Jaguars vs. Titans: Tennessee Gets Win, Jacksonville Gets a Fresh Start

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistDecember 30, 2012

Darius Reynaud spins out of a tackle en route to one of two return touchdowns.
Darius Reynaud spins out of a tackle en route to one of two return touchdowns.USA TODAY Sports

Throw out the records when the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars get together.

No seriously, please throw out the records.

The Titans rode four return touchdowns to a lackluster 38-20 victory over the Jaguars to close the 2012 season.

Titans head coach Mike Munchak possibly helped save his job with the victory to raise their record to 6-10 on the season, though many doubted his position was ever in doubt.

Jacksonville, on the other hand, finished tied with Kansas City for the worst record in the NFL at just 2-14. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported via Twitter earlier in the day that Jaguars general manager Gene Smith was on his way out after the season.

The two teams played out the string in a mistake-filled game that summed up the worst each franchise had to offer.

Jacksonville started strong, leading the Titans 14-7 deep into the second quarter. A pair of early touchdowns by Chad Henne made it look like the game would be a repeat of the Jaguars win a few weeks prior.

Then in a ridiculous span of less than four minutes of game time, the Titans ripped off four separate returns for scores.

Just inside the two-minute warning of the first half, Henne threw into double coverage as Zach Brown stepped in front of his offering, running it back for a score.

Darius Reynaud then returned a pair of Jacksonville punts 69 and 81 yards for scores.

With the Titans suddenly up 28-14, Henne threw another pass that was intercepted by Brown who again ran it back for a score to put Tennessee up by 21 points.

It's a good thing the Titans were scoring in unusual ways, because their offense certainly wasn't up to the task. Jake Locker struggled mightily after the opening drive and finished 9-of-15 for 152 yards. Chris Johnson picked up 56 yards on 21 carries as the offense staggered about aimlessly for most of the afternoon.

The Jaguars, for their part, were unable to shake off Henne's barrage of interceptions and could not mount a comeback. They did manage to block a Brett Kern punt for a touchdown in the waning moments of the fourth quarter providing both the final score and one final ignominious highlight from the mistake-filled game.

Both teams face an uncertain offseason as they try to bury the ashes of nightmarish campaigns.

The Titans will seek to rebuild their offensive and defensive lines and will at least require all new assistant coaches.

The Jaguars apparently have no general manager, could get a new coach and still have no idea who their starting quarterback will be in 2013.

With the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts each winning 11 games or more, it's clear that both teams will face steep climbs back to relevance in the new year.