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After placing second year quarterback Blaine Gabbert on injured reserve earlier in the week, the 1-9 Jacksonville Jaguars finally experienced a change in fortune.
Backup Chad Henne hadn’t started a game in more than a calendar year, but in the end he gave the team and its fans a reason to smile on Sunday, as he led the Jags and their 29th ranked scoring offense to their first home win of the season, a 24-19 victory over the Tennessee Titans (4-7).
“Hopefully this builds confidence for everybody throughout these next five games, builds new life,” said Henne, who threw for 261 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Henne provided a spark off the bench last week in Houston when he replaced the injured Gabbert and finished against with 354 passing yards and four touchdowns against an elite Texans defense. The Jaguars went on to lose a tough one in overtime, 43-37, but Henne helped them put up a valiant effort against a team that was 8-1 at the time and has established itself as one of the league’s powerhouses.
After Jake Locker’s six yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kenny Britt cut Jacksonville’s lead to 21-19 with 4:52 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Jaguars quickly went three and out and punted the ball right back to the Titans. Jaguars safety Dwight Lowery came up huge on the second play of the possession, intercepting Locker on a tipped ball at the Jacksonville 43 yard line with just under three minutes left to go.
For Lowery, who was sidelined the previous five games, it was his first pick of the season.
“It was nice to get a timely play that put us in position to win,” said linebacker Russell Allen, who assisted Lowery on the interception with the deflection. “It’s something we pride ourselves on: If we’re a position to win with our defense on the field, that’s right where we want to be. Today we were able to put it away.”
Locker had 261 yards through the air, two interceptions and one touchdown.
Five rushes by running back Rashad Jennings allowed kicker Josh Scobee to knock through a 41 yard field goal with only 24 seconds left, extending the Jags lead to 24-19 and virtually ending the game.
The defense forced another takeaway when cornerback Mike Harris then intercepted Locker at the Jaguars 42 to seal the team’s first home win since 2011.
Jacksonville never trailed after falling behind 3-0 on the game’s opening possession. Jennings’ one yard touchdown run late in the first put the Jaguars ahead 7-3. Cecil Shorts’ 59 yard touchdown reception added to the advantage at 14-6 at the 8:40 mark of the third quarter. Justin Blackmon’s seven yard touchdown catch kept it a two possession game, 21-12, a little more than halfway through the fourth.
“It’s good to have something good happen, really good,” said Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey. “They needed that. A lot of people needed that. It was well earned.”
Image Courtesy : Jacksonville Jaguars