Entering the fourth quarter on Thursday, the Jacksonville Jaguars had mustered just nine points on three field goals against the Tennessee Titans and trailed 13-9.
But then the Jags reeled off 10 points in the final four minutes to wwwwwin, 19-13.
“That’s just the grit of the team,” Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “Everybody started stepping up in the fourth and not trying to do too much. Man, it came together.”
Smith finished with a game-high nine tackles, including one for loss. Jacksonville limited the Titans to six points in the first quarter and held them scoreless in the fourth.
“We always know that if we go out and do our job and hold teams, then our offense is going to score,” Smith said. “We have too many weapons for them not to. That’s just our mentality: hold them, don’t let them score. I think they got one touchdown tonight, so that was big for us.”
Jacksonville, which started the year 1-5, has suddenly won three of four to get back in contention in the AFC South. The Jags beat the Bills, lost a heartbreaker to the Jets on the road, beat the Ravens in Baltimore and beat Tennessee on Thursday.
That’s not a bad four-game stretch.
Smith, however, isn’t satisfied.
“I definitely don’t feel like we’re getting respect, but that’s why we’re out here working,” he said. “We’re keeping it in the locker room between us. I feel like our mentality right now is just us. The people in here, that’s who we’re fighting for and going hard for. As long as we know what we’re doing and not worrying about outside factors, we got a high ceiling.”
Second-year quarterback Blake Bortles has exploded over the last month of the season. He looked so-so for much of the game against Tennessee but came alive in the fourth quarter, finishing with 242 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
“The weapons that he has around him – it’s not one guy he has to go to make plays,” Smith said. “He’s got receivers, tight ends, running backs – anybody can catch coming out the back field or run great routes or stretch the field. We have all those weapons, so I think we’re just finding our (way) and coming together.”
If the Colts and Texans stumble this weekend against the Falcons and Jets, respectively, there would be a three-way tie for first in the AFC South. That has to make the Jags feel good, especially given how they started the season.
“It definitely (does), but that’s our thing,” Smith said. “We’re really not trying to worry about too much as long as we know we’re handling our business.”