The Tennessee Titans played spoiler in Week 18, taking down the Jacksonville Jaguars to knock them out of the AFC playoffs with a 28-20 victory at home on Sunday.
The Jaguars losing not only gives the Houston Texans the AFC South title after its win over the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday night to get into the playoffs, but the Buffalo Bills don’t have a win-and-in mantra against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday night because they’ve clinched a playoff spot regardless.
Also, the Pittsburgh Steelers are in thanks to their win over the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday and the Jacksonville loss on Sunday.
Down eight in the fourth quarter, Jacksonville got a much-needed turnover when Andre Cisco intercepted a pass by Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill to set up Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence with wonderful field position and the chance to tie the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion. This came after Lawrence connected with tight end Evan Engram for a touchdown pass that cut the lead down.
Lawrence was able to find receiver Zay Jones for a six-yard pickup on 2nd-and-goal to put the Jaguars at the one-yard line with two chances for a touchdown.
But the 3rd-and-goal play-action pass sailed over the back of the end zone, making it a must-have 4th-and-goal for the Jaguars on the next play. Head coach Doug Pederson called for the quarterback sneak, and Lawrence tried to jump over his offensive line to reach the ball across the goal line.
But the Titans’ defense snuffed it out by stopping Lawrence before he could do so.
The Jaguars would get another chance to tie the game with two minutes to play in the game, but they turned the ball over on downs just four plays later.
Calvin Ridley, who hauled in a touchdown pass from Lawrence earlier in the game, was open on 2nd-and-2, which would’ve set up the Jags nicely, but it was out of his diving reach.
The Jaguars couldn’t believe the result, and unfortunately for them, they’ll have a lot of reflection time with no game scheduled for next week.
Titans running back Derrick Henry has likely played his final game in Nashville after eight seasons with the Titans as he’s set to enter free agency; and he went out with a patented “King Henry” performance of 153 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown to help his team win.
Henry addressed the crowd after the game, thanking them for their support and hoping that he had been an inspiration to the community over the years.
DeAndre Hopkins also had a game to highlight as he needed 39 receiving yards to reach 1,050 on the season, which would activate a $250,000 incentive. He had seven catches for 46 yards. The seven catches locked in another $250,000 incentive as he had 75 on the year.
For the Jaguars, Lawrence was 29 for 43 for 280 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions as he dealt with a shoulder injury throughout the game. Ridley had 106 yards on just six catches, and Engram was the top target with 10 catches on 13 tries from Lawrence.