JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In the opening drive of the second half against the Texans, the Jaguars started to look like last year's team. Seven plays, 76 yards and a touchdown (an inside move by Matt Jones of all things) and the Jaguars lead 17-10 in the third quarter.
Up to that point, as my friend David Lamm likes to say, it looked like a typical NFL game: back and forth, field goals, third downs and not much more.
Maurice Jones Drew looks a little bit hobbled, perhaps a result of last week's ankle injury. Other than that the offense just looked a little out of sync not really getting the job done in crucial situations. "Pedestrian" is how one expert put it in the press box.
Obviously, the Texans saw something about the Jaguars coverage over the middle because that's the only place they're throwing the ball, especially on third down.
In the first half, Rashean Mathis left with a bruised shin and, although they said he'd return, he wasn't back in the game yet. That puts Will James on the field in a pretty vulnerable situation. And maybe it's not just James. The whole defense seems to be playing one step off their man, giving Houston a chance to convert.
They're not putting enough pressure on Matt Schaub to make a difference so he's looking like a world-beater. Because of that, the Texans tied the game right back up a 17 going over 80 yards for a touchdown.
"We had opportunities," is how Jack Del Rio characterized the loss to Buffalo. Win or lose, he'll have the same thing to say about this game.
The Jaguars have dropped passes and missed opportunities, but did convert a 40-yard field goal by Josh Scobee to take a 20-17 lead. But again the defense can't seem to make a lead stick. The Jaguars still aren't getting any pressure on the quarterback so Schaub is looking like an all star, marching Houston right down the field and giving Houston a 24-20 lead with a touchdown pass after 11 plays and 85 yards.
Did I mention that Jerry Porter is active in this game? It's not that he's been an "impact" payer at all. Right now, he's another "guy" on the field. Part of that might be the continued average play by David Garrard. It's not that he's been bad but not he just hasn't made the big play that's necessary to keep drives alive. He has scrambled a bit putting the Jaguars in a good position at the end of the game, but he hasn't made the big throw that will make the difference. He's the reason they've been successful on this drive, and he's the reason they haven't been successful as well.
In fact, the last four plays of the drive (13-plays 62 yards) were Garrard running the ball, eventually getting into the end zone. 27-24 Jaguars with 1:48 and one Texan timeout left.
Matt Schaub, All-star in this game, marched the Texans right back down the field, Kris Brown with a 47 yard field goal to tie the game at 27.
Based on how the defense has played, the deciding factor in this game could be the overtime coin flip. The Jaguars win the flip (Houston called tails and it came up heads).
In every game this year, the Jaguars have given up a score on the opposing team's last possession. In this game, the Texans did it twice in the fourth quarter, once to take the lead and the other to tie it.
Matt Jones made a nice catch on second down to put the ball in Houston Territory. Greg Jones took a little swing pass down to the twenty and after a first down run by Fred Taylor, Del Rio decided to try for the winning field goal on second down from 37 yards out.
Scobee nails it and the Jaguars win in OT 30-27.
Even with the win, it can't be a good feeling for the Jaguars at this point. Their defense is porous, especially in crucial situations and the offense still isn't in sync. Perhaps when Brad Meester returns it'll be a different story but right now it's not much.