Lightning Struck Again

For the second consecutive season, the Tennessee Titans handed the Jaguars an opening day loss as they dominated the line of scrimmage and thus the football game en route to a 17-10 victory.

Although the Jaguars defense did a solid job, the offense could not move the ball against a very stout Tennessee Titans defensive unit. The Jaguars finished the game with just 189 yards of total offense, and the league's second-ranked rushing unit a year ago tallied just 33 yards on the ground.

Tennessee's biggest offensive weapon was rookie running back Chris Johnson, who led all rushers with 93 yards on 15 carries, and he chipped in with 34 yards on three receptions including the go-ahead touchdown in the second quarter. Tight end Bo Scaife led all Titans receivers with six catches for 105 yards, including a back-breaking 44-yard catch and run late in the fourth period on a third-and-fifteen from backup quarterback Kerry Collins.

For the second consecutive season, Jaguars fans are left scratching their heads after the opener as the Titans out-physicaled the Jaguars on both sides of the line. What was really troubling for Jacksonville was certainly the play of quarterback David Garrard. Garrard completed 23 of 35 passes for 215 yards, and one touchdown, but threw two interceptions, fumbled the ball away once, and was sacked seven times. Garrard finished with just a 68.2 quarterback rating.

The Jaguars offense squandered opportunity after opportunity, as their special teams and defense put them in fantastic shape to put points on the board.

The Jaguars defense was solid for much of the afternoon, despite spending plenty of time on the football field. Jacksonville allowed just 309 yards of total offense and just 14 first downs to the Titans, as big plays were difficult to come by. The Jaguars shut down Titans quarterback Vince Young, as he completed just 12 of 22 passes for 110 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Young finished with a quarterback rating of 45.6.

The lone phase of the game in which the Jaguars dominated was special teams, as undrafted rookie Brian Witherspoon made a regular season impact as he returned three kickoffs for a 41 yard per return average, and two punts for a 22 yard per return average. The Jaguars coverage units were excellent, as they allowed just a 16 yard per return average on two kickoffs, and a seven yard per return average on two punt returns.

Another player that showed himself well on opening day for the Jaguars were safety Gerald Sensabaugh, who made two tackles and set the Jaguars up with their only touchdown on an interception return to the Titans five yard line. Safety Brian Williams recorded eight tackles, linebacker Justin Durant had five stops, and rookie defensive end Derrick Harvey had an interception in which he made a very athletic play.

There wasn't much to like offensively if you're a Jaguars fan, as the team had serious blocking issues on the offensive line, the quarterback play was terrible, and there was no assemblance of a running game. Wide receiver Matt Jones continued his renaissance as he caught six passes for 80 yards, and was one of the lone bright spots on the Jaguars offense.

Jacksonville will try to regroup next Sunday as they take on the Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, who won 34-10 over the visiting Seattle Seahawks.

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