After being maligned all week for their late-game performance in New Orleans, the Texans’ defense stopped the Jacksonville Jaguars inches from the goal line to preserve a 13-12 win at home.
After the Jaguars scored a touchdown to make the score 13-12 with 36 seconds to go, they chose to go for the win with a two-point conversion. Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette took a handoff up the middle and came within inches of the goal line before safety Justin Reid stopped his progress and prevented the Jaguars from stealing a division win.
“Reid made a great play. The line got some penetration and Justin is a great tackler. That was a great defensive play,” Houston head coach Bill O’Brien said.
“We just banded together, and the defense made a helluva stop on the conversion. I was impressed by everyone on that play. We just had to do our job, and that is what we did,” Texans’ linebacker Whitney Mercilus said.
It took over three quarters, and a lot of help from the defense, but the Houston offense finally scored a touchdown against Jacksonville.
With 12:59 to go in the game, and the Texans leading 6-3, Mercilus sacked the Jaguars’ rookie quarterback, Gardner Minshew II, at the Jacksonville 11-yard line, jarring the ball lose only for JJ Watt to recover the fumble to give the Texans a first and ten at the 11-yard line.
On fourth down and one at the 2-yard line, Deshaun Watson bootlegged into the endzone to give the hosts a 13-3 lead.
The touchdown energized the crowd, but the Jaguars marched down the field to the Texans’ 14-yard line before settling for a Josh Lambo 32-yard field goal to cut the lead to 13-6 with 6:04 to go in the game.
Houston was forced to punt with 3:47 to go in the game and Jacksonville took possession on its 32-yard line. On fourth down and 1, Fournette gained just enough for the first down, and the Jaguars retained possession with 2:00 to go.
A minute later, on fourth down and ten, Minshew ran 18 yards for a first down at the 13-yard line. Minshew then scrambled for four yards to the 4-yard line before throwing a 4-yard pass to DJ Chark, Jr for a touchdown to make the score 13-12.
Jacksonville then decided to go for the win with a two-point conversion, setting up Reid’s heroics.
“We came up a couple of inches short and lost the game. It was a decision that I made prior to us getting the last possession. Every loss hurts,” Jaguars’ head coach Doug Marrone said.
In the first half, the Texans were able to move the ball, but could not put it in the end zone. Watson completed 12 of 20 attempts for 120 yards, and Hyde rushed eight times for 45 yards, but they had to settle for two Ka’imi Fairbairn field goals.
For the game, Watson completed 16 of 29 attempts for 159 yards. Hyde rushed 20 times for 90 yards, and DeAndre Hopkins had five receptions for 40 yards.
In the first start of his career, Minshew completed 23 of 33 passes for 213 yards and rushed six times for 56 yards.
“These games are tough to win. We didn’t do as well offensively as we wanted to do, and our defense picked us up. This was a very important team win,” O’Brien said.
The Texans will play the Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday in Los Angeles.
Texans 1:54 Ka’imi Fairbairn 39-yard field goal.
Texans 3 Jaguars 0
Jaguars 3:17 Josh Lambo 40-yard field goal
Texans 3 Jaguars 3
Texans 0:02 Fairbairn 22-yard field goal
Texans 6 Jaguars 3
Texans 11:35 Deshaun Watson 2-yard run. Fairbairn kick.
Texans 13 Jaguars 3
Jaguars 6:04 Lambo 32-yard field goal.
Texans 13 Jaguars 6
Jaguars 0:36 DJ Chark, Jr four yard-pass from Minshew. Run failed.
Texans 13 Jaguars 12