Jacksonville 38, Tennessee 17
When: 1:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 24, 2016
Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars talked all week about how much an embarrassing loss to the Tennessee Titans on national TV still stung two months later.
They are feeling better now after snapping a franchise-worst nine-game losing streak and giving their home crowd something to celebrate.
Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson finally found the groove they had for most of last season, and the Jaguars knocked Marcus Mariota out of the game with a fractured fibula during a surprising 38-17 victory Saturday at EverBank Field.
"It's good for our team moving forward," Jaguars defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks said. "Good going into the future, going into the last game to close out the season. It was big not just for us but also for this city after we hadn't given them much to cheer about this season."
The Jaguars (3-12) looked nothing like the team that had failed to win a game in Jacksonville this season and was crushed by the Titans on "Thursday Night Football" on Oct. 27. Their resurgent effort dealt Tennessee's playoff hopes a huge blow.
The Titans (8-7) were eliminated from the AFC South race after the Houston Texans beat the Cincinnati Bengals 12-10 on Saturday night.
A bigger concern is for Mariota, who was injured when he was sacked from behind by rookie defensive tackle Sheldon Day late in the third quarter. The second-year pro was immediately carted off with an air cast around his right leg and is out for the remainder of the season.
"The way his foot was planted and the way the defender landed on him, it was a bad position," Titans coach Mike Mularkey said."
The playoffs haven't been thought of much by the Jaguars during a disappointing season, but this one felt good for a team that avoided becoming the first in franchise history not to win in Jacksonville.
Bortles' strong day began on the first drive that ended with a 21-yard touchdown strike to Marqise Lee down the left sideline. The two later hooked up for a score that put the game away midway through the fourth quarter; this time, it was Lee who took an end-around hand-off and lofted a pass back to Bortles for a 20-yard touchdown.
The touchdown gave the Jaguars a 31-17 lead with 5:32 remaining in the fourth quarter after Tennessee had pulled within a score (plus the two-point conversion) on a 14-yard touchdown pass from back-up quarterback Matt Cassel to tight end Delanie Walker.
Bortles finished the game 26 of 38 passing for 325 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Chris Ivory added a touchdown run in the second quarter, and Robinson notched a season-high 147 receiving yards.
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey put an exclamation point on an enjoyable day for the Jaguars with a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Ramsey now has two interceptions in the last two games to continue what has been an impressive rookie season.
"It's kind of a dream come true, especially an (interception for a touchdown) against my hometown team that I grew up watching and loving," Ramsey said. "It's a blessing, and I can't do anything but thank God."
Ramsey was also one of several players inside the Jaguars locker room to thank Gus Bradley following the victory. Bradley was fired after losing to the Texans last week and finished his coaching career in Jacksonville with a 14-48 record.
Jacksonville played like an inspired team.
The Jaguars built a 10-0 lead in the first quarter and responded to a 3-yard touchdown pass from Mariota to Rishard Matthews with a 12-play drive that was capped by Ivory's rushing touchdown.
The mistakes that have plagued the Jaguars all season -- turnovers, unnecessary penalties and defensive miscues -- never showed up. Jacksonville outgained Tennessee 415 to 263 while picking up six more first downs.
Cassel finished 13 of 24 for 124 yards with one touchdown and one interception in relief of Mariota, who was 8 of 20 for 99 yards with a touchdown.
Tennessee's third-ranking rushing attack was also largely contained. DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry each ran for touchdowns in a 36-22 thrashing of the Jaguars earlier this season, but neither found the end zone Saturday. Murray finished with 42 yards on 14 carries, while Henry ran for 13 yards on just four attempts.
"I thought we had a good game plan and I thought the guys were ready to play," Cassel said. "You have to give credit to Jacksonville. They did a tremendous job on both sides of the ball. We were not able to accomplish what we wanted."
While the Titans were left to figure out what's next, the Jaguars were content celebrating a performance was everything the Jaguars could have wanted.
"We honestly took it personal, and they smashed us in the mouth the first game," defensive end Dante Fowler said. "And we took it personal and we knew it was unacceptable and embarrassing, so we just wanted to come out and show who we really are."
NOTES: Jaguars rookie DT Sheldon Day notched the first sack of his career on the play that injured Titans QB Marcus Mariota late in the third quarter. ... Jaguars second-year RB T.J. Yeldon suffered an ankle injury on the first possession of the game and did not return. ... Jaguars QB Blake Bortles joined Seattle's Russell Wilson as the only two quarterbacks to catch touchdown passes this season. ... Tennessee will play Houston for the division title next week if the Texans lose to the Bengals on Saturday. ... Titans RBs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry each rushed for touchdowns against the Jaguars earlier this season. Neither scored Saturday. ... Titans WR Rishard Matthews scored in both games against the Jaguars this season.
Top Game Performances
Team Stats Summary
Jacksonville will play their next game on the road against Indianapolis. The Jaguars have a W/L % of .500 after a win and .154 after a loss.
Tennessee will play their next game at home against Houston. The Titans have a W/L % of .333 after a win and .833 after a loss.