Houston, we have a problem: The Jacksonville Jaguars.
If you haven’t been following, Jacksonville-you may want to sit down for this-your Jaguars are now the proud owners of an AFC best three game winning streak. This time, Duval faithful got to witness the victory firsthand. The Jaguars won at home for the first time in over a year as they ran with the night and played in the shadows of the Sunshine State in front of a national Thursday night audience on the NFL Network. The Big Cats poured more misery gravy onto the Houston Texans’ nightmare season for the second time in the last three games, this time issuing the beating at EverBank Field in front of an official “tickets distributed” crowd of 60,414. The actual attendance didn’t look nearly that large in person but, sure, why not?
Though it was officially their fourth victory in the books for the 2013 season, in my humble opinion, this was their first complete game victory of the year. Sure, the final score reflected a mere seven point margin of victory at 27-20, but the game was never really that close and the Jaguars were well in control of this one from start to finish. By the time the final gun sounded, there were plenty of highlights and heroics to go around on both sides of the ball. The Jaguars started things off with a steady eight minute drive that was capped by a Chad Henne to Marcedes Lewis one-yard TD pass during which the 6’6″ Lewis exploited a large height advantage over his 5’10” defender (candy from a baby). Cecil Shorts III quickly followed with a TD reception, making it 14-0 early. Maurice Jones-Drew even got in on the fun with his first 100+ yard game of the year, saving his best for prime time before being lost to an ankle injury late in the fourth quarter. This game also featured more trickery from offensive coordinator/mad hatter Jed Fisch. Last week it was MJD with a TD toss, this week it was WR Ace Sanders taking a lateral from quarterback Chad Henne and firing back across field to RB Jordan Todman for the TD in the third quarter. With that bit o’ wizardry, the Texans got trick-daddy-daddied and were given a little taste of the new way we do things in the Dirty South.
On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Paul Posluszny continued his fine season and had a beastly 13 tackles on the night. Poz would be my Jaguars MVP if the season were to end today, and he and strong safety Johnathan Cyprien are becoming the types of defensive players who seem to be involved in almost every play. The Texans gained a little momentum in the third quarter when “benched starter” Matt Schaub came off the bench after half-time to take over for an ineffective Case Keenum (who Schaub had been benched for earlier in the year-confusing enough?). No matter, the real Matt Schaub finally revealed himself and was intercepted by linebacker Geno Hayes and then sacked by defensive end Ryan Davis as time expired on the Texans’ final two respective drives of the game.
Truth be told, as stalwart as the Jags were, the Texans biggest enemies in this game were probably themselves. The Texans had an astounding 14 penalties for 177 total yards as they fell to a record of 2-11. The Texans-the very definition of implosion-are now losers of 11 straight in a season that many had predicted may end in a Super Bowl appearance for them. Almost needless to say, Texans head coach Gary Kubiak was fired after the game.