By Mike Bonts, Florida Sports Wire
JACKSONVILLE – The Houston Texans soundly defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 37-17 at EverBank Stadium Sunday.
Winless Houston never trailed in the game, and they got huge performances from rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud and the special teams units en route to an upset victory over their AFC South rival.
“You’re seeing the drops. You’re seeing the turnovers. You’re seeing penalties, untimely penalties. You’re seeing flashes of excellence and brilliance and then a setback,” Jacksonville head coach Doug Pederson said. “It’s just the consistency that we need, needs to improve. It’s not there right now, we got to continue to work and continue to get better to figure some things out.”
QB Trevor Lawrence completed 27 passes for 279 yards and one touchdown. Tight end Evan Engram had seven catches for 67 yards
Lawrence and the Jaguars came away empty-handed on their first possession after a missed 48-yard field goal by Brandon McManus.
Texans running back Dameon Pierce scored on a one yard run for a TD. Houston took a 7-0 lead in Jacksonville with 7:35 left in the first quarter.
Will Anderson Jr. blocked the Jaguars second field-goal attempt, a 51-yard kick, in the second quarter. Linebacker Jake Hansen recovered, and the Texans took over at the Jacksonville 41-yard line.
Stroud finished the drive with a TD pass to Brevin Jordan to take a 14-0 lead. He completed 20-of-30 passes for 280 yards, two touchdowns and has not thrown an interception in three weeks.
Houston’s defense forced a punt and another turnover on the next two Jaguars possessions. Linebacker Blake Cashman recovered at the Houston 34-yard line. Agnew recorded three kick returns for 72 yards, eclipsing 4,000 total career return yards.
Ka’imi Fairbairn kicked a 28-yard field goal to extend the Texans lead as time expired in the first half.
The Jaguars scored 10 unanswered points in the second half. Running back Tank Bigsby scored on a one-yard touchdown run for the Jaguars’ first points of the day.
“I think grabbing their attention at halftime and just letting them know that the first 30 minutes was unacceptable,” added Pederson. “It’s not up to what our standards are and our expectations, including my expectations for this football team. I say we’re too good, we’ve got the pieces, but we’re not playing well. So, they came out, they executed extremely well.”
McManus added to the Jaguars lead with a 33-yard field goal, but on the ensuing kickoff Andrew Beck returned it 85 yards for a TD.
“Missed tackles. I mean, just those type of things are unacceptable. I mean, you know, it was a great kick, whatever we wanted it to be” Pederson said. “The ball was on the ground. Just poor execution. We couldn’t get them on the ground. Great play by them, just failed execution.”
The visitors took a 24-10 lead with 4:19 left in the third quarter.
Cashman intercepted Lawrence on the next Jaguars offensive possession for the Texans second takeaway of the game.
Fairbairn kicked a 26-yard field goal to finish the 10-play, 41-yard scoring drive. Houston took a 27-10 lead with 12:36 left in the game..
Lawrence threw his first passing TD on a drive that lasted just 1:56. Christian Kirk’s 26-yard touchdown catch moved the Jaguars to within two scores. Kirk recorded four receptions for 54 yards.
Houston held onto a 27-17 lead with 10:40 to go. The Texans next three-play series ended in Dell’s second score of the season, a 68-yard TD pass and a 34-17 lead. Dell had five catches for 145 yards.
Fairbairn made his third field goal of the day, a 33-yard kick, to extend the Texans lead 37-17 with 2:10 remaining.
“And the way we played today, we just can’t expect to win playing that way. There just has to be some good, there has to be a sense of urgency,” said Lawrence after the game. “It’s just not okay to make the same mistakes that we’ve been making, to do — to have the dumb penalties, to have the bad plays, to throw a pick, you know, late in the game like I did that, just to do stuff like that, it’s not all right. We have to look in the mirror, take accountability, you know, take that and own it and move on.”
Jacksonville running back Travis Etienne Jr. rushed 19 times for 88 yards and had four receptions for 50 yards, totaling 138 scrimmage yards.
Jaguars’ linebacker Foye Oluokun posted 14 total tackles (eight solo).
(Photo by Zach Tarrant/Houston Texans)