JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Derrick Henry enjoyed another happy homecoming while continuing to torment his hometown team.
Henry ran for 130 yards and three touchdowns about 25 miles from where he grew up, Kevin Byard returned a fumble for a score and the Tennessee Titans beat Jacksonville 37-19 Sunday, sending the Jaguars to their 20th consecutive loss.
Henry padded his NFL rushing lead — he now 640 yards on the ground through five games — as the Titans (3-2) rebounded from an overtime stunner at the New York Jets and avoided consecutive losses to winless teams.
“I think he's a stud," Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan said. "The crazy thing is, from a rushing standpoint, as an offensive line, we can do way better. We've played way better in the past. We're leaving a lot of meat on the bone there.”
Henry ended a streak of three consecutive road games with at least 150 yards rushing. But he became the third Titans/Oilers player in history to top 60 rushing touchdowns, joining Hall of Famer Earl Campbell (73) and Eddie George (64). Henry has 62 total, including 14 against Jacksonville.
Henry and the Titans have won four straight and eight of nine in the series.
“Derrick does a great job pretty much every week," Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "You look at what he's done over the course of his career, especially the last three years. He's big, his physical and he's tough. He runs hard and he's durable. It's fun to be able to play with him.”
Jacksonville (0-5) moved into sole position of the second-longest skid in NFL history, six shy of tying the record Tampa Bay set in 1977 over its first two seasons as an expansion team. The franchise’s latest debacle came eight days after coach Urban Meyer was captured on camera with a young woman dancing near his lap at an Ohio bar, behavior team owner Shad Khan called “inexcusable.”
Meyer was more animated than usual on the sideline and even ran near the goal line to celebrate a touchdown on a fourth-and-goal play.
But Meyer ended up once again lamenting all that went wrong for his team.
“I see a group of warriors. I see a group of players that I love to death,” Meyer said. “I see a group of players that are spilling it on the field and we’re not getting it. We’re not closing it out.”
The Jaguars fumbled on the third play of the game. Byard scooped it up and ran 30 yards for a score. Jacksonville also missed an extra point; dropped what should have been an interception and maybe a pick-six; missed a 53-yard field goal; and was flagged for a phantom pass interference penalty on a third-down play.
Adding to the list, quarterback Trevor Lawrence appeared to run for his second score of the day in the fourth quarter. But replay officials ruled him down inside the 1-yard line, setting up a fourth-down call. Carlos Hyde was dropped for a 3-yard loss on the ensuing play, and center Brandon Linder suffered what appeared to be a significant leg injury.
The Titans probably needed all that fortune. Their defense was porous most of the afternoon, allowing 454 yards and forcing just two punts. Jacksonville's James Robinson ran 18 times for a career-high 149 yards and a touchdown.
“Not gonna apologize for winning," Byard said. “Obviously, it wasn't pretty, it wasn't perfect at all. We've got to a lot of stuff we need to clean up. But happy to get a win, man, in Duval (County).”
Tennessee was better on the other side of the ball, with Henry grinding out his yardage on 29 carries. Ryan Tannehill completed 14 of 22 passes for 197 yards with a touchdown.
Linder was carted to the locker room, a potentially huge loss for the Jaguars. ... Titans CB Kristian Fulton (hamstring), LB Rashaan Evans (quadriceps), G Rodger Saffold (shoulder) and LB Monty Rice (groin) all left the game, adding to an already mounting injury list for the defending AFC South champions. … Jaguars LBs Myles Jack (back) and Dakota Allen (shoulder) also were injured.
Titans host Buffalo on Monday night, Oct. 18.
Jaguars travel to London to play a “home” game against Miami next Sunday.
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Mark Long, The Associated Press