Why Couldn't Houston Stop the Jaguars?

The Jaguars posted 244 yards of rushing against the Texans last weekend after their run game sputtered in the early weeks of the season. Find out what happened from some of the Houston players inside.

In the Texans' post-game locker room Sunday, Maurice Jones-Drew was referred to as "that small running back." It wasn't because the Texans defense didn't know his name. After all, they spent most of the game staring at the back of his jersey.

The 5-7 running back squeezed his way past one defender after another to help the Jacksonville Jaguars to a 37-17 victory over the Texans in Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on Sunday Jones-Drew, who is averaging 61.4 rushing yards per game, rushed for 125 yards and two touchdowns on just 12 carries against the Texans.

The Jaguars running game didn't stop with him though. Veteran Fred Taylor rushed for 90 yards on six carries, helping boost the total rushing yards by the Jaguars to 244 -- the third-most allowed by the Texans in franchise history.

"It was just poor tackling," rookie defensive tackle Amobi Okoye said. "We have to go back to the fundamentals of tackling, man. Sometimes you go to practice working on scheme and forget about that. So, I know we're in the NFL, but hell, we've got to go back and work on that."

The Texans were also hurt by players botching their assignments. On the 76-yard run by Taylor in the first quarter, defensive end N.D. Kalu said he was out of place. Taylor was caught from behind by Fred Bennett, and the Jaguars missed a field-goal attempt at the end of the drive.

"We weren't playing sound football," Kalu said. "It seemed like anytime a person missed an assignment, it cost us. And I know personally because the first long one was my fault."

It was an especially frustrating outing for a defense that had prided itself on its run defense this season. In the first four games, they gave up an average of 80 yards rushing. No opponent topped 100 rushing yards.

In the last two games against Miami and Jacksonville, the Texans have allowed an average of 190.5 rushing yards.

"This is not us," Kalu said. "We do not give up 200 yards rushing."

The Texans convened Monday to see what went wrong. The Texans must fix it quickly considering they are playing against another strong running team next week. Tennessee is ranked seventh in the league, averaging 141.8 rushing yards per game.

"I think I know what the problem was, but we need to play a hell of a lot better stopping the run," defensive coordinator Richard Smith said. "Part of it was tackling, part of it was not fitting properly and getting off blocks, and anytime you're playing a team like that, it isn't good enough."


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