By Bill McCaughey
For the Fort Bend Star
Winning an NFL game is very tough and requires almost total devotion to preparation for the upcoming opponent.
The Texans had too many distractions last week and lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars 29-7 on Sunday. The 71,710 fans came out to NRG Stadium expecting to have the Texans take their minds off Hurricane Harvey, flooded homes, and gridlocked traffic. Unfortunately, the Texans just added one more item to the frustration list.
After a rousing pregame ceremony to celebrate the Houston first responders, the Texan’s came out sluggish.
“I wish we would’ve played faster. I have to figure out how I can get these guys to play faster. Just wasn’t as up-tempo as we wanted it to be,” Texans coach Bill O’Brien said. “Give Jacksonville credit. They did a great job. Their team was ready to play. Their coaches did a great job and they did a good job.”
The Texans allowed 10 sacks, six on Tom Savage and four on Deshaun Watson.
“We just weren’t in sync. That’s just kind of what it was. I was holding on to the ball a little too long, trying to make some plays down the field,” Savage said.
“They have a good front seven so they were getting to us, but it seemed like they were bringing more pressure in the second half than they were in the first half,” Watson said. “We’ll watch the tape and see what we can correct and fix and move on.”
The Texans suffered a number of injuries during the game. Five Texans were placed under the NFL concussion testing protocol. They are middle linebacker Brian Cushing, receiver Bruce Ellington, and tight ends C.J. Fiedorowicz, Ryan Griffin and Stephen Anderson. Right guard Jeff Allen suffered an ankle injury, and JJ Watt dislocated a finger.
“I messed up my finger a bit. It happened in the second quarter some time. Just busted the bone through the skin. Nothing bad. Just tape it up,” Watt said.
The Jaguars opened the scoring with a 42-yard field goal with 12:08 to go in the first quarter. Jacksonville kicked a second field goal with 14:49 to go in the second quarter making the score 6-0. The Jaguars then sacked Savage forcing a fumble that they recovered on their 47-yard line, allowing Leonard Fournette to score his first career touchdown on a one-yard run. The extra point was missed making the score 12-0. With 49 seconds to go in the half, the Jaguars sacked Savage for the sixth time, again causing a fumble that Dante Fowler returned 53-yards for a touchdown, making the halftime score 19-0.
The third quarter started better for the Texans as Deshaun Watson took over at quarterback and drove the Texans 75-yards in 14 plays culminating in Watson throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass to DeAndre Hopkins. With momentum starting to switch to the Texans, Jacksonville quickly responded with a Blake Bortles’ 1-yard touchdown pass to Tommy Bohanon after going 75-yards in 10 plays, giving the Jaguars a 26-7 lead with 4:14 to go in the third quarter.
When asked about that drive, JJ Watt said, “We didn’t stop them. Pretty plain and simple there. We didn’t do a good enough job all day long stopping them.”
The Texans could not generate any more points and the Jaguars added a field goal to make the final score, 29-7.
For the game, the Jaguars had 280 total yards of offense, 155 on the ground and 125 in the air, compared to 203 for the Texans. The Texans had 93 yards rushing and 110 passing yards. Savage’s quarterback rating was 66.8 while Watson’s was 60.4.
The Texans play at Cincinnati on Thursday night. The Bengals lost to the Baltimore Ravens 20-0 last Sunday, as Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (from Katy) was intercepted four times and fumbled once. The Texans look forward to playing Thursday.
“We are very excited that it’s a Thursday night game coming up and we get a chance to go out there and play football again very soon, because you don’t like to let a taste like this sit in your mouth for too long,” Watt said.