BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
The distance from Jacksonville, FL to Nashville, TN by car is 8:21 and 595.2 miles.
The distance between the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-11) and Tennessee Titans (8-4) is longer when you consider that one team is tied for first place while the other is locked into last place.
Going into the game, these teams played 51 contests and Tennessee held a 31-21-0 advantage that includes a post season victory.
There were some interesting storylines entering into the contest.
During the week, Jaguars QB Gardner Minshew was begging for playing time. With the Jaguars trailing 31-3, Coach Doug Marrone benched starter Mike Glennon, who went 13-23 for 85 yards and one interception.
Minshew took advantage of this opportunity. He provided a spark by going 18-31 for 178 yards and a touchdown.
Will the locals be talking about Minshew Mania all week?
I doubt it.
He also demonstrated mobility by rushing for 22 yards on two carries.
The battle of two of the leagues best running backs featured Jaguars un-drafted stud James Robinson and Tennessee’s thoroughbred Derrick Henry. Going into the game, Robinson amassed 968 yards while his counterpart Henry had 1,317.
Robinson became the third rookie runner in franchise history to eclipse the 1,000 yard plateau by compiling 67 yards. The run which put him over the mark was a 47-yard carry. He also had 16 receiving yards.
As for Henry, he put on a clinic gaining 215 yards with 26 carries, two touchdowns for an 8.3 average. Henry had 15 carries for 122 yards at halftime. He also had seven yards receiving.
After the win against Jacksonville, Henry is the NFL’s leading rusher with 1,532 yards and with three games to go has an outside shot at 2,000 yards, which his extremely impressive in a Covid-19 Season.
Balance was the key for the Titans as QB Ryan Tannehill was solid by going 19-24 for 212 yards and two touchdowns. One of his touchdowns came on a flea-flicker where he hit A.J Brown for a 37-yard score.
Tannehill continues to thrive in Coach Mike Vrabel’s offense as he now has now thrown for 28 touchdowns and only five interceptions.
When it was all said and done, the Titans cruised to a 31-10 win. The game seemed like an organized scrimmage with teams going in totally different directions.
Tennessee out gained Jacksonville in total yards 454-354. The Titans out rushed Jacksonville 249–91 thanks to Henry’s performance. Tennessee led in first downs 25-20.
The Titans (9-4) appear to be headed to the playoffs while the Jaguars are closer two a top-two selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. There is a lot of distance between these two teams in many ways.
Things won’t get any easier for the Jaguars next week as they travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens (7-5).
The Jaguars regular season home finale is on Sunday, December 27, 2020 against the Chicago Bears.
Scott Morganroth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth and subscribe for free to SouthFloridaTribune You Tube Channel.