ReFo: Titans @ Jaguars, Wk 16
In a late-season encounter that few were looking forward to with great anticipation it was the Jacksonville Jaguars who overcame a double-digit deficit to lift themselves out of the basement of the AFC South at the expense of the Tennessee Titans.
The loss gives the Titans better positioning for a higher draft pick, but after a smooth opening drive that saw them wind off half of the opening stanza to take a 7-0 lead it seemed like they might have been destined to snap an eight-game losing streak. Instead, the Titans have only one game left to avoid becoming the second AFC South team in as many years to finish the season with losing streak in the double digits.
Tennessee Titans – Performances of Note
Charlie Whitehurst, QB: +3.7
Breakdown: The Titans are all about the future at this point and have rightly tried to give reps to their younger quarterbacks ahead of Whitehurst, but with Zach Mettenberger and Jake Locker injured they got their best quarterback from this season back under center last night. Whitehurst was on point last night, particularly on downfield throws, and has shown when given the chance this season why he has hung around the NFL so long as a backup in spite of limited opportunities between the white lines.
Signature Stat: Whitehurst has the highest grade of the Titans’ three quarterbacks on passes aimed 10+ yards downfield this season (+9.0, compared to +0.7 for Mettenberger and -4.2 for Locker) going 10-of-28 for 322 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Chance Warmack, RG: +1.7
Breakdown: Projected to come in and immediately be one of the best guards in the league it hasn’t been quite such a smooth transition for Warmack in his first two seasons but he is in the best run of form of his career at present. Since surrendering five pressures (1 Ht, 4 Hu) in Baltimore in Week 10 Warmack has graded above +1.0 overall every week; grading positively as a run blocker each week and surrendering only five hurries in six games.
Signature Stat: His +12.8 overall grade since Week 11 is second among guards to only Evan Mathis’ +15.0; a pair of former Alabama guards topping the league on form.
Michael Griffin, S: -3.9
Breakdown: Since he entered the league in 2007 Griffin has struggled to string together good seasons, fluctuating between good and bad on an almost year by year basis. After a strong season in 2013, limiting his missed tackles, 2014 has been a poor year for Griffin with last night’s missed-tackle-strewn performance symptomatic of his down seasons including the first miss on Jordan Todman’s long touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Signature Stat: Last night marked the fourth time this season, and the eleventh time in Griffin’s career, that he has missed at least three tackles in a single game.
Jacksonville Jaguars – Performances of Note
Telvin Smith, LB: +1.8
Breakdown: An active performance from Smith who tied a career high (set Week 12 in Indianapolis) with eight defensive stops last night, five of them coming in run defense as he helped limit Bishop Sankey to little more than 3 yards per attempt. His eight stops took his season total to 46, third most among rookies behind only C.J. Mosley (56) and Chris Borland (54).
Signature Play: Netted a third-down stop at Q3 5.03, driving inside Chance Warmack to take down Leon Washington for a 2-yard loss, forcing a Brett Kern punt.
Chris Clemons, DE: +1.1
Breakdown: The Titans have a lengthy injury list at tackle and Clemons took advantage of that last night in one of his better displays in his first season with the Jags. Jamon Meredith has only been with the Titans 10 days — and was playing at his second different position in five days — and struggled to cope with Clemons’ speed off the edge while Byron Stingily surrendered a pressure to Clemons, missing a cut block on him, late in the first quarter.
Signature Play: It was Clemons who set up Sen’Derrick Marks’ game-clinching sack, beating Meredith to flush Charlie Whitehurst wide, giving Marks the angle to beat Chris Spencer and end the game.
Jordan Todman, RB: +1.7
Breakdown: Both teams had solid moments and periods of control on both sides of the ball in this game, but it was the spark Todman provided in the fourth quarter that ultimately proved the difference. Only up to 25 carries for the season Todman has struggled to carve a consistent niche in the backfield for the Jaguars this season but that run just might earn him a couple more touches in the season finale in Houston.
Signature Play: The play design, with a fake end around after the handoff to Todman, played its part taking the attention of two Titans’ defenders and Todman did the rest beating both Tennessee safeties to breakaway upfield for the decisive score at Q4 9.24.
PFF Game Ball
They are overused terms, but Telvin Smith really did seem to be “all over the field” and “in on everything” last night with his efforts in run defense playing a telling part in limiting the Titans’ ground attack.
Follow Ben on Twitter: @PFF_Ben