Marks, Jags Sack Titans: 3 Things We Learned
Thursday night belonged to Sen’Derrick Marks.
When the Jaguars needed a stop in the closing moments of the 21-13 win over the Tennessee Titans, the former player on the opposing side of the ball delivered.
The Jaguars had only 14 yards in the first quarter, then dominated the remainder of the contest to gain their third win of the season. The loss sent Tennessee closer to the first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Rushing touchdowns by Toby Gerhart and Jordan Todman showed the Jaguars offense was on point, a far cry from the past few weeks. And the defense showed it was still dominant, dropping Tennessee quarterback Charlie Whitehurst to the ground four times on the night.
The Titans had a chance late and were driving, but Marks sacked Whitehurst on the final play. It gave Marks a $600,000 bonus in his contract.
Here are three thing we learned from Thursday night.
RUNNING TO DAYLIGHT
The Jaguars had one of their better running performances of the season.
The Jaguars had 109 yards after contact on their rushing plays on Thursday. Their previous high this season was 75 yards.
Jordan Todman had 58 yards after contact on his TD rush. The Jaguars came into the game averaging 1.5 yards after contact per rush, which ranks 25th in the NFL
GREAT SECOND HALF START
According to the Associated Press, 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 1-yard pass to tight end Marcedes 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.
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.
Bortles was 6-of-9 for 50 yards and a touchdown when facing a blitz on Thursday. The touchdown was only his second against the blitz this year.
CLOSE BUT NOT ENOUGH
The Titans played Jacksonville throughout the game.
Delanie Walker now has 11 catches on throws to travel at least 15 yards downfield, tied for third among tight ends.
Charlie Whitehurst had taken two sacks against standard pressure against Jacksonville. Including Thursday night, the Titans have taken 32 sacks against standard pressure this season, most in the NFL.
The Jaguars recorded four sacks when sending four or fewer pass rushers on Thursday. They now rank third in the NFL with 33 sacks while using standard pressure. The Titans have now taken 34 sacks against standard pressure, the most in the league.