By Brien O’Donal
T.J. Yates couldn’t deliver and the offense was largely absent as the Texans fell to the Jaguars 45-7 in a lop-sided game. Jacksonville secured their first playoff berth since 2007 while Houston fell to 4-10 on the season. Deandre Hopkins was the lone bright spot for the Texans, catching four passes for 80 yards and a touchdown. T.J. Yates finished 12/31 for 128 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
The Jaguars are doing everything they can in the final weeks to work toward a potential first round playoff bye week and the Texans are just trying to win some games. These are two teams that play hard against each other every year, but it’s usually the Texans fighting for playoff seeding.
The Texans pass defense was almost non-existent, allowing Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles to throw for 326 yards and three touchdowns. They failed to force any turnovers and allowed points on half of Jacksonville’s drives.
It was always going to be tough sledding for the Texans who began the game ranked 24th in points per game and had T.J. Yates starting for the first time this season. The Jaguars, who have the number one ranked scoring defense, came hard after the new quarterback and the Texans never found a rhythm. They had seven three-and-out drives in 13 chances, managed only 186 yards of total offense and allowed four sacks for -29 yards.
Jacksonville’s first four drives resulted in 171 yards and three touchdowns as the Jaguars jumped out to a big 21-0 lead in the early part of the second quarter. Before halftime Jacksonville added a field goal and Blake Bortles threw his third touchdown pass of the game and the lead jumped to 31 points.
The Texans’ offense was completely shut down in the first half and without a credible run game they couldn’t attack Jacksonville’s only defensive weakness. They were forced to rely on a quarterback who couldn’t recreate the success from his first action of the season against 49ers last week.
They have scored more than 16 points once since Deshaun Watson was lost in Week 9 so a comeback was highly unlikely.
But at least the T.J. Yates still has DeAndre Hopkins to throw to. He had only one catch for 10 yards in the first half with Jalen Ramsey blanketing him in coverage. But they stuck with it and he set the new Texan’s franchise record with his 12th touchdown catch of the year in the third quarter.
The Jaguars added two more touchdowns on the ground and continued to chew up the clock on the way to victory. The rest of the game was a deflated effort by the Texans to get out of town and search for a way to find some offense.
This may have been what was expected against the number two overall defense in the NFL but it certainly wasn’t what fans want to see. It doesn’t look good next week either as the Steelers come to town for a prime-time game.