NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)Visiting Music City has been nothing but misery and agony for the Jacksonville Jaguars for too many years.
On Sunday, the Jaguars made sure the Tennessee Titans felt that pain while keeping their AFC South hopes alive with four games remaining.
Trevor Lawrence threw for a career-high 368 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for a score and the Jaguars routed the division-leading Titans 36-22 Sunday for their first victory in Nashville since 2013.
The Jaguars (5-8) snapped a five-game skid against their oldest division rival with just their second victory in this series in 11 games. Doug Pederson also became the first Jacksonville coach to win in Nashville since Gus Bradley on Nov. 10, 2013, something the first-year Jags coach made sure his team knew about.
”Obviously on the road, against a great football team here in Nashville where we obviously haven’t done well means a lot,” Pederson said. ”Means a lot to myself, to the organization, to the Khans to be able to do that and then for the players to really play well.”
Jacksonville had four sacks and turned four turnovers into 20 points – three for 17 points in the first half. The Jaguars scored 29 straight points in winning two of their past three.
Pederson called those early turnovers a tone-setter.
”The offense was able to capitalize off of that and put points on the board, and you know, it’s just huge,” Pederson said.
Lawrence had a big game despite practicing only in a limited fashion Friday with an injured big left toe. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft waved bye at Titans fans before high-fiving Jaguars fans as he left the field.
”It’s been a while since we won here, and that ended today so it’s exciting,” Lawrence said. ”Just the start of what we hope to do to finish this season out and what we’re going to have to give ourselves a shot to make a run in the playoffs.”
Jaguars tight end Evan Engram had a career day with 15 targets and 162 yards receiving on 11 catches with two TD receptions.
The Titans (7-6) lost their third straight to match their longest skid since coach Mike Vrabel’s opening season in 2018.
Their rally was too little and too late. Ryan Tannehill threw a TD pass to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and converting a 2-point conversion pass to Chig Okonkwo that he pinned with one hand against his face mask with 7:15 to pull within 36-22.
The Titans turned it over on downs with 1:59 left, allowing the Jaguars to run out the clock.
”Nothing was good enough today,” Vrabel said.
This loss follows Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk firing general manager Jon Robinson over roster issues and injuries that had Tennessee playing 77 players after setting an NFL record with 91 different players last season. The Titans were without three defensive starters for this game.
Tennessee lost despite Derrick Henry shaking off some frustration by running for more yards in the first quarter than he had in any of the Titans’ past four games. Henry had 96 yards, including a 50-yarder, in the first quarter. He had 119 yards by halftime only to finish with 121.
The Titans led 7-0 when Jaguars linebacker Travon Walker, the No. 1 pick overall, sacked Tannehill and stripped him of the ball on Tennessee’s second possession. Dawuane Smoot recovered, and Lawrence found Engram for a 12-yard TD pass tying it at 7.
Jaguars safety Andrew Wingard, who hurt a shoulder on the opening drive, picked off Tannehill’s pass intended for Westbrook-Ikhine with the Titans receiver blocking and not looking for the ball. That set up the first of Riley Patterson’s three field goals.
Jacksonville linebacker Shaquille Quarterman hit Henry at the end of a 16-yard catch-and-run, popping the ball right into teammate Josh Allen’s hands at the Jacksonville 22.
Lawrence capped a 78-yard drive by hitting Zay Jones on a 20-yard TD pass, and the receiver got his toes in at the right edge of the end zone that went through Titans rookie cornerback Roger McCreary’s hands with 11 seconds left in the first half giving Jacksonville its first lead of the game.
”The whole first half, just shot ourselves in the foot with turnovers,” Tannehill said.
The Jaguars put the game away with a dominating third quarter. They held the ball for more than 10 minutes and outgained Tennessee 146 to minus-8. Lawrence ran for a 1-yard TD and later hit Engram with a 21-yard TD pass.
The Titans went three-and-out on both of their possessions in the third quarter, and fans booed heavily. It got worse as the Titans tried a wildcat snap in the opening minute of the fourth. The snap to Henry was low with Tannehill faking on the play, and Arden Key recovered for the Jaguars for Patterson’s third field goal.
Titans running back and special teams player Dontrell Hilliard was carted off with a neck injury in the second quarter and did not return. Titans safety Amani Hooker went into the medical tent at the end of the third but returned.
The Jaguars return home to host Dallas.
Tennessee visits the Los Angeles Chargers.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP-NFL