An injured Marcus Mariota came off the bench to guide the Tennessee Titans to a huge 9-6 upset of the Jaguars Sunday in Jacksonville.
Ryan Succop’s 28-yard field goal with 4:03 left in the game was the difference for the Titans who played a masterful game of controlling the ball and playing the defense.
Mike Vrabel knew it was a hard-fought win.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy… We talked about making it a four-quarter game. Defense played great to give us a chance.”
Blaine Gabbert started the game at quarterback for the Titans but left the game with a concussion after he was drilled with his second sack.
Mariota had been out since bruising the nerve in his elbow in Miami week 1 but went on to finish the drive guiding the Titans to a 39-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead.
The Jaguars tied in the 2nd quarter on a 46-yard field goal by Josh Lambo and they finished the half tied at 3-3.
In the 2nd half with Mariota at the helm, the Titans offense clearly looked more comfortable and efficient opening the second half with a long drive with a 36-yard field for a 6-3 lead.
After the Jags tied it up with 10:48 to play on a 38-yard Lambo field goal, the Titans offense took over. Mariota led them on an 11-play drive that culminated with the game-winning field goal.
Mariota had three straight completions, one of them on third down to chew clock and get the Titans in field goal range.
Vrabel called Mariota’s effort “fantastic” and gave him a game ball. Mariota finished 12 of 18 for 100 yards and added 51 yards rushing. Mariota’s biggest run came on 3rd and 1 in the final three minutes, when he ran the read option for 14 yards and basically killed the clock for the Jags.
The Titans defense was dominant all day long, holding Blake Bortles to 155 yards while sacking him three times. The Titans also held the Jags 87 yards. Most impressively, the Jaguars did not enter the Titans Red Zone the entire day after hanging 31 points on the Patriots last week.
The Titans moved into first place in the AFC South at 2-1 with the win. Vrabel did not want to celebrate but said:
“We think we have a difficult division, any time you get a division win on the road it’s critical”.
Next Sunday the Titans host the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
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