It wasn't statistically impressive by any means, but the Jacksonville Jaguars will take it, as they managed to pull themselves from the ranks of the winless with a 29-27 victory over the Tennessee Titans. Quarterback Chad Henne completed just 14-of-23 passes for 180 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions, and Maurice Jones-Drew led the team with 41 rushing yards on 21 carries against Tennessee's estimable defense.
Those types of stats don't generally feed the bulldog, especially for a team that has been as historically awful as the Jags, but Jacksonville forced four turnovers that they were able to turn into 17 points. And the same team that was once on pace to score the fewest points in a single season thorough the 16-game era never trailed at any point.
It was an especially big blow for the 4-5 Titans on two counts -- not only did they blow a golden opportunity to move within a game of the Indianapolis Colts (who were decimated by the St. Louis Rams) in the AFC South, but also quarterback Jake Locker left in the second quarter with a foot injury. Locker had returned from hip and knee injuries on Oct. 20 after a two-game absence, and he returned to this game in a walking boot and using crutches Reports indicate that he could miss the rest of the season with a Lisfranc injury. Locker was 4-of-9 for 24 yards and a pick before he left, and though backup Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 22-of-33 passes for 264 yards, two touchdowns and no picks -- adding a rushing touchdown in the fourth quarter -- it wasn't quite enough.
The real story in this game was Jacksonville's defense. Tennessee outgained the Jaguars 362-214, and converted 10 of its 18 third-down attempts while Jacksonville converted just 3 of its 12 opportunities. But the Titans fumbled five times, losing three of them, and a team that looked like a playoff competitor last Sunday, when it beat the Rams and old head coach Jeff Fisher, was left out in the cold.
It is the Jaguars' first regular-season win since Nov. 25, 2012, when they beat these same Titans, 24-19. In the last 14 months, Jacksonville is 2-1 against the Titans, and 0-19 against the rest of the NFL.