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Titans set NFL mark routing Jags 38-20 in finale

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Titans set NFL mark routing Jags 38-20 in finale

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Mike Munchak believes he's the man to coach Tennessee back to the playoffs.

His case: two wins in his final three games along with some young talent that helped the Titans become the first in NFL history with two players scoring twice each on returns.

Mike Mularkey's argument for keeping his job in Jacksonville may be a bit tougher, especially after what happened in the season finale.

The Titans rallied with Darius Reynaud scoring on consecutive punt returns and rookie Zach Brown returning two interceptions for touchdowns Sunday in routing the Jaguars 38-20.

``Obviously, I feel I'm the guy for the job,'' Munchak said. ``I feel like we're going to get this thing going ... 9-7 a year ago, 6-10 not happy. But I think we're getting the right guys here, we're doing it the right way, so yeah obviously I think myself and the staff feel good about the direction we're going.''

Titans owner Bud Adams will make the final decision. Jaguars owner Shad Khan has yet to put his stamp on Jacksonville, and general manager Gene Smith and Mularkey both could be gone after the team lost 12 of its final 13 games. It was the worst season in franchise history yet the Jags landed only the No. 2 pick in the draft.

Mularkey talked about how hard he and his assistants worked this season, and he defended their effort by pointing out the Jaguars played hard every week.

``There has been no give-up, there has been no quit by any of these guys,'' Mularkey said. ``I give them credit. I think they can walk out of this locker room, whatever their record is, with their head up knowing that they did everything they could.''

Still, Mularkey has lost 20 of his last 23 games as a head coach dating back to Buffalo, and these Jaguars lost eight games by 16 points or more.

``This is the worst season I've ever been a part of, and it's extremely disappointing,'' Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny said. ``To finish the season the way that we did with some of those plays it's outrageous. The whole thing was very disappointing because we came into this year with such high hopes and we felt like we had a special group of guys that could do some things.''

The Titans (6-10) head into the offseason with optimism despite being outgained 375-221 in total offense with the Jaguars holding the ball for more than 32 minutes. They also set a franchise mark for most points allowed in a season, giving up 471 points.

``We have a lot of work ahead of us, but it's nice to end up with a win,'' Munchak said.

The defense did sack Chad Henne seven times while picking him off three times. They did drop three other chances at interceptions before Brown picked off a pass and ran it back 79 yards for a TD. Reynaud followed with a 69-yard punt return just before halftime taking a 21-14 lead in the span of 75 seconds.

Then Reynaud got the scoring started after halftime, returning a punt 81 yards after the Jaguars went three-and-out to open the third. Two plays later, Tommie Campbell deflected a Henne pass to Brown, who ran it back 30 yards for a 35-14 lead.

``The first one I dropped it, but coach told me that he was going to throw me another one,'' Brown said. ``I was just waiting for me. He threw it to me two times.''

Reynaud also became the first player in franchise history to return two punts for TDs in a game and tied an NFL mark with 13 others.

Jacksonville led 14-7 with Henne tossing a 5-yard TD pass to Jordan Shipley and a 30-yarder to Justin Blackmon until the Titans defense started catching the balls they got their hands on.

``We had total control of what we were doing and we were moving the ball, so it's on us,'' Henne said.

The Jaguars made Keith Toston the fifth different running back to start a game this season, and he had a career-high 66 yards on 12 carries by halftime as the Titans missed tackles and dropped three would-be interceptions. Toston finished with 74 yards.

NOTES: Reggie Bush was the last to score on two punt returns in a game on Oct. 6, 2008. ... The Titans' previous mark for most points allowed in a season was 460 in 1983 as the then-Houston Oilers. ... This was the 17th time in Tennessee history with multiple return TDs in a game. ... The Titans also had three return touchdowns Sept. 23 in an overtime win over Detroit. Reynaud had a 105-yard kickoff return in that game. ... Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis had a career-high 103 yards receiving.

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Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

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Associated Press

Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

Bradley Beal may have had a slow start in the three-point contest on Saturday night, but in Sunday's All-Star Game he worked quickly to make the most of his relatively small window of playing time.

Beal checked in for the first time with 5:45 left in the first quarter and less than 25 seconds later had his first points on a two-handed dunk assisted by LeBron James.

In his All-Star debut, Beal helped lead Team LeBron to a 148-145 victory over Team Stephen as the league utilizied a new format for the annual showcase.

RELATED: BEAL BOUNCED EARLY IN THREE-POINT CONTEST

Beal finished with 14 points and a steal in a productive night. He shot 5-for-10 from the field and an impressive 4-for-8 from long range. 

Beal also tried to get a travelling call from the refs on Karl-Anthony Towns. Yeah, that's not likely to happen in an All-Star Game:

Beal more than held his own and only played 16 minutes, which was good considering he has logged the fifth-most minutes of any player so far this season. A realistic best-case scenario was a strong showing and a short night and that's exactly what he got.

Not only does Beal play a lot of minutes, the Wizards need him now more than ever with John Wall's injury. He needs whatever rest he can get during this All-Star break.

Speaking of Wall, he was in the house despite being in the middle of his rehab from left knee surgery. Per usual, Wall was shining bright:

RELATED: BEST WIZARDS/BULLETS MOMENTS ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

The All-Star Game wasn't all about Beal, of course. Here are some other things that stood out...

*The new format and increased financial incentive were intended to make the game more competitive and that's what happened late in the fourth quarter. Usually, that's how these things go where the players will start trying at the end. But this time it seemed to be up a few levels and it was fun to watch. 

Both teams scored in the 140s, so it wasn't exactly a defensive battle. No matter what the league does, the players will only try so hard for so long. The main goal of everyone's is to not get injured in a game that ultimately doesn't count for anything. Still, this was different and appears to have been a success.

*While everyone was focusing on the reunion of LeBron and Kyrie Irving the best beef was Joel Embiid vs. Russell Westbrook. Those two have traded waves to taunt each other at the end of wins in head-to-head matchups and it was clear on Sunday they still don't like each other. Westbrook tried to dunk all over Embiid in the first half, only to get blocked at the rim.

Westbrook's determination to dunk on Embiid was out of the ordinary for an All-Star Game. It was obvious what was on his mind:

*Irving's handles are simply ridiculous. Check out this fake behind-the-back move he pulled with Giannis Antetkounmpo guarding him. Yes, it didn't fool the defender but it was impressive nonetheless:

*LeBron is 33 years old, yet he was still running up and down the court faster than anyone and leaping above the rim to thrown down alley-oop after alley-oop. It is truly amazing and everyone should enjoy watching him while they can, regardless of whether they like the guy or not.

This was one of his dunks:

LeBron took home MVP with a game-high 29 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and a steal.

*The pregame show was quite bad. It was anchored by comedians Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle and, though they had some funny jokes, it lasted nearly 30 minutes. The whole thing was pretty much universally panned on social media. Fergie's national anthem was also roasted by the masses.

*The halftime show was much better. It began with N.E.R.D taking it back to their older days with 'Lapdance,' went to Migos performing 'Stir Fry' and swung back to N.E.R.D. who did their latest hit 'Lemon.' 

RELATED: LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT

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The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

Whoever put together the NBA All-Star Game player introductions has some 'splainin to do. 

The NBA introduced a kinda-full Staples Center to their 2018 All-Stars about an hour ago, and boy was it weird. There were a lot of dancers in different themed costumes. Kevin Hart was screaming. Rob Riggle was screaming. Ludacris showed up? Hey! Did you know that the Barenaked Ladies are still a band? The NBA would like you to know they're still around.  The whole thing was like when you're at an art museum and you're told that abstract piece in the corner is actually really meaningful but you gotta be honest, you don't get it. 

Anyways, the internet hated it. Here are some highlights from the internet hating it:

The lesson here is that you never need Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle. One will do.