JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Complacency and overconfidence are among the few things that petrify Jacksonville Jaguars coach Tom Coughlin. He found the perfect solution to that mindset Sunday when the Tennessee Titans earned their way to Jacksonville for the AFC title game.
Tennessee defeated Indianapolis 19-16 Sunday to set up a meeting next week with the Jaguars (15-2), whose only two losses this
season came to the Titans.
|Tom Coughlin shouldn't have much trouble getting his team to focus on Tennessee.|
The coach figures that will be enough to get his team back to business after it scored more than a point per minute in a 62-7 playoff victory over Miami.
"It certainly will be part of our thinking," Coughlin said of the two previous losses to Tennessee. "There's no way around it. It happened. We won't spend a lot of time on it. But we'll throw it out there again and bring things back to exactly where they were. That will make us very humble."
It's a feeling the Jaguars weren't worried about Saturday, when they posted the second-largest victory in NFL playoff history.
A bundle of big plays gave the Jaguars a 38-0 lead before Dan Marino had completed his first pass.
Most notable among the playmakers was Fred Taylor, who thrust himself to the forefront of this playoff season with a pair of
zigzagging plays -- a record-setting 90-yard touchdown run and 39-yard reception off a screen pass for another score.
Taylor, who claims he still isn't fully recovered from his hamstring injury, said the victory was as impressive as he has ever seen,
but he understands the need to quickly regain focus.
"I sat back last night after I saw the clip and said 'Man, we scored 60 points,' and I was refocused already," Taylor said. "We're on a mission. Any person on this team that sits down and lets that 62 points stay in their head, they're crazy. It's not going to be that easy at all."
A crowd estimated at 9,000 overwhelmed
Nashville International Airport on Sunday night as the Tennessee
Titans returned after beating Indianapolis 19-16 in an NFL playoff
Traffic backed up for miles on Interstate 40 as fans tried to
reach the airport to greet the team.
"Awesome," Titans tight end Frank Wycheck said as he walked
through the crowded airport among jubilant fans shortly after 10 p.m. CT.
One woman was hurt when she fell on an escalator.
Airport officials said they'll be better prepared next Sunday
when the Titans return from Jacksonville, where they play the AFC
Coughlin says he'll continue to stress high-energy practices, the way he did once the regular season ended and the coach went in search of a way to pull the Jaguars out of a mini-slump.
"We have to understand the reason that we won is because we prepared so well and our guys were ready to go," Coughlin said. "I'll make sure in no uncertain words that we understand the focus and the time of year and that we really need that kind of focus again."
Several Jaguars said it was easy to stay centered because of the constant criticism heaped on the team by those who believed their
14-2 record was a product of a weak schedule and not much else.
Others just couldn't wait to play and let the performance speak for itself.
"We knew what everybody felt about us, how we were the worst 14-2 team ever," tight end Kyle Brady said. "If you're a person who cares what the outside world feels, then I guess you feel better. But we've just got to believe in what we can do. And we'll
keep that belief right here in the locker room."
The Dolphins wish they had never brought it onto the field.
Miami guard Kevin Donnalley got the message early and left convinced there was more to the Jaguars than a weak schedule.
"It's a wake-up call for the rest of the AFC -- you better take notice of this team," Donnalley said. "It's not the same team
that struggled at times this year. Fred Taylor is back, the defense is playing outstanding. Other teams better look out."