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Defensive Newcomers Help Jacksonville Jaguars Top Tennessee Titans 16-14 in Season Opener

September 11th, 2011 at 5:22 PM
By Brendan Sonnone

A stingy defense led by a group of newly-acquired players propelled the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) to a 16-14 victory versus the Tennessee Titans (0-1) on Sunday afternoon in the season opener.

Jacksonville received major contributions from linebacker Paul Posluszny, defensive end Matt Roth, cornerback Drew Coleman and safety Dawan Landry. All of them were brought in this offseason to upgrade a defense that ranked in the bottom 10 of the NFL in most significant statistical categories. 
The investment to the defensive side of the ball immediately paid off as the Jaguars allowed 292 yards, including just 43 yards on the gain, but it was the Jaguars’ most recent acquisition that made the biggest play of the game.
Safety Dwight Lowery, who was added a to the roster a week ago through a trade with the New York Jets, logged the game-sealing interception for the Jaguars with 16 seconds left in the game. 
The Titans were on their own 46-yard line with 23 seconds left and had to gain around 25 more yards to give kicker Rob Bironas a chance to make what would have been a game-winning field goal. But Tennessee quarterback Matt Hasselbeck took a shot down field and Lowery was able to come down with the errant throw.
Jacksonville’s other new comers also stepped up. Landry led the team with eight tackles while Posluszny had four stops and played a big role in keeping Tennessee’s Chris Johnson to just 24 yards rushing.
Coleman and Roth each logged a sack. 
The Jaguars’ defense was stellar throughout the contest, as Tennessee only established one long drive that resulted in a score. The Titans drove the ball into the red zone and Hasselbeck lobbed a pass over cornerback Rashean Mathis to receiver Kenny Britt for a two-yard score with 3:40 left in the game. That put the score at 16-14.
Britt had the Titans’ only other score of the game. That came in the third quarter on a fluke play when Hasselbeck was under duress and flipped the ball in the air to avoid a sack. Britt was able to catch the flippant throw, broke an arm tackle from Clint Session and turned up field for an easy 80-yard score.
Other than that though the Titans weren’t able to move the chains. That was in large part due to Jacksonville’s ball-control offense, which possessed the ball for 39:38. 
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who ran for 97 yards on 24 carries in his first regular season game since he tore his meniscus last year, scored the Jaguars’ lone touchdown in the first quarter on a 21-yard run.
The rest of Jacksonville’s scores came off of Josh Scobee field goals. Scobee made 48 and 21-yard field goals before making a 45-yarder in the fourth quarter.
Starting quarterback Luke McCown also played a big role in Jacksonville's control-the-clock strategy. He was 17-of-24 for 175 yards. While those weren't flashy numbers, McCown managed to control the tempo of the game and really didn't put the team's improving defense in bad positions.  
Tags: Chris Johnson, Dwight Lowery, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Jaguars, Luke McCown, Matt Hasselbeck, Maurice-Jones Drew, NFL, Tennessee Titans

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