Titans vs. Jaguars: Kerry Collins Leads Tennessee to Win in Ugly MNF Affair
And the Titans made sure of it from the start.
Tennessee, playing much of the game without starting quarterback Vince Young, took control early and dominated throughout, pulling away quickly from the Jaguars for a dominant 30-3 victory at EverBank Field in Jacksonville Monday.
Young left the game in the first quarter with a sprained knee, after which he was replaced by veteran Kerry Collins. Young did not return.
Jaguars quarterback David Garrard also left the game, sustaining a concussion in the second quarter. He did not return and was replaced by backup Trent Edwards.
However, the night was staged as a battle of running backs, with two of the league's best on display in the Titans' Chris Johnson and the Jaguars' Maurice Jones-Drew. Johnson added a long score late with the game already in hand, giving him a deceptively massive 111-57 rushing yardage edge for the contest.
The victory moved the Titans (4-2) into a first-place tie with Indianapolis and Houston.
Some thoughts on the game:
• The game was defined by injuries to the starting quarterbacks, with Young the first to leave the game. He sustained what seemed at first a serious injury to his left knee, and limped from the field in the first quarter. The injury was later announced as a sprain and Titans coach Jeff Fisher told Michele Tafoya of ESPN it was not believed serious. Fisher told Tafoya that Young could have reentered the game and played in the shotgun if necessary.
• Young initially was seen praying on the sidelines, then was fitted with a brace on the knee. He walked from the field at halftime, and spent the rest of the game standing on the sidelines.
• Collins again proved himself one of the NFL's top backups, and a player who could still be effective as a starter. The 16-year veteran entered the game in place of Young and Tennessee showed little drop-off, pulling away for a 17-0 halftime lead. The offense had moved well with Young and scored a touchdown on the game's first possession. Collins led Tennessee to two more first-half scores.
• Garrard left the game late in the first half with a concussion,. He was hit hard late in the second quarter by Titans linebacker Will Witherspoon.
• Garrard was replaced by Edwards, who started the first two games of the season for Buffalo before being released. He joined the Jaguars shortly after Week 3, and though it had been speculated that he could push Garrard for a starting job, Garrard had just pulled off two sold back-to-back games to solidify his hold in the position.
• Edwards was up-and-down in his first appearance for the Jaguars. He moved Jacksonville's offense efficiently on a late first-half drive that ended with a costly lost fumble by tight end Marcedes Lewis, but he threw an interception to Tennessee cornerback Alterraun Verner at the beginning of the second half that led to a Titans field goal.
• The Titans dominated from the start. Young was efficient early, throwing for 61 yards on a quick 89-yard game-opening scoring drive. Young capped the march with a 23-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kenny Britt.
• Britt continues to develop. After an up-and-down rookie season and training camp, he has touchdown receptions in each of his last four games.
• The Titans didn't register a sack until midway through the third quarter, but that's a misleading statistic. Tennessee's front pressured Jaguars quarterbacks throughout – even before they knocked Garrard from the game.
• Jacksonville did a solid job against Johnson. He had 29 yards on 13 carries midway through the third quarter -- though he would eventually rip off a 35-yard touchdown run near the end to push his total above 100 yards. Young and Collins each were able to pass effectively against a Jaguars defense that has struggled in the secondary at times this season. That duo combined for just over 120 yards through the first two and a half quarters, but each player threw a first-half touchdown pass as the Titans pulled ahead early.
• The Titans controlled the game, but the Jaguars didn't help themselves. They committed four turnovers. A first-half interception thrown by Garrard led to a first-half Tennessee touchdown and a fumble by Lewis late in the first half cost Jacksonville a scoring opportunity. An interception thrown by Edwards then led to a Tennessee field goal early in the second half. A fourth-quarter interception thrown by Edwards ended a 16-play drive with 6:00 remaining -- and any Jaguars chances.
• The Titans did not commit a turnover.