It was a statement performance for the Titans' defense, coming off a Week 1 loss to the Oakland Raiders in which its physicality and tackling skills were challenged. The response was taking it out on the Jaguars (1-1), limiting Leonard Fournette to 40 rushing yards and forcing three Bortles turnovers (two interceptions, one forced fumble off a sack).
"We played together," cornerback Logan Ryan said. "They broke down a little bit. I think we saw a little quit in them. We just have to finish better."
It took a half for the Titans' offense to join the party, but it exploded on the scoreboard with 31 second-half points. A trio of youngsters -- second-year running back Derrick Henry, rookie receiver Taywan Taylor and rookie tight end Jonnu Smith -- provided the splash plays the Titans' offense desperately needed.
Marcus Mariota shook off a rough first half, which included a bad interception, and looked comfortable and effective in the second half. Mariota finished 15-of-27 for 215 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He added 26 rushing yards.
"Last year I was leaving here on crutches," Mariota said referring to his Christmas Eve broken right leg the last time he played at EverBank Field in Jacksonville. "So it's good to walk out here with the guys, huge divisional win, it was huge. I'm going to enjoy it."
Henry led the Titans with a career-high 92 rushing yards on 14 carries and a 17-yard touchdown.
What it means: Titans fans can exhale a bit; this team still looks like the class of the dysfunctional AFC South. Mariota didn't play great, but the Titans' defense and youngsters picked them up to win big. That's what playoff teams do. The Titans still have things to work on, such as offensive consistency and tackling, to be considered an AFC contender, but Sunday was a good step.
What I liked: Fournette was a big challenge after some of the struggles Tennessee had against Marshawn Lynch, but the Titans rose to the occasion. Fournette broke a few tackles, but it was clear the Titans prioritized gang tackling and swarming to the football. The secondary from LeShaun Sims to Kevin Byard played a great game. Curtis Riley and Da'Norris Searcy were there for opportunistic interceptions. Tennessee's front seven also played great, getting consistent penetration and pressure on Bortles.
What I didn’t like: It took the Titans six quarters to become the offense that many had thought they would be going into the season. The Jaguars' defense was stout in the first half, but scoring only six points is unacceptable. The Titans have to come out stronger against better teams. DeMarco Murray struggled for the second straight game, totaling just nine carries for 25 yards. It was more apparent because ...
Fantasy fallout: Henry was unleashed. It was a career day for Henry, who did most of his damage in the second half. He was the more effective and powerful back, adding 92 yards and a touchdown. He could have had another touchdown if fullback Jalston Fowler didn't vulture it from him. Delanie Walker also had a nice day, leading the Titans with 61 receiving yards plus his first career rushing touchdown off a jet sweep. Creative.
Avoiding a scare: Corey Davis was quiet after a big Week 1. He suffered a hamstring injury halfway through the game, which caused a brief panic throughout Nashville. He finished with one catch for 4 yards, but the good news is he returned to the game in the fourth quarter. He said he believed he was OK after the game.
What’s next: Another high-profile home game for the Titans to show their worth against the NFL's elite teams. The Seattle Seahawks travel east in what should be a good test of what the Titans' offense truly will be this season. The Seahawks will be easily the best defense the Titans have faced so far.