The Tennessee Titans’ defense was the tone-setter in Sunday’s Week 14 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, forcing an astounding four turnovers en route to earning their first home shutout in 21 years (the final game of the 2000 season).
Tennessee’s defense flustered Jaguars rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence early and often, and it led to an incredibly difficult day at the office for Lawrence. The former Clemson quarterback finished just 24-of-40 for 221 passing yards and four interceptions.
In fact, Jacksonville gained just 192 total yards of offense on the day.
“It’s the first shutout we’ve had at home since 2000,” Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said. “That’s certainly something that they [the defense] all wanted. There were guys who finished off that game for us that haven’t had much of a chance to play this season. It was good to see those guys out there, contributing and being excited.”
The four turnovers were largely created by a plethora of either returning faces or newcomers. Veteran cornerback Buster Skrine was signed just three weeks ago due to mounting injuries in the secondary and recorded his first interception as a Titan. Vrabel took notice.
“Skrine has been a consummate professional since he arrived,” Vrabel said. “He’s been a great addition for us.”
Linebacker Rashaan Evans returned to the lineup after a six-week absence and hit the ground running. Evans made an excellent run stop in the first half, and would later flash some excellent hand-eye coordination skills by intercepting a Lawrence pass that went through the hands of Laviska Shenault Jr. Fellow inside linebacker Jayon Brown recorded a nifty interception of his own. It was nice to see him force a turnover after a slew of underwhelming performances in recent weeks. With Zach Cunningham coming in, and with David Long Jr. getting healthy, the Titans have an interesting inside linebacker room. It’ll be worth monitoring how they handle that going forward.
With the Titans’ offense slowly but surely able to add points on their side of the scoreboard — the rest of Sunday’s game for Tennessee’s defense was all about befuddling Lawrence and Jacksonville’s offense as a whole. Tennessee played a clean yet unspectacular game offensively, but it was more than enough to get the job done.
With Tennessee’s defensive line winning the line of scrimmage consistently, and with their secondary making life difficult for Lawrence, the Jaguars would convert just five first downs, and had just 184 net yards passing at the conclusion of the contest. They added several more quarterback hits and pressures as a unit. Landry now has a career-high 11 sacks on the year.
Tennessee (9-4) should feel good about themselves as they prepare to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers next week. Stay tuned to MCM for all updates ahead of that one.