Gardner Minshew and James Robinson led the Jaguars to 30 points of offense but costly special teams errors and a couple interceptions, including one on the final drive that sealed the game, caused Jacksonville to lose this contest to the Titans.
The Jaguar defense clearly did their homework on Derrick Henry, as they held him to only 84 yards rushing, but had no answer for quarterback Ryan Tannehill. Tannehill seemingly completed passes at will; he carved up the Jags secondary for 239 yards and 4 touchdowns on 18/24 passing attempts. It was easy to see that the secondary had their work cut out for them when the Tennessee QB threw a 62-yard bomb to Jonnu Smith on the first play from scrimmage. A play later the pair connected again for a touchdown.
While Minshew did throw two interceptions this game, his first two picks on the road in his career, he also looked like his usual self. He moved the ball well and consistently picked up first downs, both with small gains as well as large chunks of yardage. He finished the day 30/45 with 339 yards passing and 3 touchdowns. He also spread out the offense by completing passes to 8 different receivers.
Tyler Eifert seems to fit in well with this offense. He only caught the ball 3 times for 36 yards but one of those catches was a 19-yard touchdown to put the Jaguars on the board in the first, his first as a Jacksonville player.
DJ Chark Jr. is the star of this receiving unit, as he connected with Minshew 4 times today for 84 yards including the 45-yard hookup that set up the scoring play to Eifert.
James Robinson led the rushing attack with 102 yards and a touchdown on 16 attempts (6.38 YPC). His score on the first possession of the second half was the first of his career. Wideout Laviska Shenault Jr. was also worked into the running game, as he supplemented his 35 yards receiving with 37 yards rushing.
The defense was led by Myles Jack, Joe Schobert, and Andrew Wingard who combined for 30 tackles. The front 7 did their job against the running game but couldn’t sustain enough pressure against Tannehill, as they only sacked him once. His time in the pocket allowed him to torch the secondary.
Ultimately, special teams was the deciding factor in this one. After hitting a 35-yard field goal as time was winding down in the second quarter, Josh Lambo botched a squib kick that gave the Titans the ball in Jacksonville territory. Stephen Gostkowski came on as time ran out and snuck a 51-yard field goal through the uprights, which just narrowly missed the goalpost. Lambo also missed a PAT that would’ve capped a 7 play 75-yard drive by the Jags.
The squib kick ended up being the point difference, as Gostkowski also came on to drill a 49-yarder with 1:41 left in the game. Minshew came on to lead a drive that could have tied the game, converting a few short passes, but his final attempt was batted at the line and intercepted, sealing the game.
The Jaguars fall to 1-1 and look to bounce back against the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night.