- Image 1 of 2
- Image 2 of 2
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Jacksonville Jaguars started with their first touchdown drive to open a game this season.
They also scored in the final minute, giving them a chance at their first win.
They just didn't do enough in between, letting the Tennessee Titans escape with a 16-14 win Sunday after Josh Scobee's 55-yard field goal was blocked in the final seconds.
"We've got to be able to sustain," rookie Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles said. "We've got to stay consistent and continue that. We can't fall asleep and fall apart."
Bortles threw for a career-high 336 yards and a touchdown pass with 37 seconds left, and the quarterback also ran for a team-high 38 yards.
After LaRoy Reynolds recovered an onside kick, Bortles drove the Jaguars to the Titans 37 before coach Gus Bradley had to send Scobee out to try a kick for Jacksonville's first win this season.
Titans defensive lineman Sammie Hill blocked the kick with his right hand to seal the win for Tennessee.
It was the closest margin yet in a loss this season for the Jaguars (0-6). Bortles wasn't in the mood to celebrate being close.
"A loss is a loss," Bortles said. "You feel the same about it no matter whether you lose by one or you lose by 40."
A couple of decisions by Jaguars coach Gus Bradley to challenge two plays he lost cost him dearly. He lost his second timeout challenging what he thought was a fumble by Titans running back Bishop Sankey early in the fourth quarter.
And the Jaguars used their third timeout with 3:30 left to preserve clock before getting the ball back. It worked as Bortles found Clay Harbor for a 20-yard TD with 37 seconds left.
Bradley said the lost challenges were on him. Usually needing 17 seconds to rush the field goal unit out, Bradley took the chance.
"I felt really confident," Bradley said. "He felt confident on the sideline, and it looked like it was going. It was the right direction and he got enough on it. It was just the height on it."
Instead, the Titans wound up holding on for the win after blowing the biggest lead ever by a home team in the regular season with their loss last week to Cleveland.
Jackie Battle ran for a touchdown, and Ryan Succop also kicked three field goals as the Titans (2-4) snapped a four-game skid themselves.
"It was a relief," Titans quarterback Charlie Whitehurst said. "I think we kind of controlled the game most of the game, and we weren't able to sustain a drive in the second half to put it away. It would've been a little easier on everybody's hearts. It's a win, and we're very happy about it."
Titans defensive lineman Jurrell Casey had two of Tennessee's six sacks. The Titans forced two turnovers as they won their first game at home this season — only their second here in nine games.
Even though this game was a sellout, thousands of empty seats awaited two of the NFL's worst teams. The Titans gave their fans a reason to stick around to the end by making this more exciting in the final seconds than they wanted.
Whitehurst threw for a career-high 233 yards in starting his second game in three weeks in place of the injured Jake Locker. He was out with a second injury to his right hand — this time his right thumb.
Locker had plenty of company on the sideline as the Titans, who placed veteran starters safety Bernard Pollard (Achilles tendon) and left tackle Michael Roos (right knee) on injured reserve this week, started three rookies.
The Jaguars came in second in the NFL behind only the Bills and Jets with 16 sacks. They added three more of Whitehurst as they hit him repeatedly.
Jacksonville had its chances. Titans cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson picked off Bortles' pass at the Tennessee 16 in the third quarter. Succop helped convert that into a 16-7 lead for Tennessee with his third field goal, a 42-yarder.
Notes: Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts finished with 10 catches for 103 yards, and Harbor had 91 yards receiving. ... Rookie Storm Johnson started at running back with Toby Gerhart out with his injured foot. ... Titans returner Leon Washington had a 50-yard kickoff return in the first quarter and became the second active player and 11th in NFL history with 7,000 yards on kickoff returns.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL
Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker