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TENNESSEE 24, JACKSONVILLE 17

Defense earns points

December 18, 2006|From the Associated Press

NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Titans found three more ways to keep their magical ride alive.

The 24 points in 10 minutes to beat the New York Giants? Stunning. A 60-yard field goal to beat Indianapolis? Historic. Vince Young's 39-yard touchdown run in overtime at Houston? Impressive.

On Sunday, Young and the offense couldn't move the ball against Jacksonville. So the Titans' defense beat up David Garrard and returned turnovers 83, 92 and 61 yards for touchdowns and beat the Jaguars, 24-17, for their fifth consecutive victory.

Credit a franchise-record three defensive touchdowns and a team-record 370 yards of returns.

"I was just thinking, 'Don't get caught,' " rookie Cortland Finnegan said of his 92-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

Adam "Pacman" Jones returned an interception 83 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.

The Titans broke open a 10-10 game in the third quarter, despite the Jaguars' (8-6) running 32 consecutive offensive plays -- not counting a penalty that nullified a 33rd. Finnegan picked up Garrard's fumble and returned it for the go-ahead touchdown with 4 minutes 51 seconds left in the third quarter. Six plays later, safety Chris Hope picked off a pass and ran 61 yards up the left sideline for a 24-10 lead.

"To have to play that number of plays against them consecutively, I've got to take my hat off to our defensive guys," Coach Jeff Fisher said. "A valiant effort to be on the field that long, and you've got to give the defense credit for this win."

Tennessee (7-7) won for the seventh time in nine games, keeping its faint playoff hopes alive.

Coach Jack Del Rio said his team played well except for the turnovers.

"It's the great neutralizer," he said.

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