Posted on September 15, 2019, by Travis Pulver
The Houston Texans were the exception to the rule last season when they started the year 0-2 and still made the playoffs. For a moment Sunday, it looked like they were in danger of starting another season 0-2. But then Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone did them a huge favor late in the game.
Rather than follow conventional wisdom and play for overtime after scoring a touchdown late in the game, he opted to go for the two-point conversation and the win.
But the Texans defense had done a pretty good job of limiting Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette the whole game. While Fournette momentarily surged forward after making contact with the defense, the Texans held the line and stopped him short.
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“I was 100% confident,” Texans safety Justin Reid, who was in on the goal line stop, said after the game (via ESPN). “I knew it on the field. I didn’t need to see the replay. I knew it was a stop.”
The Jaguars defense did a good job of limiting the Texans on offense all day. Houston’s lone touchdown came in the fourth quarter when Whitney Mercilus sacked Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew and forced a fumble. J.J. Watt recovered the ball on the 11-yard line setting the offense up with a very short field.
But it still took a two-yard plunge by Deshaun Watson on fourth and one to get in the endzone. With the touchdown, Houston led 13-3 with 11:35 left to play.
Jacksonville answered with a field goal on their next possession to get within a touchdown. The defense did its part on Houston’s next drive and got the ball back for Minshew and the Jags offense with 3:36 left in the game.
Houston just needed their once-proud defense to hold the line one more time to secure the win. Instead, they allowed the Jaguars to convert two fourth downs, including a fourth and ten, as part of a 14-play, 68-yard touchdown drive. But thanks to Marrone deciding to go for two, they were able to preserve the win.
It is hard to know how critical to be of the Texans defense, though. Once again, the offensive line struggled to protect Watson who was sacked four times by a Jags defense that was without one of its best pass rushers, Yannick Ngakoue.
While it was an improvement off last week, Watson was on the run so much he had trouble connecting on downfield throws. As a result, Watson was 16-29 on the day for 159 yards with almost half of it coming on two completions (a 31-yarder to Kenny Stills and a 28-yard completion to Will Fuller).
“These games are tough,” Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said after the game (via ESPN). “We didn’t do as well offensively as we want to do, and our defense picked us up. I think that was a really good team win.”
The Jaguars will get to face another division opponent next week when they visit the Tennessee Titans o Thursday night. Houston will be in for a tough one when they head out west to face the Los Angeles Chargers.