Texans beat Jaguars 24-21 for 1st road victory of season
By MARK LONG
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Houston Texans actually had a nice road trip. No surprise it came in Jacksonville, where the Jaguars are winless this season.
The Texans (6-3) scored on offense and defense and set up another score with special teams, a complete team effort that kept them perfect (3-0) against the AFC South. They won their fifth in a row against Jacksonville.
This one came despite Osweiler throwing for 99 yards.
"We have to play the game the way we see it playing out," Texans coach Bill O'Brien said. "We don't worry about stats. I think everyone needs to understand that in the National Football League it's all about winning. It's about winning. Whatever it takes to win that is what we try to do. Sometimes it doesn't work out, but six times this year it has worked out and three times it hasn't. Hopefully, we can be on the positive side of the ledger."
The Jaguars (2-7) lost their fourth straight and fell to 0-4 at home. Coach Gus Bradley's team rallied late, with Blake Bortles hitting Allen Robinson for a touchdown and again for a 2-point conversion to make it a three-point game.
But the Texans converted a third-and-5 play with 2 minutes to play and were able to run out the clock. The loss dropped Bradley's record to 14-43 in four seasons and prompted even Jacksonville's most loyal supporters to question why owner Shad Khan hasn't made a change.
"You can't do anything besides put your head down and continue to work," Bortles said.
Houston had been downright dismal on the road this season , scoring just one touchdown in lopsided losses at New England, Minnesota and Denver. The Texans found Jacksonville to be much more hospitable, especially on the opening drive.
On the fifth play of the game, Jackson stepped in front of Allen Hurns , tipped the ball up, bobbled it, secured it and sauntered down the sideline before juking Bortles and high-stepping into the end zone. Punt returner Tyler Ervin helped make it 21-10 in the third quarter, weaving his way for 57 yards and setting the Texans up at the 7-yard line. Osweiler hooked up with Stephen Anderson on the next play.
Nick Novak, who missed two field goals earlier, connected on a 51-yarder with 8:32 remaining that gave Houston some breathing room. The Texans kept that drive alive by converting a third-and-16 play from the 19. Akeem Hunt, called up from the practice squad Saturday, ran around the left end for 17 yards.
"That was crushing," Jaguars defensive tackle Malik Jackson said. "I thought it was a pass for sure. Everybody made a mistake thinking it was pass. We've got to get off blocks and make the tackle. Nobody seemed to do that and we lost. Two or three plays as a defense will show us why we lost the game, but we were playing a hell of a game."
The Texans finished with 181 yards on the ground.
The Jaguars added to their lowlight reel in the second quarter when Bortles did the most Bortles thing ever .
Under heavy pressure and trying to ground the ball near tightly covered running back T.J. Yeldon, Bortles hit Yeldon in the foot. The ball bounced up and landed in linebacker Whitney Mercilus' hands for what initially was ruled an interception. It was later changed to a lateral and a fumble.
"I've never seen that happen," Bortles said. "From the time you start playing quarterback, they tell you if the screen is covered, throw it at his feet. I was trying to make the smart play and live to play another down and that happens. Unfortunate."
Even though it came against dysfunctional Jacksonville, Houston's victory was somewhat impressive considering how many key players the team was missing.
Starting receiver Will Fuller (knee), run-stuffing nose tackle Vince Wilfork (groin) and cornerback A.J. Bouye (ankle) were inactive. So was fellow receiver Jaelen Strong, leaving the Texans with just three healthy wideouts.
The Jaguars failed once again to score a touchdown on their opening possession, extending the NFL's longest current TD drought to open games to 23 games. Maybe even more baffling, the Jags have gone more than five games without a takeaway. It's officially 23 quarters and counting.
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Updated November 13, 2016