way we weren't going to come out with something to prove," said Jaguars linebacker Mike Peterson, who recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass.
Jacksonville snapped the Titans' three-game winning streak; the Titans needed a win to ensure remaining at worst a game behind Indianapolis in the AFC South. The Titans (6-3) struggled with defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth and defensive end Travis LaBoy sitting out with injuries.
Gray said the Jaguars perked up at the news that neither Haynesworth nor LaBoy would play. The Titans had one sack after getting seven a week ago against Carolina.
"It's a big difference," Titans defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said of not having Haynesworth. "Albert is a dominant player. He's such a force. He draws double teams in the run game, and we missed him today."
The Titans also played without Chris Brown, who ran for a career-high 175 yards in that opener, but missed his fourth game with a sprained ankle.
That put pressure on Vince Young, who threw for a career-high 257 yards and his first TD pass since Sept. 24. But the Jaguars sacked him four times, recovered a botched snap and picked Young off twice -- the last with 1:14 left at the Jacksonville 1.
"As an offense, we've got to finish," Young said.
Jacksonville scored on its opening drive and never trailed in holding the ball for more than 34 minutes.
Jones-Drew ran for 101 yards on 19 carries, and Taylor added 45 more as the Jaguars rolled up 166 yards against the NFL's stingiest run defense, which had been giving up 66 yards a game.
With David Garrard resting his ankle a third straight game, Gray capped the opening drive with a 2-yard toss to Greg Jones. The fullback capped the victory by running in from 3 yards for the final margin.
"It was a division rival that was ahead of us," Gray said. "It was important to come out and get a win because it was the Titans."
Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio, knocked to the ground on the Titans' opening drive, gambled and went for it on fourth down five times. His Jaguars converted three to keep TD drives alive.
"It's big to go home with a nice win," Del Rio said.
The Titans out-gained the Jaguars 292-262, and Young's 20-yard TD pass to Justin Gage pulled them within 21-13 at the start of the fourth quarter.
But Reggie Hayward had 2½ sacks as the Jaguars harassed Young. The Titans hurt themselves with nine penalties, including a hold that wiped out Young's TD pass to Bo Scaife two plays before Brian Williams' interception.
"We knew our chances were better if we made him throw," Peterson said. "He likes to get out and run, so we wanted to make him throw."
Rob Bironas kicked two field goals for the Titans, one at the end of the first half when Young drove them to the Jacksonville 19 with 12 seconds and two timeouts left.
Referee Ed Hochuli announced no timeout had been taken and asked for the clock to restart. Then Titans coach Jeff Fisher asked for a timeout with 2 seconds left, and Bironas kicked his 14th straight field goal, a 37-yarder, to pull within 14-3 without another shot at the end zone.
Asked about that sequence, Young said he didn't have anything to do with it.
"Coach's decision," he said.
Fisher explained later he told an official he wanted a timeout with 2 seconds left.
"We will bounce back," he said.
Fans booed when center Kevin Mawae and Young fumbled the snap going for a fourth-and-inches in the opening minutes of the third quarter, and Peterson recovered.
They booed louder when Jones-Drew ran for 30 yards on the next play down to the Tennessee 24. Taylor, who became the 21st running back in NFL history with 10,000 yards rushing with a 15-yard carry in the first quarter, scored on a 4-yard run for a 21-3 lead.