The Texans started the game well, not getting stopped for a 3 and out on their first two drives of the game. Arian Foster ran well, looking much more refreshed and fast than the previous two weeks.
The play calling was great, and on an early 4th and 1, the offense ran a perfect play action and got the ball to DeAndre Hopkins for an easy conversion. They capped off this 99 yard, 16 play drive on a beautiful angle route out of the backfield by Arian Foster for a 14 yard touchdown pass from Brian Hoyer.
The defense did well early too, as they stopped Jacksonville on their opening sequence fairly quickly.
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It seems like the Texas teams are cursed by the injury bug this season, as the Dallas Cowboys are currently operating without some of their top talent, and the Texans cannot stay healthy.
Kareem Jackson exited the game limping in the 2nd quarter, Benardrick McKinney suffered a concussion, and the pre-game injury report was much longer than anyone would like to see.
Well, the recurring theme showed up again on Jacksonville’s first attempt in the red zone. The defense had an opportunity to stop them on 3rd down, but a facemask penalty automatically extended the drive for a first down, and put the Jags inside the 5 yard line. They promptly threw a high pass up in the end zone to Allen Robinson for an easy jump ball touchdown. The game was tied at 7 with about 9 minutes remaining in the 2nd quarter.
The Texans offense responded promptly, quickly getting into scoring territory in under 2 minutes. The Texans offense was gifted a first down on 3rd down and 3 to go (when the pass was incomplete) by a defensive offsides penalty. The drive was eventually capped by Nick Novak on a 42 yard field goal straight down the middle. Texans took the lead 10-7 with 6 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter.
Defensively, the Texans were doing a much better job of getting consistent pressure on Blake Bortles throughout the first half. One thing that looked troubling though, was J.J. Watt getting handled fairly well in 1-on-1 blocking situations. He never lost those matchups in 2014.
The Texans finally had a turnover go their way, and it was in a crucial spot in the game. The Jags were threatening to score with 17 seconds remaining in the first half, and Texan safety Andre Hal nabbed the interception on the goal line to stop any scoring threat. Texans went into halftime for the first time in 2015 with a lead, 10-7.
The start to the third quarter was quiet, with both teams exchanging punts on their initial drives.
The Texans finally got it going late in the third, converting a long 3rd and 13, and then another 3rd down near midfield. They were methodical and efficient throughout the day. The play calling seriously needs to be revamped. 4th and inches, and you run a loaded stretch play when Jacksonville has literally 9 guys close to the line of scrimmage? No. Football 101: on short yardage (in obvious running situations), NEVER run a stretch play. The defense can get easy penetration when an offensive lineman has to take an opening-the-hips first step to reach the outside shoulder of a defender.
This opened up a can of worms for the defense, when they had a short field to defend. They quickly gave up a touchdown on a blown coverage in the secondary, leaving Julius Thomas wide open for a 29 yard touchdown reception.
The offense again responded, driving down the field and firing touchdown to DeAndre Hopkins to regain the lead 17-14 in the 4th quarter. On that drive, there was a scare when Brian Hoyer went limp after getting roughed up on a slide, fortunately he came out okay and promptly re-entered the game (which, is a whole different issue to discuss following the treatment of Ryan Mallett last week).
DeAndre Hopkins is absolutely unbelievable to watch. Who would have thought they could strike gold twice when selecting receivers out of the first round? Now Houston just needs that to happen for a quarterback.
He busted the game wide open, scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to race ahead of Jacksonville 24-14 with 8 minutes to go.
Andre Hal showed up big time today. He had two interceptions, with the second going for six. The Texans poured it on early in the 4th quarter, scoring 21 points to blow the doors wide open for the contest. They roared ahead of the Jags and opened up a 31-14 lead with 8 minutes remaining to play.
I feel so badly for Lonnie Ballentine. After working hard to get back healthy and work his way into the secondary rotation, all indications looked like he broke his leg on a play in which he ran into Jag’s wide receiver Allen Robinson. He had to be carted off, but he received major support from not only his team, but the Jaguars as well. Prayers and well-wishes for a speedy recovery.
I write it in almost every recap, but I’m sick of watching J.J. Watt get held and tackled with no calls, and then he gets blocked into the quarterback by a Jags offensive lineman…and gets a personal foul. It’s absolutely ridiculous to watch.
Jacksonville capitalized on the personal foul by J.J. Watt and scored a touchdown to close the gap to 31-21 with 4 and a half minutes to go in the game.
Following three straight running plays by the Texans to run out some clock, Jacksonville once again went on the offensive. They got some great ball movement, but the Texans grabbed their third interception on the day to seal the victory. They kneeled out the remaining minute of the clock, and won 31-20 to improve to 2-4 on the season.
Don’t count them entirely out yet.