The Jaguars blowout of the rival Texans could have been much worse, considering Jacksonville turned the ball over three times, all fumbles, and took points off the scoreboard early on, due to a personal foul by Maurice Williams that negated a John Carney field goal.
The Jaguars started off slow as they allowed the Texans to drive the ball 78 yards in 10 plays on the game's opening possession for three points. The Jaguars then took the football 58 yards deep into Houston territory before the drive ended on a missed field goal after a personal foul by the Jaguars that took away a made Carney field goal. The Jaguars next two offensive drives ended in Reggie Williams fumbles, and despite moving the ball well on the Houston defense, the Jaguars found themselves down 6-0, halfway through the second quarter.
The Jaguars offense finally broke through with 5:47 left in the first half, when David Garrard hit tight end George Wrighster on a one-yard touchdown pass, which was initially ruled as an offensive pass interference penalty on tight end Greg Estandia, who blocked a Houston linebacker in the end zone. After a lengthy deliberation, the officials ruled that since Estandia started blocking the Houston player on the line of scrimmage, there was no penalty and the touchdown stood. That appeared to be the turning point in the game as the Jaguars then executed a surprise onside kick that was recovered by kicker John Carney, which led to a Jaguars field goal before the half to give Jacksonville the lead, 10-6.
Jacksonville took control of the game on their first possession of the second half, a drive in which the Jaguars went 81 yards in 14 plays which was capped off by a nine-yard touchdown pass from David Garrard to Reggie Williams. The Jaguars would then score touchdowns on their final two possessions before ending the game in victory formation with a kneel down by Garrard.
The star of the game for the Jaguars offensively, was running back Maurice Jones-Drew who finished with 125 yards rushing on just 12 carries, including two touchdowns, one coming on a 57-yard scamper where he went untouched to the end zone. Jones-Drew also led the team with four receptions for 59 yards. Running back Fred Taylor also had his best effort of the season, finishing with 90 yards rushing on just six carries, including a long run of 76 yards.
Quarterback David Garrard continued his efficient play as he completed 22 of 34 passes, for 221 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, finishing with a quarterback rating of 102.7. Garrard's quarterback rating was over 100 for the fourth consecutive game, and he has not thrown an interception in five games this season. Garrard hit nine different receivers including Dennis Northcutt, who had four catches for 46 yards, Reggie Williams, who had five catches for 38 yards, and a touchdown, and tight end Marcedes Lewis, who caught two balls for 30 yards. When asked about the play of Garrard, head coach Jack Del Rio said--
"David played again very, very good football. I can't say enough about the way he's playing. The passing game is coming."
Defensively, the Jaguars were outstanding for the fourth consecutive game, as they allowed the Texans just 61 yards on the ground on 24 carries, despite having to face the Texans star running back, Ahman Green. The Jaguars defense finished with two sacks, and forced three turnovers, two fumbles, and an interception. The play that sealed the game defensively, came in the fourth quarter when defensive end Paul Spicer sacked Houston quarterback Matt Schaub and forced a fumble, which linebacker Daryl Smith picked up and took back 77 yards for his first career touchdown. Sammy Knight led the Jaguars with 12 tackles and a key forced fumble at the goal line, which kept the Texans from scoring and taking a 10-0 lead late in the first quarter. Rashean Mathis chipped in with eight tackles, and cornerback Brian Williams continued his fine season with seven tackles, one interception, and two passes defensed.
Special teams was up and down for the Jaguars, hitting a climax when special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis came up with the brilliant idea to surprise Houston with the onside kick in the second quarter. Aside from that call, the Jaguars special teams unit missed a field goal early on, and fumbled a short punt that hit one of the blockers (Brent Hawkins) in his back. The Jaguars had no punting game to speak of, as they didn't have to attempt during the game.
Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio described the call to go for the onside kick--
"We talked about playing to win; being in attack mode. We thought we had a shot to make a play there. ‘Joe D' called for it and I okayed it."
With their fourth consecutive victory, the Jaguars bettered their record to 4-1, which sets up a battle for first place next Monday night against the currently undefeated Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts for first place in the AFC South. When asked about next Monday's game with Indianapolis, running back Maurice Jones-Drew said--
"You've got to deliver the blow. You don't ever want to accept it. The Colts are playing great. They still didn't pick me in the draft so I'm still upset about that. It's going to be a fun game; give everybody a great show."
Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Jagnation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports.com, Sirius NFL Radio, and Sportsillustated.com. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association, and is a columnist for the New Smyrna Observer.
Jaguars Run Away from Texans
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