Julius Thomas

The Tennessee Titans are better on the road than at home. Better doesn’t actually mean good. The same can be said of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Just because they won 19-13 and improved to 4-6 this season doesn’t make them a good team.

The game between two of the annually worst teams in the NFL didn’t disappoint those who thought it was going to be a bad Thursday Night of football, with the uniforms being the main subject of talk. Yes, more than the actual football. But when you get the first touchdown of the game with 5:22 left in the third quarter, you can’t say people were wrong to expect very little.

Marcus Mariota ran for a 23-yard touchdown to give the Titans a 13-9 lead, but that was the last we saw of the Titans scoring. Instead, Blake Bortles finally made something happen, connecting with Julius Thomas with 3:30 to go in the fourth and put the Jaguars on top. It was made possible by Rashad Greene returning a punt 63 yards to put Bortles with only five yards of work to do. He didn’t have much of a problem connecting with his tight end at that point.

The Titans fumbled the ball on the next drive, setting up the Jaguars with a field goal to make it a 6-point game. The Titans managed to pull together a nice little drive that got them to the Jaguars 23 with five seconds to go, but Mariota was sacked by Andre Branch, and time ran out. More of a strong finish by Jacksonville than a good game, but for a franchise that’s been winning so rarely over the last few years, it doesn’t really matter.

Anything to learn from this game? Mariota couldn’t handle the blitz, 5-of-9 for 46 yards when facing 5 or more pass rushers and taking three sacks. It was the most by the Jaguars when blitzing in the last five years. And as for Bortles, he saw a lot of standard pressure and did well through it, completing 15-of-18 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown when seeing four pass rushers or less. Bortles had the third-lowest completion percentage (60.1%) and yards per attempt (6.7) against standard pressure among qualified quarterbacks in the last two seasons.

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