NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Tennessee Titans’ magical ride isn’t close to ending. And Sunday they found yet another way to pull out a victory.

Vince Young and the offense couldn’t move the ball against the Jaguars. So the Titans’ defense beat up David Garrard and returned turnovers 83, 92 and 61 yards and beat Jacksonville 24-17 for their fifth straight victory.

Adam “Pacman” Jones returned an interception 83 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter for a 7-0 Tennessee lead. Then the Titans broke open a 10-10 game in the third quarter despite the Jaguars running 32 consecutive offensive plays.

Rookie Cortland Finnegan picked up a Garrard fumble and returned it 92 yards for the go-ahead TD with 4:51 left in the third. Six plays later, safety Chris Hope picked off a Garrard pass and ran 61 yards up the left sideline for a 24-10 lead.

Tennessee (7-7) won for the seventh time in nine games, keeping its faint playoff hopes alive. The Titans’ defense was on the field 44 minutes, 22 seconds, but had five sacks and forced four turnovers.

With Jacksonville (8-6) losing, Indianapolis clinched the AFC South title the Colts couldn’t grab last week when they were routed 44-17 by the Jaguars.

Jacksonville pulled within 24-17 after Garrard’s 3-yard TD toss to Matt Jones with 2:37 to go, and the Jaguars tried an onside kick. Stephen Tulloch recovered for Tennessee, but the Titans had to punt it back with 61 seconds left.

Three plays later, Reynaldo Hill picked off a Garrard pass to seal the victory.

The Jaguars came in with the NFL’s fifth-stingiest defense, and they did their job in trying to protect a one-game lead in the wild-card chase. The Titans had the ball for only 96 seconds in the third quarter and 15:38 overall and finished with a season-low 98 yards of offense.

But it was Tennessee’s defense, statistically the worst in the league allowing 364.4 yards per game, that made the biggest plays. The weary Titans even kept the Jaguars out of the end zone despite Jacksonville having first-and-goal at the Tennessee 6 midway through the fourth quarter.

A review wiped out a bobbled 1-yard TD catch by Marcedes Lewis. Then the Titans stopped Maurice Drew on third down at the 1, and Adam Jones broke up a fourth-down pass to Matt Jones in the end zone, drawing a standing ovation from the cheering fans.

Then Young and an offense that had picked up three first downs through three quarters ran off three minutes to give the defense its best rest since halftime.

The Jaguars rolled up 396 yards offense despite losing running back Fred Taylor to a strained right hamstring on his second carry. Rookie Drew scored his 13th TD this season on a 12-yard run in the first quarter and finished with 98 yards. He left the game in the fourth quarter with a left leg injury.

A bad omen may have been Taylor pulling up lame when he could have scored. Three plays later, Jones stepped in front of a pass for Williams and ran it back for a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

AP-ES-12-17-06 1701EST

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