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Titans clinch playoff berth with 15-10 victory over Jaguars

The Tennessee Titans are going back to the postseason for the first time since 2008.

After going 2-3 to start the season, battling through an injury to quarterback Marcus Mariota and sliding into a three-game losing streak down the stretch, a 15-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars has clinched a playoff berth for Tennessee.

Mariota finished 12-of-21 passing for 134 yards and a touchdown to go with 60 yards on the ground, which lead the team in rushing. Derrick Henry gained just 50 yards on 27 carries. Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles ended his day 15-of-34 passing with 158 yards and two interceptions in a game that didn’t mean much for a Jaguars team already locked into the playoffs.

Tennessee running back Derrick Henry tries to get past Jacksonville Jaguars safety Barry Church in the second half of a 15-10 victory that puts the Titans back in the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade. (AP Photo)

Of course, the simple win-and-in scenario for Tennessee on Sunday didn’t play out as flawlessly as the Titans would’ve hoped. After building a 15-3 lead through three quarters, a Tennessee fumble become a 67-yard touchdown recovery for the Jags early in the final frame.

From there it seemed like the Titans were hanging on as best they could while trying to run the clock out. The next two Tennessee drives both ended with punts and the only reason it got a third chance to kill some time is thanks to a massive sack by Brian Orakpo on Blake Bortles to force a third-and-20.

That led to a few huge scrambles from Mariota — including an outstanding stiff-arm on third down —to give the Titans some much-needed breathing room as they closed in on the two-minute warning.

Jacksonville did get the ball back one last time, but with only 18 seconds remaining and the ball in their own red zone there weren’t many options available for a quick score. Bortles first attempt at playing hero was intercepted at midfield as Tennessee began celebrating a return to the playoffs.

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Blake Schuster is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at blakeschuster@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!