Titans rout Jaguars 38-20
Jaguars finish season franchise worst 2-14
The Jacksonville Jaguars can start looking ahead to 2013, and linebacker Paul Posluszny says they have only themselves to blame for all the possible looming changes.
"I do not want that to be the case, but we had a bad year," Posluszny said. "Crazier things have happened in the NFL. I don't want that and I don't think anybody in this locker room does. If it comes we've earned it because we haven't performed on the field."
This time, the Jaguars (2-14) blew a 14-7 lead by giving up four returns for touchdowns in less than 5 minutes spanning the end of the first half and the start of the third quarter in losing 38-20 to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
That sent the Jaguars home with their 12th loss in 13 games.
Even with the worst season in franchise history, the Jaguars are expected to have the No. 2 overall draft pick because they needed Kansas City to win on the road in Denver.
New owner Shad Khan now must decide if he wants to keep general manager Gene Smith and first-year coach Mike Mularkey, who has lost 20 of his past 23 games as head coach going back to his time with Buffalo.
Making Khan's decision easier might be how the Jaguars lost their eighth game this season by 16 or more points.
Mularkey dodged questions about his future, though he said he and his coaches take everything personally with where this team is.
"We all work extremely hard, and everybody has from Gene on down, and not to have any reward at all from these games it's been difficult," Mularkey said. "Especially with these players, they've done everything we've asked them to do."
The Jaguars scored on their first two possessions as they plugged in their fifth different starting running back. Keith Toston ran for 66 yards in the first half, and Chad Henne connected on five of six passes on third downs. The Jaguars wound up outgaining Tennessee 375-221 and held the ball for more than 32 minutes.
But the Titans dropped their first three would-be interceptions before rookie linebacker Zach Brown finally held onto his second chance and ran it back 79 yards for a touchdown with 1:48 left in the first half. Darius Reynaud then scored on a 69-yard punt return to put the Titans up 21-14 at halftime.
Jacksonville went three-and-out to open the third quarter, and Reynaud returned the punt 81 yards for his second TD of the game. When Tommie Campbell deflected a Henne pass two plays later, Brown grabbed it and ran 30 yards for his second TD and a 35-14 lead with 12:03 left in the third.
"We had total control of what we were doing and we were moving the ball, so it's on us," Henne said.
The Titans wound up sacking Henne seven times, just like they did Nov. 25 in the last game Jacksonville managed to win. They finished with three interceptions as well.
Fans showed their unhappiness with Tennessee's second losing season in three years by staying away, but the Titans (6-10) at least made it interesting as Reynaud also set a franchise record with 160 yards on punt returns to go with his TDs of 69 and 81 yards.
"When I saw Coty, my eyes just got big," Reynaud said of the block by rookie Coty Sensabaugh on his second TD.
Reynaud and Brown combined to make the Titans the first team in NFL history with two players scoring twice on returns.
The Titans needed the 28 straight points from defense and special teams to take control on a day where their offense produced just one touchdown and a 48-yard field goal by Rob Bironas.
The Jaguars managed a return of their own when Mike Harris blocked a Brett Kern punt and ran it back 19 yards for a TD with 2:16 left. By then, it was too late.
Henne finished 25 of 41 for 298 yards with two TDs and a 69 passer rating. He tossed a 5-yard TD pass to Jordan Shipley and a 30-yarder to Justin Blackmon in putting Jacksonville ahead early in the second quarter.
Toston finished with 74 yards on 17 carries in his first work at running back since Dec. 12, 2010, when he was with the Rams.
Notes: This was the 17th time in Tennessee history with multiple return TDs in a game. ... The Titans also had three return touchdowns Sept. 23 in an overtime win over Detroit. Reynaud had a 105-yard kickoff return in that game. ... The Seahawks had four interception returns for TDs on Nov. 4, 1984, against Kansas City in a 45-0 rout, and three different players scored those TDs. The Titans finished 1-5 in the AFC South ... Blackmon's five TDs tied Matt Jones (2005) for most by a rookie in Jacksonville history. ... Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis had a career-high 103 yards receiving.
Copyright 2012 by News4Jax.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.