The Jaguars won their first AFC South game of the season and improved their record to 4-6. Here are the five most important takeaways from the game.
1. Don't take too much from the defense's performance. The Jaguars defense played great football and Davon House and Aaron Colvin really competed in the secondary. They registered four sacks, which was fantastic. Okay, now for the bad news: they were playing a rookie quarterback on a short week, who was surprised by some of the blitz packages the Jaguars implemented. The Titans were without their best wide receiver, and they lacked real weapons. Still, there were plenty of open receivers that Mariota missed and that effort would have looked different against a good veteran quarterback.
“We’ve just been continually growing," Jaguars safety Jonathan Cyprien said. . We’re finishing in the fourth quarter and that’s great. Start fast and finish faster – that’s what we want to build on. As we keep growing and keep getting better, we’ll start opening the margin of points and beating people by a little more points.”
2. Rashad Greene makes a huge difference. The Jaguars rookie wide receiver played in his first game after being placed on the IR-DFR list and he was a difference maker. Greene had the key 63-yard punt return which set up the team's only touchdown and effectively won the game. Greene was only targeted once in the passing game, but those numbers will increase.
"Rashad Greene, I think that the mentality he has, I think he’s got good vision, good awareness, utilizes blocks very good and then will hit it more north and south," Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley explained. "I think [we need to] give credit to the return team, too. I think they did a nice job with some blocks. But overall, I think his awareness and instincts I think are his two biggest traits.”
3. Jason Myers found his mojo. The embattled Jaguars kicker looked like a different guy on Thursday night, and perhaps that's what making a 53-yard game winner will do for you. Myers rifled all four field goal attempts through the uprights and made his extra point. Most teams take their kickers for granted and hopefully the Jaguars will be able to do that in time with Myers. A confident kicker is a powerful weapon.
4. Allen Robinson needs to be the primary target. We know that Allen Robinson is the team's No. 1 receiver, but he needs even more targets. He's not quite as good as Dez Bryant, but Robinson is "always open," even when covered.
“We talk about it all the time in the quarterback room…no matter what you do, don’t overthrow him. Just give him a chance because he is going to go up and make a play," Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles explained. "That’s really all you do when you throw the ball to him, you don’t have to throw a perfect ball, just don’t overthrow him and let him go up and catch it. He’s going to make a play. He has been unbelievable. Guys like Julius Thomas and Al Robinson are all big dudes who can go make plays, so we’ll have to use those guys better in the red zone.”
5. Blake Bortles was better. Bortles still turned the ball over twice, but he avoided more turnovers, something he couldn't do last year. The Jaguars quarterback still makes big plays when the team needs them regardless of what kind of game he's having and that's something that you can't teach.
“I thought we did some good stuff from the 20 to the 20 (yard lines) obviously, but we lacked a little bit in our red zone efficiency when we got down there. But the guys continued to fight, they continued to battle; they did an unbelievable job. You get a chance like that, you can’t wait for another opportunity to get the ball down to the red zone," Bortles said.