On rare occasions in the pass-happy NFL, a team will light up the scoreboard despite their inability to move the ball on offense.
A 38-20 win by the Tennessee Titans over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., serves as a case in point. When Titans LB Zach Brown returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter it gave his team a commanding 35-14 lead.
At that point, the Titans (6-10) only had five first downs and 102 yards of total offense. The Jaguars, meanwhile, had outgained Tennessee by nearly 200 yards and held the ball for more than 11 minutes longer. Two punt returns for touchdowns by RB Darius Reynaud and two interceptions for touchdowns by Brown provided the disparity. The Titans became the first team in NFL history to have two touchdown returns by two different players in the same game.
Both teams could make wholesale changes before next season. ESPN reported on Sunday that the Jaguars (2-14) will dismiss GM Gene Smith but could retain coach Mike Mularkey.
"You hate to see somebody go, especially a good man like that," Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis said. "As long as I've been here, he's been a straight shooter. I have a lot of respect for Gene."
Titans coach Mike Munchak is expected to meet with owner Bud Adams this week to discuss his job status. Munchak, who completed his second season as the Titans' head coach on Sunday, has been with the organization for more than 30 years as a player and coach. In 2001, Munchak became the fifth player in franchise history to be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"I think it comes down to if Mr. Adams is confident that I can do the job," Munchak said. "I think the fact that I've been here is nice, but what it really comes down to in the NFL is winning football games. He's not going to keep me in the job just because I've been here. I don't think that will be a factor at all."
When the game turned: The Jaguars were driving to take a two-touchdown lead late in the second quarter when Brown jumped a route intended for Lewis and intercept a Chad Henne pass and return it 79 yards for a touchdown. The Jaguars fell behind less than two minutes later and never regained the lead.
Highlight moments: Titans WR Lavelle Hawkins made a sprawling 42-yard catch on the game's opening drive. It helped set up a 2-yard touchdown by Chris Johnson.… Titans LB Akeem Ayers had a Henne pass slip through his hands on a third-and-3 late in the first quarter. Ayers had a clear path for a pick-6 if he made the interception. Instead, Lewis made an acrobatic catch on the deflection for a first down. The Jaguars took a 14-7 lead five plays later when WR Justin Blackmon scored on a 30-yard slant for a touchdown. Titans DBs Alterraun Verner and Al Afalava both missed tackles on the play. … Tennessee took the lead for good on a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown by Reynaud with 33 seconds left in the second quarter….Reynaud scored again with 13:13 left in the third quarter when he sidestepped to his right to avoid a tackle, cut to his left and raced 81 yards for a touchdown. .... Jaguars DB Mike Harris blocked a Brett Kern punt late in the fourth quarter and returned it 19 yards for a touchdown.
- Titans RB Reynaud: 3 punt returns for 160 yards; 2 TDs
- Titans LB Brown: 2 INT returns for TDs; 1 sack; 3 passes defensed
- Jaguars TE Lewis: 7 receptions for a game-high 103 receiving yards
- Jaguars RB Keith Toston: 17 carries for a game-high 74 rushing yards
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What they said about Brown's two interception returns for touchdowns:
- Brown: "(Henne) stands where he's going to throw the ball. For me, wherever he looked I took a peek. We were just feeling that we had to get one."
- Titans coach Munchak: "I think he grew as the season went on. We have three special linebackers. He's so athletic, he's fast, him and Akeem are very similar that way. I think that's why there's going to be a lot of excitement on this team going into next year."
- Titans DB Jason McCourty on the team's three dropped interceptions before Brown's first touchdown: "I dropped one before that, Zach dropped one and Ayers dropped one. We knew that (Henne) was giving us opportunities, when we got to the sideline I told the D-line that it was on us in the back end."
- Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey: "It's one thing to throw an interception but to thrown an interception for a touchdown that's a huge momentum changer. Statistically, you have no way of winnning those games, especially when you do it more than once."
- Jaguars QB Henne: "He (Brown) just made a good play on the ball. On the Marcedes one he made a great play and on the other one I tried to give it to Justin on the cross which was open. I got hit while I threw it and the ball sailed on me."
Numbers you should know: Titans -- Reynaud tied an NFL record for punt returns for a touchdown in a game with two. The record is shared by 12 other players in NFL history. Dolphins RB Reggie Bush is the last player to accomplish the feat when he had two returns for touchdowns against the Vikings in 2008 as a member of the Saints. Brown became the 27th player in NFL history to score two touchdowns on interceptions in a game. No player in league history has more than two. The last time it occurred was in October of 2010 when Browns LB David Bowens had two vs. the Saints. Jaguars -- Although Jacksonville's top four running backs were out, the Jaguars ran the ball effectively before the game got out of hand in the third quarter. Jacksonville finished with 122 rushing yards on 23 carries. Entering Sunday's game, the Jaguars ranked 30th in the league in rushing offense (83.1 yards per game). After surrendering seven sacks to the Titans on Nov. 25, the Jaguars allowed seven sacks again on Sunday. Jacksonville has now allowed a sack in 44 straight games, the most in the league.
Injury update: Titans -- WR Kenny Britt suffered a left shoulder injury late in the third quarter but returned to the game several plays later. Johnson tweaked his right ankle late in the game, but the injury appears to be minor. Jaguars -- Jacksonville didn't suffer any significant injuries.
Going forward: Both teams were eliminated from playoff contention several weeks ago. The Jaguars are guaranteed to pick no later than second overall in the first round of April's NFL Draft. If the season ended before Sunday's games, the Titans would have received the No. 8 overall selection. The Titans will likely drop several spots after the win.
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Tennessee Titans, follow Matt Rybaltowski @CBSTitans.