Titans vs. Jaguars: Instant Grades, Analysis for Tennessee
Tennessee threw a pair of interceptions, missed a field goal and came up just short on a pair of potential touchdown passes in the loss, which drops them nearly out of the playoff race in the AFC.
After a rather ugly first half, the Titans trail the Jacksonville Jaguars 7-6.
Tennessee, after struggling for much of the first 30 minutes, were able to take advantage of a late turnover on downs to get within one point heading into the break.
Coming off of their bye week, the Tennessee Titans will look to keep their slim playoff hopes alive with a win against Jacksonville in Week 12.
The Titans are sitting at 4-6 in a muddled AFC, and will need to make a run in their final six games if they hope to make their first playoff appearance since 2008.
With an extra week to prepare and an offense that seems to be improving behind a stronger running game and second-year quarterback Jake Locker, the Titans will look to put plenty of points on the board against a Jacksonville defense that has struggled to limit opposing offenses all season.
Jake Locker, like much of the offense, was inconsistent throughout most of the game.
Many of his passes were plagued by drops and sloppy footwork by his wide receivers, while his accuracy was not quite as crisp as the Titans would likely prefer.
Locker threw a pair of fourth quarter interceptions, including a back-breaking pick late in the fourth quarter when the Titans were attempting to take the lead.
Final Game Grade: C+
Jake Locker has been unable to get anything going, as play-calling has limited his attempts while dropped passes have killed a number of big-play opportunities, highlighted by a dropped touchdown pass by Nate Washington.
Thus far, Jake Locker has dealt with a few drops and sloppy routes from his wide receivers but has made enough plays to keep the Titans in the game.
Locker's opportunities to really air the ball out have been extremely limited through two quarters, and Tennessee will likely look to use the play-action more often in the second half.
Locker is currently 8-of-16 passing for 101 yards and has added 12 yards on the ground in the first half.
First Half Grade: C+
Through one quarter, the Titans have held the ball for a little under three minutes and Jake Locker is yet to complete a pass, missing on his first two attempts.
Locker will need to find a rhythm and help the offense put together a few drives to help out the defense, which spent the vast majority of the first quarter on the field.
First Quarter Grade: C-
The Titans quarterback made his return from injury in the Titans' 37-3 victory over the Miami Dolphins two weeks ago.
Despite a few questions surrounding his accuracy, Locker's game-breaking ability has proved to be the difference when he has been on the field this year, opening things up with a strong deep ball and the ability to make plays outside of the pocket with his legs.
Tennessee managed to get into scoring position six times in the game, but was only able to walk away with one touchdown and five field goal attempts.
The offense managed 360 yards and were able to move the ball effectively after spreading the Jacksonville defense out and allowing Jake Locker to make plays with his arm.
However, mental mistakes did the offense in, as a pair of potential touchdowns couldn't be hauled in and a number of drops killed possible scoring drives.
Final Game Grade: C-
The offense continues to be plagued by mental errors that have cost them a number of opportunities to put more points on the board.
The Titans will need to attack down field in the fourth quarter if they want to come back in this game.
After a slow start, the Titans were able to move the ball down the field throughout the second half, but were unable to get the ball into the end zone.
Chris Johnson has rushed for only 26 yards on nine carries in the first half while a number of dropped passes and mental mistakes has plagued the receiving group.
Halftime Grade: C
After being given great field position on its first possession of the game, the Titans were unable to move the football and were forced to settle for a field goal.
Tennessee has totaled just 15 yards of offense through one quarter and are yet to pick up a first down.
First Quarter Grade: D
With the re-emergence of Chris Johnson over Tennessee's last seven games, the Titans offense has the potential to be the most balanced it has been all season if Locker and the passing game are able to build some momentum early on.
The Jaguars defense has been one of the worst in the league throughout the year, and the Titans, with an extra week of rest, should have a chance to take advantage of a beaten up unit that is unlikely to receive a lot of help from a wounded and struggling offense.
Tennessee was able to get consistent pressure, but struggles with making tackles on first contact allowed Jacksonville to pile up 24 points on the day.
While there were signs of life throughout the game from the linebackers and the defensive line, poor safety play once again highlighted struggles in the secondary.
The Titans have shown more aggressiveness defensively over its last two games after allowing points at a record-setting pace in its first nine contests, but consistently getting off the field on third downs continues to be an issue.
Final Game Grade: B
The Titans defense, despite allowing a long touchdown, has continued to keep the Titans in the game with relentless pressure on Chad Henne.
Though there have been a few examples of shoddy tackling, overall, the defense is doing enough to put Tennessee in position to come away with a win.
The Titans pass rush has been relentless in the first half as the Tennessee defensive line has swarmed Chad Henne throughout the day.
Jacksonville has been able to move the ball pretty effectively, but only has a touchdown to show for it through one half of play.
Tennessee's secondary needs to play more aggressively and force Chad Henne to make difficult throws when Jacksonville attacks down field.
Halftime Grade: B-
Despite sacking Chad Henne three times and tallying an interception on the first play of the game, the Titans allowed a touchdown and 118 yards in the first quarter.
The Titans secondary has played off their men and have given Jaguars receivers too much separation in the early going and will need to become more aggressive if they hope to slow down the Henne-led attack.
The Titans defense, coming off its most impressive performance of the season against Miami prior to its bye, will look to continue building momentum against a Jaguars offense featuring a new starting quarterback in Chad Henne.
Jacksonville's running game is still without star running back Maurice Jones-Drew and, despite putting up plenty of points against Houston last week, still ranks 29th in the league in scoring, averaging 16.4 points per contest.
The Titans defense, with another week to get healthy, should be as prepared as they have been all year to make plays and help the team come away with a win.
The Titans special teams unit did the team little favors today, as Rob Bironas missed a makeable kick and returner Darius Reynaud consistently ran the ball out of the end zone and came up short of the 20 yard line.
Though the kick and punt coverage was good, the Titans inability to create quality field position in its own return game often put the offense in difficult situations.
Final Game Grade: D
Rob Bironas missed a 42-yard field goal attempt but also hit a pair in the first half.
Return opportunities have been limited thus far and nothing of major significance has happened in this aspect of the game thus far.
Halftime Grade: C
Very little going on for special team through one quarter.
First Quarter Grade: INC
The Titans special teams have played a larger role than normal in many of the team's games this year, and this week's contest has the potential to be no different.
Return man Darius Reynaud has had plenty of success in his first year with the team while the combination of Rob Bironas and Brett Kern represent one of the league's better kicking duos.
Tennessee has given up a number of big returns this season, and they will need to prevent Jacksonville from making a momentum-changing play in the most overlooked section in football if they want to take advantage of their edges in other aspects of the game.
Mike Munchak and the rest of the coaching staff are really going to need to reevaluate their game planning ability heading into the Texans game next week.
With an extra week to prepare for a struggling Jacksonville team, the Titans came out flat and did not seem ready to come away with the win.
With the continued struggles to consistently produce on either side of the ball, the coordinators are likely to come under fire moving forward.
The Tennessee coaching staff appeared to open things up a bit more offensively in the second quarter and the Titans were able to move the ball as a result.
The Titans coaches have to be happy with the team's ability to get to the quarterback but will need to fix some of the holes in the secondary if they want to come away with the win.
The Titans have come out looking to pound the football and rush the passer, but have not been able to get much going consistently thus far.
The Titans need to let Jake Locker open things up a little more and take advantage of a questionable Jacksonville secondary if they want to put some points on the board.
First Quarter Grade: C
The following week, the Titans responded with a dominating performance in which every aspect of the game appeared to be fully prepared to make plays and come away with the win.
Playing one of the worst teams in football with an extra week to get ready, anything less than a quality game plan from Titans head coach Mike Munchak will certainly be unacceptable.