Jaguars vs. Titans score, takeaways: Josh Allen's late fumble return for TD helps Jacksonville win AFC South

The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Tennessee Titans in a win-and-you're-in AFC South showdown Saturday night, 20-16, and punched their ticket to the postseason for the first time since 2017. The Jaguars are the first team since the 2013 Kansas City Chiefs to reach the postseason after selecting No. 1 overall in the draft, and are the first team since the 2008 Miami Dolphins to win their division the season after posting the league's worst record.

This matchup came down to the fourth quarter, as Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins stripped Titans quarterback Joshua Dobbs from behind, and Josh Allen picked up the loose ball and ran it back 37 yards for the game-winning score with 2:51 remaining in the fourth quarter. It was part of a 13-3 second-half run which eventually earned Jacksonville the division crown.

Trevor Lawrence completed 20 of 32 passes for 212 yards and one touchdown, while Christian Kirk was his leading receiver with 99 yards and a touchdown on six catches. The run game was virtually nonexistent, as Travis Etienne rushed for 17 yards on seven carries. 

Dobbs completed 20 of 29 passes for 179 yards, one touchdown and one interception in his second career start. Derrick Henry was again Tennessee's main weapon on offense, as he rushed for 109 yards on 30 carries. Ultimately, Tennessee's offense just couldn't do enough. 

Let's take a look at what went down in Jacksonville on Saturday night. 

Why the Jaguars won

Week 18 wasn't a perfect outing for the Jaguars, there's no doubt about it. But Jacksonville got the W, and that's all that matters. Lawrence and the offense flashed at times, but the game-winning touchdown came from the defense, which played out of their minds in the second half.

In the final two quarters, the Jacksonville pass rush upped the ante against Tennessee's offensive line, and held Dobbs to just 65 yards passing, and Henry to just 38 rushing yards. 

The Titans put together a 10-play, 45-yard drive on their first possession of the third quarter, but their remaining drives went like this: Interception, three-and-out, three-and-out, fumble that was returned for a touchdown and then turnover on downs. Ultimately, this defense gutted out a win in what was a very close game, and this is a good sign for the Jaguars as they prepare for the playoffs. 

Why the Titans lost

Titans fans have unfortunately seen this movie before. Tennessee worked to earn a lead at the halftime break, but then the offense went flat in the second half. The Titans scored just three total points in the final two quarters. 

Entering this matchup, Tennessee had a -95 point differential in the second half this season, which ranked worst in the NFL. That statistic proved to be an accurate representation of what this offense is. Coming into this matchup, the Titans averaged just 5.7 points per game in the second half. It's the fewest by any team since the 2014 San Francisco 49ers. The Titans finish the 2022 season having not scored 28 points in a single game. It turns out not scoring many points hurts your team, as only five teams since the merger were able to reach the playoffs without scoring 28 or more points in a game. 

While it's easy to criticize the Titans offense, they were starting a practice-squad quarterback who had been with the team for just a few weeks, and was playing behind an offensive line that had three of their best players on injured reserve. The adversity was too much to overcome this season, as Tennessee ends the 2022 campaign with a seven-game losing streak. 

Turning point/Play of the game

Down three points with time winding down in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars defense needed to make a stop. They did more than that, as defensive back Rayshawn Jenkins came flying around the left side and hit Dobbs from behind, knocking the ball loose at the very last moment. 

Josh Allen picked up the ball, and ran it 37 yards in the other direction for the game-winning touchdown. 

Another Derrick Henry stiff arm

Henry's stiff arms have become a thing of legend, and he recorded another violent throw-down in the first half against the game's eventual hero, Jenkins. The Jaguars safety came in ready to aggressively swipe at the ball, but ended up being flung to the ground. 

What's next

The Jaguars will watch Sunday's action and await the eventual No. 5 seed. Either the Los Angeles Chargers or Baltimore Ravens will travel to Jacksonville for the wild card round. As for the Titans, they return to Nashville, and will turn their attention to 2023. 

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Titans manage just 31 yards on seven plays, and fail to convert the fourth-and-13. Titans have just one timeout. This one looks over! 


Jacksonville is ROCKING. Jenkins strips Joshua Dobbs from behind, and Josh Allen recovers and returns it 37 yards for the score! 20-16 Jaguars with 2:51 remaining! 


Titans pick up their second first down of the drive. Ball is moving, but Tennessee just at their own 30. Keep an eye on the clock. 


Titans defense yet again comes up huge with a three and out. Lawrence had Marvin Jones open down the right sideline, but threw it out of bounds. Once again had pressure on him. 


Travon Walker playing out of his mind tonight. Played the run so beautifully on that first down. Now Titans have to punt from inside their own 10. 


Titans fans are probably wondering how many more stands this defense has in them. Rashad Weaver with a clutch batted pass. Three and out. 

I'm expecting more Henry touches here, but maybe get him out in space. Screen pass, shotgun toss. Stuff like that. 


The momentum is shifting in favor of the Jaguars! A three and out for the Titans as Dobbs is sacked on third down. Jaguars defense standing up, but the offense needs to answer with points here. 


Titans defense has been playing out of their minds at points tonight. I think Trevor Lawrence underthrew Kirk a bit on that third down, but he was being pressured -- no doubt about it. Riley Patterson is good from 36 yards out. 16-13 Titans with 14:49 remaining. 


A draw on second-and-16 is waving the white flag. Hate that play call. 


Titans defense with a big stand on third-and-10. Jaguars ran the ball just once on that five-play possession. Jags punt for just the second time all game! 


Christian Kirk is up to 99 yards receiving and one TD on 6 catches tonight. He's been balling on this Tennessee secondary. 


Titans drive stalls just outside the red zone. Tennessee went 45 yards on 10 plays, and Randy Bullock converts his third field goal of the night -- this one from 41 yards out. 16-10 Titans with 6:02 remaining in the third quarter. Titans are 4-10 on third downs. 


Trevor Lawrence misses a wide open Zay Jones in the end zone on third and what was virtually goal. Jags have to settle for a 26-yard field goal to cut the lead to three points. I mean, we are only in the third quarter, but let's hope that's not a play we come back to when the final whistle blows. 

12 plays, 64 yards, 13-10 Titans over Jaguars


Trevor Lawrence is slicing and dicing on this possession. 61 yards on 9 plays and Jaguars are right outside the 10-yard line. Run game be damned, this is way more fun and effective. 


Jaguars are now across the 50 on their first possession of the second half. 


You can tell Mike Vrabel has T.O.P. on his mind. It was pivotal in the first half, and will be even more so in the second. 


HALFTIME: Titans 13, Jaguars 7

First downs: TEN 11 JAX 8
Total yards: TEN 196 JAX 114
Third downs: TEN 3-8 JAX 3-4
Penalties: TEN 4-25 yds JAX 2-9 yds
TOP: TEN 17:58 JAX 12:02

Joshua Dobbs 12/15 114 yards, 1 TD
Trevor Lawrence 11/13 98 yards, 1 TD

Derrick Henry 17 carries for 71 yards
Travis Etienne 4 carries 14 yards

Christian Kirk 4 receptions for 50 yards and 1 TD


Josh Dobbs now rushes for a first down! Tennessee in enemy territory with 1:05 remaining in the first half. 


Foye Oluokun is getting torched in the secondary tonight. Gave up a touchdown, and then a third-and-8 completion in man coverage. 


That's how you respond. The Jaguars used great field position which came from a 54-yard kick return from Agnew, and Trevor Lawrence hit Christian Kirk for a 25-yard touchdown six plays into the drive. 

Lawrence had time to throw, and Kirk was wide open -- crossing the field from right to left. I'm not sure why the Jaguars would want to pass the ball again this matchup, as Tennessee's secondary is struggling. Lean on your big three of Engram, Jones and Kirk. 


Touchdown Titans. Dobbs hits rookie TE Chig Okonkwo for a 21-yard touchdown down the left sideline. That was good stuff. 7-play, 69-yard drive, and the Titans lead 10-0. 


Derrick Henry has been huge in the screen game this year. Just went for 19 yards to the 50. Titans have the momentum, but what they really need is points. 

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