Jacksonville Sports Day

NFL: Jaguars Lose to Former Coach for Second Straight Game

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Coach Mike Mularkey doesn’t believe in cushions after seeing too many of them disappear during his NFL career.

Still, his Tennessee Titans built an impressive one in a 36-22 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday night.
Tennessee (4-4) scored on its last five possessions of the first half to take a 27-0 lead into the break.

“Well, I’ve been in a lot of games in my career, and I don’t know if there’s any cushion,” Mularkey said. “When we came out at the half, it was the full game plan. Nothing was going to change because I’ve been around long enough to know: Don’t get comfortable.”

Marcus Mariota looked comfortable, passing for 270 yards, and DeMarco Murray rushed for 123 yards.  Mariota completed 18 of 22 passes with two touchdowns and no interceptions as the Titans outgained the Jaguars 494 yards to 370.

“I think today was probably the first time all three phases played a complete game, and you know what, that’s all you can really ask for,” Mariota said. “Those guys deserve a lot of credit, and we’ve just got to continue to roll.”

Tennessee moved a half-game behind the Houston Texans (4-3) in the AFC South.

The loss puts more pressure on Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, who fell to 14-41 in his fourth season. Jacksonville (2-5) began the season with high expectations due to an improved roster.

He downplayed the scrutiny on his job status.

“No, I worry about this team and why did we perform like that in the first half and figuring out, ‘OK, how can we get it right?'” Bradley said. “There’s always solutions. This period right here — it happened, and we’ve got to take a hard look at it.”

It was a rare home win for Mariota, who improved to 3-8 at Nissan Stadium.  Murray rushed for one touchdown on 21 carries.

Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles completed 33 of 54 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns.

“Frustrated for sure,” Bortles said. “Like I said earlier in the week or last week, you know, confidence isn’t an issue. I believe in myself and this team 100 percent.”

Jacksonville finally got on the scoreboard when Bortles threw a 10-yard TD pass to Julius Thomas on the opening possession of the second half.

Bortles ran in the two-point conversion, narrowing the deficit to 27-8, capping an 11-play, 75-yard drive.

Tennessee answered with a 75-yard drive of its own on the ensuing possession. Mariota threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Rishard Matthews, giving the Titans a 33-8 lead with 6:53 left in the third quarter.

Ryan Succop’s third field goal, this one from 36 yards out, increased the Titans’ lead to 36-8 early in the fourth quarter.

Bortles threw a 5-yard TD strike to Allen Hurns and then a 7-yard scoring pass to Bryan Walters in the final minutes.
Succop kicked a 32-yard field goal with 3:31 left in the first quarter, giving the Titans a 3-0 lead.

Tennessee erupted for 24 unanswered points in the second quarter on three touchdowns and a field goal.

Kendall Wright increased Tennessee’s lead to 10-0 when he got behind Tashaun Gipson on a post pattern for a 36-yard touchdown reception from Mariota seven seconds into the second quarter.

Derrick Henry broke to the right side of the line on third-and-1 for a 6-yard touchdown run, building the Titans’ advantage to 17-0 with 10:36 left in the first half to cap an eight-play, 69-yard drive.

Phillip Supernaw nearly scored on a 44-yard pass from Mariota in the second quarter, but a television-replay review showed that he stepped out of bounds at the Jaguars’ 14-yard line.

Murray scored on the next play on a 14-yard run, increasing Tennessee’s lead to 24-0 with 7:09 left in the first half.
Stopped initially up the middle, Murray reversed direction to the left and raced into the end zone.

Succop added a 22-yard field goal, increasing the Titans’ lead to 27-0 as time expired in the first half.

GAME NOTES: Tennessee RB DeMarco Murray sustained a toe injury during a 19-yard run in the second quarter, but he later returned to action. … Jaguars rookie CB Jalen Ramsey, a former star at nearby Brentwood Academy, played his first NFL game in Nashville. … Titans CB Brice McCain started in place of Perrish Cox, and he finished with three tackles and a pass defensed. FS Daimion Stafford replaced Rashad Johnson in the starting lineup and made five tackles. Brian Schwenke took LG Quinton Spain’s spot. … Jaguars DT Roy Miller III was placed on injured reserve. His roster spot was taken by Richard Ash. Abry Jones replaced Miller in the starting lineup and made three tackles. DE Tyson Alualu took Jared Odrick’s starting position and recorded three tackles. … Jacksonville came out in a mustard-colored uniform in the nationally televised game

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