NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans got a much-needed victory by sticking with what they used to do best.
|Eddie George celebrates his fourth-quarter touchdown as the Titans stop the Jaguars.(AP)|
"He has confidence going in every week that he's going to make a difference, and this week, he did. Eddie George is fine," Fisher said.
Jacksonville coach Tom Coughlin said they never doubted the Titans would run with George. The Jags just couldn't stop him.
"I don't think we need to ask any more questions about Eddie George," he said.
The Jaguars (3-2) had won three straight and were tied for the AFC South lead. But the Titans won for the first time since their opener by beating Jacksonville for the seventh time in their last nine meetings.
"This is a win we need to get on the right track, and the players deserve all the credit for this, because they responded this week and got themselves ready under difficult circumstances," Fisher said.
Tennessee knocked out a starting quarterback in the first quarter for a second straight game and faced a rookie the rest of the way.
This time, it was Jacksonville's Mark Brunell, the NFL's second-rated passer, who suffered a concussion after being hit at the sideline by Titans cornerback Samari Rolle on the first series. Brunell played one more series before leaving, and rookie David Garrard replaced him.
Unlike Patrick Ramsey, who rallied Washington to victory last week with 21 successive points, the fourth-round draft pick could not pass on the Titans.
The Titans, with one of the league's worst defenses, held Jacksonville to just 77 yards in the first half and a season-low 198 yards, 68 passing. Kevin Carter had two of their three sacks, and the Titans intercepted Garrard twice. He was 4-of-7 for 53 yards and had seven rushes for 71 yards.
Not even Fred Taylor, who topped 100 yards in three of his past four games against the Titans, helped. He carried 19 times for 59 yards.
Tennessee looked like the team that won 26 games in 1999 and 2000, opening the game with an 80-yard touchdown drive, then getting three field goals in the second quarter for a 16-7 halftime lead.
The Titans played keepaway in holding the ball for more than 37 minutes and rolling up 370 yards offense. Joe Nedney, who hadn't had a field goal in the past three games, scored on kicks of 40, 26 and 33 yards.
They looked ready to blow a lead yet again as Garrard scored his second TD, pulling the Jaguars within 16-14. But the Titans responded, going 68 yards in 14 plays. George capped the drive by scoring from the 1 on fourth down. He had 31 carries and caught three passes for 27 yards.
Lance Schulters' interception at the Tennessee 6 with 3:37 left sealed the victory.
Steve McNair completed his first six passes, including an 8-yard TD to George at the right edge of the end zone for a 7-0 lead. He threw for 226 yards and ran for 22 more.
But it was George who provided the boost the Titans have been lacking.
He carried six times on that first drive for 28 yards, and he had 64 yards on 14 carries by halftime in a season where his previous best had been 65 yards for a game. Fans who booed him last week when he took handoffs that went nowhere chanted his name and gave the Titans a standing ovation as they ran out the clock.
"By no means are we out of the woods and we're back now," George said. "We have to continue to build, and this is something to build on."
Garrard couldn't have started off worse. Andre Dyson intercepted Garrard's first pass on his third play, but the Titans could only manage a field goal that made it 13-0.
- George had not topped 100 yards since the 15th game of last season, his only such performance of 2001. It was the 31st such game of his career.
- Jaguars RT Maurice Williams broke his right leg in the first half.
- McNair now has a TD pass in 19 consecutive games, second in franchise history to Warren Moon's 21 in 1990-91.
- Fisher has the edge in this series 8-7 over Coughlin.
- The Jaguars have yet to win in four visits to The Coliseum.
The Associated Press News Service
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