It was apparent on that no one told the Jacksonville Jaguars that they weren’t supposed to be able to hang with the Houston Texans in the Week 11 matchup Reliant Stadium, on Sunday.
The home team eventually overcame the feisty Jags in a 43-37 overtime win, but not before battling through a nail-biting 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
In Week 2 of the NFL season, these teams met in Florida, but on top of being in a different stadium, the game itself was a far cry from what transpired in Houston this week.
It was in that game where the Texans took a 17-0 lead into halftime, and then came out and dominated Blaine Gabbert, Maurcie Jones-Drew and the rest of the Jacksonville team on their way to a 27-7 rout.
The second meeting was vastly different.
At halftime the score was tied at 17, and the Jaguars who started the game without Jones-Drew, finished the half also without Gabbert, who was injured about five minutes into the game.
But as much as this may have seemed like additional adversity for the banged up Jacksonville team, it may have been a blessing in disguise as Chad Henne came in at quarterback and put up some impressive numbers against the solid Houston defense.
Henne finished the day with 324 yards and four touchdowns completing on 16 of 33 passes.
As for the Texans, they looked a little sluggish on offense, and non-existent on defense. Among the usual suspects of Matt Schaub, Arian Foster, and J.J. Watt, it was a tandem of receivers who carried the load and provided the spark that got the team churning.
Veteran Andre Johnson, and rookie Keshawn Martin, made huge play after huge play all day long. Whether it was Martin’s nine-yard touchdown catch to begin the game or any of his kick-returns that went for 30-plus yards he helped give his team a chance to put points on the board. Johnson was no different making numerous crucial receptions, including the game-winner.
Johnson had a monster game by the end of it, catching 14 balls for 273 yards and a touchdown.
Martin finished with 247 all-purpose yards along with the lone score.
The Texans’ first three-and-a-half quarters of the game were summed up following a 71-yard punt return from Martin that set Houston up at the Jacksonville 23.
Down by seven, the Texans were knocking on the door and about to tie the game up, but the pesky Jaguars had other plans and an errant pass from Schaub was picked off by linebacker Paul Posluszny at the 11-yard line.
Another opportunity had been squandered.
With the game winding down the Texans’ were running out of opportunities.
But Houston got back to their usual ways and scored 14 unanswered points to close out the fourth quarter. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough to close out the game.
Houston kicker Shayne Graham came in to attempt a 43-yard field goal with :05 left in regulation. But before the kick could happen the Texans were called for a false start. Graham missed the ensuing try and the game went to overtime.
Another missed opportunity.
In overtime, Houston got the ball and marched down the field. They needed a touchdown to end the game, but after several shots to the end zone in the red zone, Graham came out and redeemed his missed field goal.
On the next possession, the Texans defense stopped the Jags on a crucial third down, but then gave up a big play on fourth down that kept the drive alive. Jacksonville went on to kick a field goal that tied the game at 37.
Houston got the ball and another chance to end the game, but Schaub threw his second pick of the day and the Texans’ chances of winning the game looked to be in serious jeopardy.
Fortunately, the Texans’ defense woke up when the Jaguars got the ball, and stonewalled them on four plays for the first time all day.
Houston got the ball back on downs, and two plays later, Schaub found Johnson near the sideline. The big receiver took the ball and jetted the rest of the way for the 48-yard touchdown that sealed the deal.
The Texans won in fantastic fashion — but it wasn’t pretty.
When all was said and done Schaub finished the day with incredible numbers: 43-of-55 for 527 yards, 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
No one expected this game to come down to the wire, but Houston responded once again in a new unexpected situation. No one will say that this is how the Texans should have played or that things are looking up after a game like this, but there’s a new number in the win column and the Texans have another experience under their belt.
It might look startling that one of the best teams in the league came within one play of losing to one of the worst, but Houston is no worse off than when the day began.
The Texans now have a short week ahead of them to recuperate and prepare for a Turkey Day showdown with the Detroit Lions who suffered a close loss at the hands of the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.