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Blackmon helps Jaguars end skid

The SportsXchange

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon is finally making the plays the Jacksonville Jaguars had in mind when they drafted him as the fifth overall pick last spring.

Blackmon caught passes worth 236 yards last week in an overtime loss to Houston, the third-best rookie performance in NFL history.

He followed that up Sunday with the decisive touchdown in a 24-19 victory over the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field.

Jacksonville snapped a five-game losing streak at home and a seven-game losing streak overall.

Blackmon bowled over Micheal Griffin and Alterraun Vener at the goal line to score on a 7-yard reception with 6:50 remaining to give the Jaguars (2-9) a 21-12 lead.

After the Titans cut it to 21-19, the Jaguars got the ball back with 3:28 left. Safety Dwight Lowery pulled in a tipped interception to set up a Josh Scobee field goal to give the Jaguars their first home victory since last season.

"It was a little hook route," Blackmon said of the pass from Chad Henne. "Chad put it right on the money where I could turn and brace myself for a defender. It made it easier on me. I just put my head down and drove forward."

The Jaguars lost their previous five home games by a combination of 109 points before finally breaking through over the Titans (4-7). Tennessee helped the Jaguars with several dropped passes and having to settle for five field-goal attempts.

"This one is hard to take," said Titans coach Mike Munchak. "It was a game in which we had plenty of opportunities. We didn't finish drives. Do be a great team, you have to that."

Munchak said his team didn't take the Jaguars lightly.

"We're not a good enough team to take anyone lightly," he said.

Nursing a 14-12 lead, the Jaguars took advantage of a roughing-the-passer penalty on Griffin and a 23-yard pass from Henne to Blackmon to get inside the Titans' 10. Two plays later, Henne hit Blackmon near the goal line and the rookie from Oklahoma State turned and ran over Griffin and Verner into the end zone for a 21-12 lead with 6:50 remaining.

Henne was making his first start since Blaine Gabbert was placed on injured reserve last week. Henne completed 17 of 26 passes for 261 yards, a week after he threw four TD passes in an overtime loss to Houston after Gabbert left the game with a shoulder injury.

He overcame an interception on the second play of the game and seven sacks.

"Sacks are going to happen," Henne said. "I think about what I can do better. If you worry about interceptions, sacks, dropped passes, it just hinders your play. You go on to the next snap."

Jake Locker, 23 of 40 for 259 yards, guided the Titans on a fast-paced 77-yard drive after Blackmon's touchdown, capping it with a 6-yard TD pass to Kenny Britt with 4:52 left. Running back Chris Johnson, held in check for most of the game by the Jaguars defense, set up the scoring play with a 31-yard gain.

The Jaguars were forced to punt but Locker threw a pass over the middle that was tipped by linebacker Russell Allen and snared inches off the ground by Lowery, who returned the ball to the Titans' 35.

Scobee sealed the verdict with a 41-yard field goal with 24 seconds left.

"That's on me. ... I need to take better care of the ball," said Locker. "I had an opportunity to go win the game and I didn't make the play."

The Jaguars had a 7-6 halftime lead in a defensive struggle, with Rashad Jennings' 1-yard TD run late in the first quarter trumping two Rob Bironas field goals.

Jennings capped a 75-yard drive with only the third rushing TD of the season for the Jaguars. Jennings earned it, with eight carries on the drive for 25 yards.

Bironas made his field goals from 38 and 40 yards. The latter kick came with 11 seconds left in the first half when Locker took the Titans from their own 45 to the Jaguars' 22 in 36 seconds with three pass completions for 33 yards.

The Jaguars made it 14-6 in the third quarter when Henne hit Cecil Shorts over the middle on a short pass, with Shorts taking it the rest of the way on a 59-yard scoring play. It was Shorts' team-leading sixth touchdown of the season.

Bironas added two more field goals, of 39 yards in the third quarter and 33 early in the fourth, to cut the lead to 14-12.

Notes: Maurice Jones-Drew, the NFL's leader rusher in 2011, remained on the Jaguars' inactive list with an ankle injury and his availability for the rest of the season is still in doubt. Also inactive for the Jaguars was the player who opened many of the holes for Jones-Drew, fullback Greg Jones. ... Titans running back Jamie Harper and third quarterback Rusty Smith both played high school football within 10 miles of EverBank Field. Harper played at Trinity Christian High School and Smith played at Sandalwood High. ... Jaguars cornerback Aaron Ross had to leave the game in the third quarter due to dehydration. The game-time temperature was in the low 60s. ... The Jaguars have faced the Titans more than any other NFL teams in their history, dating to their first year in the league in 1995, when Tennessee was the Houston Oilers. The then-Oilers beat the Jaguars 10-3 in the first game in Jacksonville history on Sept. 3, 1995. Sunday was the 35th meeting between the two teams and the Titans hold a 19-16 edge.
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