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Titans Control Jaguars

October 27, 2003|From Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The outcome had long been decided. The humiliation was just beginning.

The Tennessee Titans capped a 30-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday with a brutish 11-minute, 17-play drive that triggered the first significant meltdown of Jaguar Coach Jack Del Rio's young career.

"What I saw, I won't stand for here," Del Rio said.

Eddie George ran for 41 of his 88 yards during the drive, which yielded a field goal by Gary Anderson and helped the Titans (6-2) reach the 30-point mark for the fifth straight game, tying a franchise record set in 1961 -- the old, high-flying AFL days -- when the team was the Houston Oilers.

Steve McNair completed 21 of 27 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown, and Tennessee's defense made big plays to set up two touchdowns.

The Titans beat the Jaguars (1-6) for the eighth time in the last 10 games, and set themselves up as a legitimate playoff contender as they reach their bye week.

"When you take 11 minutes off the clock in the fourth quarter, you're doing a great job of running the football," said McNair, who came in as the AFC's highest-rated passer. "The guys buckled down today and realized that we needed to get something established other than just pinning back our ears and throwing it."

Indeed, it was the final, devastating drive that had both locker rooms talking after the game -- a sequence that began after the majority of the 55,918 fans headed for the parking lots with the Jaguars trailing 27-10.

"I don't know if I'd say we quit," Del Rio said. "I'd say we left every ounce of technique we've learned somewhere else. We're going to identify the guys who aren't getting it done and find guys who can, because that's embarrassing."

There was nothing tricky about the final 65-yard drive. The Titans ran 15 times and passed once. Anderson contributed the final insult when his 33-yard field-goal attempt clanked off the left upright and through for a 30-10 lead with 1:47 left.

"They knew what was coming and we were still able to run it," Titan tight end Frank Wycheck said. "That's a great sign for us heading into the second half."

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