Thursday Night Football used to be considered something of a must-see contest not so long ago. But the quality of the games this year have been about as inconsistent as global warning winters in the Northeast; you never know whether you’re going to get a great game or a stinker. In last night’s matchup of the Jacksonville Jaguars at home versus the Tennessee Titans, viewers likely tuned in expecting to see the gridiron version of Dumb and Dumber-er from an offensive production standpoint. But it actuallly wasn’t that bad of a game by two teams that haven’t been half good all season long.
Rookie quarterback Blake Bortles did just enough to give a Jags offense that was sorely in need of some kind spark a chance to win by not turning the ball over at critical moments of the game. Meanwhile running back Jordan Todman came in and did work after subbing in for starting RB Toby Gerhart, who left the game in the 4th quarter with a rib injury. Todman would chip in five carries for 71 yards, most of which were gained on a 62 yard scamper, while Gerhart ran for a hard fought 53 yards on 12 yards.
Both Bortles and QB Charlie Whitehurst of the Tennessee Titans had to soldier through inept pass protection from their offensive lines all night long, but the silver lining is they were each only sacked four times. The bad part is they were each sacked four times. Really, who could describe being slammed into at around 25 miles an hour by a 250 plus-pound human being a good thing in any situation. On the bright side, each could have easily been sacked seven or more times.
"The neat thing about this was different guys stood up at different times," Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said.
In addition to throwing the ball, Bortles crept out of the backfield to rumble and stumble for 50 rushing yards.
If victories were based simply off the sum total of passing and running yards contributed by the quarterback, the Titans would have easily won this game as a glance at the stats shows Whitehurst played a clean, efficient game with 287 yards passing, a touchdown and a 102.9 passer rating. But, as they say, football is the ultimate team sport and Ol’ Charlie got very little help on the offensive end. The win was the second time in four weeks the Jags were able to walk away victorious. Why are we mentioning it? Well, it’s the closest thing they’ve got to a winning streak. That’s worth something, right? Meanwhile, the Titans lost their ninth consecutive game in a row and look to be an early favorite for the No. 1 draft pick.
Tennessee led 10-0 in the second and enjoyed a 179 to 16 total yardage advantage as well before a late drive by the Jags made the score a bit more respectable. That momentum carried over to the second half and it was all Jacksonville in the second half.
In the beginning of this hard fought contest it appeared that Titans third stringer Charlie Whitehurst would outplay first round draft pick Blake Bortles of the Jaguars as Whitehurst looked every bit as accurate and efficient as any coach would dream in the first half, but an 80 yard drive by Jacksonville late in the 2nd quarter didn’t garner a response from the Titans when one was sorely needed. Now that this game is out of the way, NFL fans can big a fond farewell to Thursday Night Football until next season and fans of Tennessee and Jacksonville can keep their fingers crossed for the Marcus Mariotta lottery.
The Tennessee Titans (2-13) hope to at least avoid being canon fodder as they prepare to face the Indianapolis Colts (3-12) next week while the Jacksonville Jaguars should be well over the euphoria of victory as the stout Houston Texans defense looms in the distance.