Ugly loss to Jaguars extends Titans’ road skid

AP photo by Phelan M. Ebenhack / Tennessee Titans quarterback Will Levis gets hit by Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson as he passes during the second half of an AFC South Division game Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence insisted all week that he had no concerns about his team's sluggish offense.

He promised it would get better. He vowed to do his part. He even expected a quick turnaround with a home game against a division rival next on the schedule.

Few people could have imagined this, though.

Lawrence accounted for four touchdowns, including two perfectly thrown passes to Calvin Ridley, and the Jaguars followed their worst loss of the season with a 34-14 drubbing of the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

Ridley finished with seven catches for 103 yards, with the former Atlanta Falcons receiver finding the end zone twice for the first time with the Jaguars (7-3) and doubling his touchdown total for the season. Lawrence also ran for two scores for the first time in three NFL seasons, with the former No. 1 overall draft pick becoming the first player in franchise history with two touchdown passes and two rushing scores in the same game.

Lawrence completed 24 of 32 passes for 262 yards, finishing with the fourth-best passer rating (119.5) of his career after the third-lowest outing one week earlier against the San Francisco 49ers.

"That's one of the cleaner games offensively we've played," Lawrence said. "Seemed like we stayed on schedule, seemed like we kept them on their heels. We did a great job of mixing up all the different shots, getting it out quick, running the ball movements, all that."

Ridley took it a step further, saying the team's performance was weeks in the making and a potential sign of things to come.

"We know we're an explosive offense," he said. "It takes time. Sometimes it takes three, four years. It don't just pop, pop, pop. I promise you we can pop. We can pop good. We can. We wanted it."

Jacksonville — which hits the road next week for another AFC South Divison matchup, this one against the second-place Houston Texans (6-4) — scored on five consecutive possessions and finished with 389 yards. The game would have been more lopsided had Lawrence and Co. not had to settle for two field goals after venturing inside the red zone.

It was a much-needed performance for a team that had lost three of its previous four home games, including being embarrassed by the 49ers.

Tennessee (3-7), stuck in the division cellar behind the third-place Indianapolis Colts (5-5), had been looking for a similar rebound. Instead, the Titans encountered more road woes in their return to the Sunshine State.

Coming off a 14-point loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee fell to 0-6 away from home this season and has yet to top 16 points in any road game. The Titans have now lost nine in a row outside Nashville.

"When you lose, nobody did enough," coach Mike Vrabel said. "We're not going to have that mentality, 'Well, this guy played good, but we lost.' We're trying to create a culture and an environment that when you lose, everyone has to be better."

Will Levis, the rookie quarterback making his fourth start for the Titans, completed 13 of 17 passes for 158 yards with two touchdowns and a fumble. Both scores came with a little trickery and with the game out of reach. He connected with receiver DeAndre Hopkins for a 43-yard touchdown in the third quarter and found two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons for a 2-yard touchdown in the fourth.

On the first touchdown, Tennessee running back Derrick Henry took a direct snap then handed the ball to a receiver, who pitched to Levis before the quarterback found Hopkins deep. Meanwhile, Simmons slipped out into the flat after lining up as a fullback, a play that worked earlier with him blocking for Henry. Simmons celebrated the first touchdown of his NFL career by doing the "Griddy" and then spiking the ball.

"We definitely hoped for some more improvement over the last few weeks," Levis said. "We thought we did some great things. Practice put us in a good spot to execute, but we just didn't do it. And that's what it comes down to."

In Tennessee's favor for the next game are two things — it's in Nashville, and it's against the woeful Carolina Panthers (1-9).

The Titans have lost three in a row to Jacksonville for the first time in nearly two decades, and they have lost 14 of their past 17 games overall. Although last season finished with the Titans a win shy of what would have been their third straight division title, Vrabel's sixth season as head coach has already matched his worst in terms of losses. Tennessee went 9-7 each of his first two years, and the second season began a run of three straight playoff trips.

The former NFL linebacker — a three-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots — brushed off a question about his job security Sunday.

"I don't try to concern myself with that," Vrabel said. "I really am focused on these players. I hurt for them. I played 14 years, won some games, won some championships. I am frustrated for players. I am disappointed for players. I want them to have success. I know how hard they work and what they put into it.

"My focus is on coaching this team and trying to get these guys to understand that there's a fine line in this league of winning and losing and find a way to get a win. That's what I'm focused on. I'll let you guys fire me each week or not fire me."

Tennessee's injury-riddled offensive line took another hit when right tackle Chris Hubbard (elbow) was ruled out at halftime. Meanwhile, backup safeties K'Von Wallace (concussion protocol) and Terrell Edmunds (shoulder) left the game in the second half.