Titans 18

(4-6, 3-2 away)

Jaguars 15

(6-4, 3-2 home)

1:00 PM ET, November 21, 2004


1 2 3 4 T
TEN 3 7 0 818
JAX 0 6 7 215

QB finishes with 209 yards after 2-game layoff

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- Steve McNair helped the Tennessee Titans overcome even more injuries.

McNair threw a touchdown pass and directed two other scoring drives as the injury-plagued Titans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 18-15 on Sunday.

The Titans won without running back Chris Brown, who missed the game with turf toe. They won with two rookies starting at defensive tackle. And they won with defensive back Justin Sandy, signed from the practice squad this week, being forced into action.

"This is one we snuck away with," coach Jeff Fisher said.

The Titans won for just the second time in seven weeks thanks mostly to McNair, who finished 18-of-30 for 209 yards despite showing some signs of rust.

"I wasn't as sharp as I normally am, but that's typical when you sit out as long as I did," McNair said.

Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen Does anyone in the league mean more to his team than McNair? McNair has become doubly important to this team with the offseason departures of Eddie George and Jevon Kearse. Both were solid, emotional team leaders whereas McNair led by example. Now McNair has to lead them by playing through injury as he's done in years past, but he also has to do the rah-rah stuff that used to fall to other players. Because this team is so different when he's not on the field, he's become as important to the Titans as Michael Vick is to the Atlanta Falcons.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders. He's a regular contributor to Insider.

The reigning league co-MVP was back in the starting lineup for the first time in a month. He bruised his chest Sept. 26 against Jacksonville and re-aggravated the injury a month later against Minnesota. He missed the last two games.

He was off at times but came through with the game on the line in the fourth quarter.

McNair underthrew Drew Bennett several times deep, was picked off twice and was sacked three times -- including once for a safety with about nine minutes to play. The safety gave the Jaguars (6-4) a 15-10 lead.

Josh Scobee missed a 44-yard field-goal attempt on the next possession that would have put the Jags up eight points. It turned out to be costly.

McNair led a 59-yard touchdown drive in 37 seconds that put the Titans (4-6) ahead 16-15. He connected with Erron Kinney for 30 yards on fourth-and-1. Then Antowain Smith, starting in place of Brown, scored from 1 yard out. McNair ran for the two-point conversion.

Smith finished with 95 yards rushing in his first start of the season. He entered the game with 88 yards on 26 carries.

"He had been in the garage, but we let the four-wheel drive out of the garage," Kinney said.

The Jaguars got the ball back in the closing seconds, but Rich Gardner intercepted David Garrard with 17 seconds left to seal the victory.

McNair's comeback may have spoiled any chance the Jaguars had of winning the AFC South, especially with the way Indianapolis is playing.

But the Jags should get quarterback Byron Leftwich back next week at Minnesota. Leftwich missed the last two games with a sprained left knee.

Garrard, his replacement, played well again but didn't make many plays against Tennessee's banged-up defense.

Garrard ran for a touchdown and directed two other scoring drives. He finished 13-of-27 for 129 yards and added 34 on the ground. The late interception was his first turnover in two starts.

Fred Taylor ran for 103 yards, his second straight 100-yard performance and third in the last four games.

But Jacksonville's defense, coming off a dominating outing against the Lions, wasn't nearly as good against the Titans. The unit allowed 295 total yards.

"They weren't anywhere near the type of talented team that they usually are, which is what makes this all the more sickening," Taylor said. "No way in hell are we supposed to lose that game to that team."

Especially considering Tennessee's injury situation.

The Titans were without seven regular starters, including Brown, left tackle Brad Hopkins (hand), defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (elbow) and linebacker Rocky Boiman (leg). They were also without safeties Lance Schulters (foot) and Tank Williams (knee).

"We knew they would come out fired up because they were like a wounded dog -- if you stick your hand out to try to pet it, you will get bitten," Garrard said.

Making matters worse, cornerbacks Samari Rolle and Andre Woolfolk and safety Scott McGarrahan got nicked up and left the game. Those injuries forced Sandy into action.

"This was a big win for this football team considering what they have been through and the things they have had to overcome," Fisher said.

Game notes

The Titans have allowed a safety in consecutive weeks. Chicago recorded one in overtime last week that gave the Bears a 19-17 win. ... Garrard has three career rushing touchdowns, all against Tennessee. He had two rushing TDs against the Titans in 2002. ... Garrard's interception snapped a streak of 163 consecutive passes by the Jaguars at home without an interception.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Scoring Summary

jaxSF9:17Tennessee safety.
Drive info: 3 plays, -3 yds, 0:42
Drive info: 6 plays, 80 yds, 3:14
tenFG1:10Gary Anderson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 13 yds, 2:22
Drive info: 6 plays, 80 yds, 3:14
tenTD3:34Antowain Smith, 2 yd run(Steve McNair run for 2pt conversion)
Drive info: 6 plays, 59 yds, 0:37
jaxTD1:06David Garrard, 5 yd run
Drive info: 10 plays, 64 yds, 4:56
Drive info: 10 plays, 64 yds, 4:56
jaxFG1:11Josh Scobee 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 35 yds, 5:30
jaxFG10:19Josh Scobee 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 14 plays, 72 yds, 5:33