After being favored for the first time this season, the Jacksonville Jaguars rewarded their loyal fans with a victory in their final home game of the 2014 season. The Tennessee Titans looked to be on pace for a victory after a disturbingly easy touchdown drive to open the game, but the Jaguars responded to a 10-0 deficit with 21 straight points and they never looked back. The win all but assures the Jaguars will not have the top draft pick in May, but who cares?
Here are some quick notes from Thursday night’s victory:
- The Jacksonville offense was horrific in the first half before a touchdown drive late in the second quarter. They managed to breach the endzone before halftime, but they had less than 20 yards on offense before an 80 yard touchdown drive pulled them within 3. The offensive line was a mess, allowing 4 sacks and plenty of pressure on Bortles, but they recovered in the second half.
- Toby Gerhart had a solid day overall, bulldozing his way to several 5+ yard runs. Jordan Todman had a big touchdown run, and overall the running game was more effective than it had been for most of the season. The Titans have one of the worst run defenses in the league, so it was nice to see the Jaguars find some success on the ground.
- After giving up an opening drive touchdown and making Charlie Whitehurst look like Peyton Manning, the Jacksonville defense buckled down and started playing their usual “bend but don’t break” style. Sen’Derrick Marks and Telvin Smith had several nice plays, but the Jaguars still allowed Whitehurst plenty of time and a clean pocket to throw the ball. An edge rusher is a very clear need on this team.
- After looking completely hopeless for the first few drives, Jedd Fisch got this offense on track with Toby Gerhart and by trusting Blake Bortles with the football. The Jaguars really won this game with their first touchdown drive, and they carried that momentum into the 3rd quarter. Despite some crucial drops by Cecil Shorts and Marqise Lee, Bortles found a way to make the passing game work just enough to win. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a victory the Jaguars needed.