Jaguars 31

(7-3, 3-2 away)

Titans 28

(2-8, 1-4 home)

1:00 PM ET, November 20, 2005


1 2 3 4 T
JAX 0 7 14 1031
TEN 0 14 7 728

Top Performers

Passing: B. Leftwich (JAX) - 258 YDS, 3 TD

Rushing: C. Brown (TEN) - 20 CAR, 61 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: J. Smith (JAX) - 5 REC, 89 YDS

Leftwich outduels McNair as Jags move to 7-3

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Tennessee Titans dared Byron Leftwich to beat them. The Jacksonville quarterback responded with a career performance.

It was over when ...
Josh Scobee's 31-yard field goal gave Jacksonville a 31-21 lead with less than two minutes to go. You always need a two-score cushion when playing against Steve McNair.
Game ball goes to ...
Byron Leftwich. Leftwich was 22-of-38 for 258 yards and threw for 3 TDs for the first time in his career. Jacksonville might be a grind-'em-out team, but Leftwich proved they can win through the air as well.
ESPN's take ...
Eric Allen The Jags are handling their business and are winning the games that they should win on paper, which is the sign of maturity that they need. This is a dangerous football team and teams getting ready to play them should be ready for a physical game.
-- Eric Allen

Leftwich threw for three touchdowns Sunday for the first time in his NFL career and ran for a fourth score in the Jaguars' third straight win, 31-28 over Tennessee.

"We have no problem doing that," Leftwich said. "You wish as a quarterback you get dared every week. But I don't look at it as a dare thing or a disrespectful thing. I think that's what they wanted to do."

In the process, Leftwich helped the Jaguars take a big step toward their future by clearing an even larger obstacle from their past.

The Titans (2-8) had dominated this series between the former AFC Central and now AFC South foes, winning six of seven, and 11 of the last 14. They ruined the Jaguars' best season in 1999 a step short of the Super Bowl.

"I think things have turned now," Jaguars receiver Jimmy Smith said.

Only three Jaguars are left from that 1999 team, and they are busy concentrating on their current opportunity. Fred Taylor pointed out he was 30 minutes from the Super Bowl and hadn't been back to the playoffs since.

"If I continued to hold onto that, it probably would've messed up what I'm trying to do now. It's a new team," Taylor said.

This one wasn't as close as the final score, thanks to Leftwich. He shook off a very slow start and helped the Jaguars (7-3) win for the second time in three games in this rivalry -- both in Tennessee.

The Titans left their rookie cornerbacks in man coverage, and Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio credited Leftwich with taking advantage of that.

"Very smart with the ball all day, making good decisions and leading our offense," Del Rio said.

Now, Jacksonville, with two more road games just ahead, is off to its best start since the 1999 season.

Tennessee had one last-gasp attempt after Steve McNair tossed an 8-yard TD pass to Roydell Williams with 10 seconds left. Typical of this season for the Titans, however, Craig Hentrich's onside kick attempt went out of bounds.

"We had no excuses whatsoever," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said. "The bottom line is we were not good enough to win the ballgame."

Leftwich connected on only one of his first 10 passes, and his only completion was a deflection to the left guard. The Jags went three-and-out on their first five possessions.

The Titans sacked Leftwich twice and hit him repeatedly. He even had to leave the game for a play early in the fourth quarter. He returned and connected with Matt Jones two plays later on an 18-yard TD pass that gave Jacksonville its first lead at 28-21.

"Byron made plays," Fisher said. "We put him on his back, and he put the ball up and Matt made the play and we didn't."

Leftwich finished 22-of-38 for 258 yards with TD passes to Kyle Brady and Ernest Wilford.

Jacksonville sacked McNair three times and intercepted him once in handing Tennessee its fifth straight loss.

The Titans last led 21-14 after Kyle Vanden Bosch sacked Leftwich and knocked the ball out of his hand. Antwan Odom picked it up and ran 27 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 7:08 left in the third.

Leftwich needed only three minutes before tying the score again on an 18-yard TD pass to Wilford, who easily beat the shorter Reynaldo Hill in the right corner for the ball.

Taylor started for Jacksonville after being listed as doubtful all week with a badly bruised right ankle that kept him out of last week's victory over Baltimore. He didn't help, as the Jags had minus-2 yards rushing in the first half. He bruised his right thigh on the fumble and didn't play again, finishing with six attempts for minus-8 yards.

Adam "Pacman" Jones, the Titans' top draft pick, had a messy game for Tennessee. He set up the go-ahead touchdown just before halftime with an 85-yard kickoff return. But with the Titans trailing 28-21 with 6 minutes left, Jones failed to catch a Chris Hanson punt, which took a big bounce and went 74 yards.

With the ball at their 1, the Titans went three-and-out.

McNair did toss the 150th TD pass of his career, a 15-yarder to Chris Brown. The running back also scored on a 1-yard run just before halftime.

Game notes

Smith's 24-yard reception in the third quarter gave him 827 for his career and moved him into eighth all-time on the NFL receiving list. ... Jacksonville scored 30 or more points for a second straight game after going 58 games without topping that mark. ... Brown's TD catch was the first of his career.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs2216
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays7054
Total Yards295254
Yards per play4.24.7
Total Drives1313
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-50-3
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

tenTD7:13Chris Brown, 15 yd pass from Steve McNair (Rob Bironas kick is good)
Drive info: 14 plays, 57 yds, 6:15
jaxTD1:14Kyle Brady, 1 yd pass from Byron Leftwich (Josh Scobee kick is good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 72 yds, 5:54
tenTD0:18Chris Brown, 1 yd run (Rob Bironas kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 11 yds, 0:38
jaxTD9:07Byron Leftwich, 2 yd run (Josh Scobee kick is good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 61 yds, 5:46
tenTD7:18Antwan Odom, 27 yd fumble return (Rob Bironas kick is good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 27 yds, 1:33
jaxTD4:08Ernest Wilford, 18 yd pass from Byron Leftwich (Josh Scobee kick is good)
Drive info: 7 plays, 71 yds, 2:47
jaxTD9:28Matt Jones, 7 yd pass from Byron Leftwich (Josh Scobee kick is good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 89 yds, 8:38
jaxFG1:57Josh Scobee 23 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 31 yds, 2:33
tenTD0:18Roydell Williams, 8 yd pass from Steve McNair (Rob Bironas kick is good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 68 yds, 1:28