The Texans completely dominated all afternoon to make a defining statement and capture the AFC South title
The Texans kicked the ball off to Jacksonville to begin the game. Early on, the Jags tried to get the ground game going in order to balance their attack.
Of course, the Texan defense shined early on and J.J. Watt got a sack on the game’s first 3rd down play. They then forced a punt and got the ball into the hands of Houston’s offense.
Hoyer started the game by throwing a deep incompletion down the sideline on an attempt to Akeem Hunt. It still looked like his inconsistency with accuracy is going to plague him going forward.
Hoyer then shriveled up under pressure and was sacked on third and long, and the ineptness continued.
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On Jacksonville’s second series, Whitney Mercilus gifted them first down with a 5 yard neutral zone infraction on 3rd and 4. The Jags went for a 4th and 4 in “no man’s land” and were unsuccessful after a deflected pass. The Texan defense held strong and got the ball back.
Hoyer was able to gather some composure and get a first down toss to DeAndre Hopkins early in their next drive. He then got a 20 yard completion to rookie receiver Jaelen Strong to get down into the red zone and prime scoring position. The Texans had first and goal from the 8 yard line, but were held to a field goal after the refs didn’t call a very obvious pass interference against DeAndre Hopkins in the end zone.
The Texans took a 3-0 lead with 5:24 remaining in the first quarter.
The defense got in another favorable 3rd down situation, and again came up with a sack on Blake Bortles to force a punt.
Duane Brown was injured shortly after the Texans started their next drive, it was on a run play in which he pulled around and got blasted by a Jacksonville linebacker in the hole. His loss will be huge going forward in the playoffs. Hopefully the injury isn’t as serious as it seemed, as he was taken off on the cart.
Hoyer was able to keep the drive moving on a 20 yard completion to DeAndre Hopkins, and subsequent 8 yard burst into Jag’s territory by rookie running back Akeem Hunt. They converted a key 3rd and medium on a dart to Hopkins and got down into the red zone. Hoyer capped the drive on a quick 9 yard touchdown toss to Jonathon Grimes. Houston took a 10-0 lead with 14:14 to go in the first half.
Jacksonville was able to get some yardage down into Houston territory on a big improvisational play from Blake Bortles. Fortunately the Texan defense was able to stop them short and force a field goal attempt.
Houston held a 10-3 lead with 10:13 to play in the first half.
On the ensuing Texan’s drive they were forced into a quick 3 and out, giving the Jacksonville offense a perfect opportunity to get right back into the game.
Thankfully, the Houston defense responded and forced a turnover off of a fumble. They got the ball back in premium territory, starting the drive on the 43 yard line going into score. Houston quickly got down to the 3 yard line facing a 3rd and goal, and they waltzed into the end zone on a run play by Jonathan Grimes. That was his second touchdown on the day, and he played a major impact early for Houston.
Houston took a 17-3 lead with 5:37 remaining in the half.
J.J. Watt and the defense came out and quickly shut down the Jag’s offense once again forcing a punt. Mercilus notched his 2nd sack on the day to end the drive.
Unfortunately, it didn’t mean much for the offensive production and they faced a quick 3rd and 14 situation. They actually mustered up a 50 yard gain, but it was nullified by a phantom penalty on a man in motion…the call made absolutely no sense, and on the ensuing play the Texans were reduced to calling a draw play up the middle and settling for a punt.
The Texan defense picked off Blake Bortles on a deep fade down the sideline to Allen Robinson, and got the ball back to the offense right before halftime.
They got on the cusp of Nick Novak’s field goal range and attempted a kick with 8 seconds to go in the half, and they drilled it. Houston took a 20-3 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Texans got the ball to start the second half, and came out trying to establish the run for the remainder of the game. They were marginally successful, but only managed to get one first down before being forced to punt.
Naturally, the strong defensive performance continued. They quickly forced the Jaguars into a punting situation and got the ball back to their offense.
The offense came back and got back to back first down runs of 11 and 12 yards by Alfred Blue to move the ball with maximum efficiency. They followed that up with another quick 2 first downs and moved into Jacksonville territory. They were on the cusp of field goal range and Bill O’Brien decided to roll the dice on 4th and short, but came up short and turned the ball over on downs.
Houston came back and made a big play on defense, forcing a fumble and returning it all the way for a touchdown. Unfortunately, the refs made another terrible call because apparently nobody knows what a catch is in the NFL. Jacksonville was then able to punt it away without surrendering any points.
Hoyer came back and made a terribly inaccurate throw, and it was easily picked off by Jacksonville. They started their drive on the 15 yard line going in, and the game turned around quickly. It gave the Jags life to get back into the contest when they were down 20-3.
Luckily, the defense bailed him out and held them to a field goal after not giving up any yardage. Jacksonville trailed 20-6 with 43 seconds to play in the 3rd quarter.
Houston came out and busted a 65 yard gain, but it was called back for holding. The Texans couldn’t get out of their own way in the second half. The offense reverted back to their early season ways of shooting themselves in the foot.
They regained composure, and gained enough yardage for a first down and continued to churn the clock towards their playoff berth and 3rd AFC South title in 5 years. DeAndre Hopkins was so close to securing a long touchdown, but was only able to get one foot in bounds. The Texans were forced to attempt a field goal, but were unsuccessful and gave the ball back to the Jaguars after the missed kick.
The Texan defense came out and allowed a huge screen play to Jag’s tight end Mercedes Lewis to get into scoring position quickly and get back into the game as they were only trailing by 2 touchdowns.
J.J. Watt yet again played savior for the Texans. He was being held atrociously, but still managed to get his 3rd sack of the day and force a fumble. They got the ball back for the offense once more.
The Texans were able to methodically churn the clock on run after run to get it down to 3:28 remaining. They then capped the drive with a 51 yard field goal and took a 23-6 lead.
The defense continued to make plays, and on the first drive of Jacksonville’s next series Kareem Jackson picked off a pass and returned it for an easy touchdown. Houston took a 30-6 lead with 3:09 to play in the game.
The final was 30-6 and the Texans punched their ticket into the playoffs via an AFC South title. It was thorough domination from start to finish, and it will be awesome to see how they perform in the first round of the AFC Playoffs.