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(Sunday, September 11th)
Final Score: Jacksonville 16, Tennessee 14
Jacksonville, FL (Sports Network) - Maurice Jones-Drew ran for 97 yards and a touchdown as the Jacksonville Jaguars took down the Tennessee Titans, 16-14, in the season opener for both teams.
Luke McCown, making his first start since December 2007 after the sudden release of David Garrard earlier this week, completed 17-of-24 passes for 175 yards for the Jaguars (1-0).
"It's real nice to start the year 1-0," Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said. "We have got a lot of work to do and we have got things that we have to clean up, but it sure was a good victory for us."
Matt Hasselbeck, in his first game as Tennessee's quarterback, went 21-for-34 through the air for 263 yards and two scores, but tossed an interception in the final minute of the game to seal the loss for the Titans (0-1).
Kenny Britt caught five passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns in Mike Munchak's debut as the Titans head coach. Munchak took over when Jeff Fisher was not retained after 17 seasons at the helm.
Chris Johnson, who held out all of the preseason before signing a four-year contract extension worth $53 million -- $30 million guaranteed -- rushed nine times for 24 yards and added six receptions for 25 yards.
Trailing by two, the Titans came up with a defensive stop at their own 47-yard line just after the two-minute warning, but were pinned at their own three on Matt Turk's punt. After making two first downs on short passes, Hasselbeck hit Britt on a post in the middle of the field for an 18-yard gain to their own 46.
Tennessee rushed up to the line and spiked the ball to stop the clock. On the next play, Hasselbeck stepped back and floated a pass down the left sideline. Britt had his man beaten, but the pass sailed toward the middle of the field and Dwight Lowery picked it off to seal the win for Jacksonville.
"That's how the NFL is. We didn't play as well as we hoped, but in the end we actually had a shot to win that thing," said Munchak.
The Jags forced Tennessee into a three-and-out on its first possession, and then took over on their own 37-yard line. Jones-Drew reeled off four straight carries to start the drive and later capped the possession with a 21-yard TD run up the middle.
A Josh Scobee 48-yard field goal finished off a 12-play, 50-yard drive midway through the second quarter that included a 20-yard completion to Marcedes Lewis and an 18-yard pass to Jason Hill, putting the Jaguars ahead 10-0.
After making a goal-line stand at the one-yard line and forcing a Scobee 21- yard field goal near the end of third quarter, Tennessee took over on its own 20-yard line down by 13.
Hasselbeck avoided a sack on the first play of the drive as the pocket collapsed in front of him and flipped a pass to Kenny Britt on the left side of the field. Britt made the grab and raced down the sideline for an 80-yard touchdown. Britt could have been stopped for a minimal gain on the play, but Jaguars safety Courtney Greene whiffed on an attempted big hit as he lowered his shoulder and ran right past the receiver.
Jacksonville answered with an 11-play drive that lasted just under five minutes, in which McCown threw for 44 yards, resulting in a 45-yard field goal by Scobee.
Two possessions later, Tennessee took the ball and Hasselbeck led the team down the field, connecting on 6-of-7 passes on the drive. The last was a Britt two-yard TD catch as he reached over the head of Rashean Mathis in the back corner of the end zone to make it a 16-14 game with 3:34 left in contest.
Tennessee finished 6-10 last year and missed the playoffs for the second straight season...Jacksonville went 8-8 last season and has not made the playoffs in three straight years...Mike Thomas caught eight passes for 55 yards for the Jaguars...Deji Karim carried the ball 14 times for 33 yards for Jacksonville...Nate Washington totaled 67 yards on six receptions for the Titans.
09/11 19:09:29 ET