Greene's punt return helps Jaguars beat Titans 19-13

Friday, November 20, 2015, Vol. 39, No. 47

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Rashad Greene fielded the line-drive punt, weaved through a few defenders, broke into the open field and nearly scored.

It was the big play the Jacksonville Jaguars needed to beat Tennessee. It was the key moment they had to have to gain ground in the muddled AFC South.

It came from a rookie, a guy who missed the previous seven games with a torn ligament in his left thumb.

And it made those mustard uniforms, at least for a second, look much more like gold.

"I just needed that ball and he gave it to me the way I wanted it," Greene said.

Greene returned the punt 63 yards, setting up Blake Bortles' 5-yard touchdown pass to Julius Thomas with 3:30 remaining, and the Jaguars held on to beat the Titans 19-13 on Thursday night.

"We've been in these one-possession games all season," coach Gus Bradley said. "Fortunately, we came out on the good end."

The Jaguars (4-6) won consecutive games for the first time since December 2013 and put themselves squarely in the hunt in the division race. They have won three of four.

The Titans (2-8) lost for the eighth time in nine games and spoiled interim coach Mike Mularkey's return to Jacksonville. Mularkey was fired after one season with the Jaguars, a 2-14 campaign in 2012.

For much of the night it looked as if Mularkey would celebrate a rare win in Jacksonville.

But Greene flipped the script. Bortles hooked up with Thomas on the next play, putting Jacksonville ahead 16-13. It was an easy call for Bortles, who noticed linebacker Derrick Morgan lined up across from Thomas before the snap.

"One on one with really a defensive end," Bortles said. "That's kind of a mismatch."

Titans tight end Phillip Supernaw fumbled on the ensuing possession, leading to Jason Myers' fourth field goal of the night and a six-point lead with 2:19 remaining.

"My fault on that play," Supernaw said. "My ball security wasn't as good as it should have been."

Tennessee had one final chance and advanced to the 23 with 5 seconds remaining. But Andre Branch sacked Marcus Mariota on the final play. Branch did his usual windmill dance as he was mobbed by teammates.

"We don't have any quitters," Jaguars cornerback Aaron Colvin said. "We all believe that we can win any game. Any time it may look like we're out to the public eye, to the naked eye, we feel deep down that we can win the game. We have playmakers that are starting to make plays in crucial situations and you can see it each and every game."

Here are more things to know about the game:

DIVISION RACE: The Jaguars closed in on co-division leaders Houston and Indianapolis, both 4-5, and have the easiest remaining schedule of any team in the NFL. Jacksonville also has three of its next four at home. Potentially helping Jacksonville's chances, the Texans likely will be without quarterback Brian Hoyer at least this week and the Colts could be without quarterback Andrew Luck for multiple games. "We all know the situation with our division and we all know that it's wide open," Colvin said. "Any team can win it."

YOUNG QBS: Mariota and Bortles showed why they're considered two of the league's top young quarterbacks. Mariota completed 22 of 35 passes for 231 yards. He also ran for a 23-yard score that put the Titans ahead 13-9 late in the third. Bortles, who left the sideline briefly in the fourth to be treated for dehydration, completed 21 of 30 passes for 242 yards. He extended his TD streak to 10 consecutive games.

STREAK ENDS: Jaguars receiver Allen Hurns had his seven-game touchdown streak come to an end. It was the longest streak in franchise history and the longest current streak in the league. Hurns, who played through a foot injury and a sports hernia, caught three passes for 19 yards.

ORAKPO SHINES: Titans linebacker Brian Orakpo finished with a sack, a forced fumble and a pass defense. He has at least one sack in four consecutive games.

MISSED OPPORTUNITIES: The Jaguars scored one touchdown in five trips inside the 20-yard line. Throw in Bortles' interception from the Tennessee 23, and the Jags were downright awful in and near the red zone. The lone bright spot was that Myers kicked a career-high four field goals.