Winless teams in the NFL are dropping like flies, courtesy of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Jaguars dropped into the AFC South cellar on Sunday, losing a game to a winless team for the third consecutive week in a 30-14 loss to the Texans.
It just keeps getting worse.
Houston had fired coach Bill O’Brien earlier in the week, had lost all four of its games by a touchdown or more and hadn’t forced a turnover in any of its games in 2020.
Nothing that a game against the Jaguars can’t cure.
Against odds that grew worse by the quarter due to injuries, Jacksonville’s maligned defense turned its best performance of the season early. But the team continued erratic and uneven efforts elsewhere.
Its kicking game was so bad that coach Doug Marrone bypassed certain points under normal conditions on two occasions by going for it. Gardner Minshew II and the offense were kept off the board for most of the game. Receiver DJ Chark left with an ankle injury. Safety Josh Jones was ejected for a helmet to helmet hit. Another safety, Andrew Wingard, left with a core muscle injury.
Minshew gave the Jaguars a shot late in this one, hitting rookie Collin Johnson on a 4-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-goal early in the fourth quarter to pull Jacksonville within 20-14.
The Texans responded with a field goal, then recovered a Minshew fumble and converted that into a 28-yard Brandin Cooks touchdown on fourth down that slammed the door shut on another loss for the Jaguars.
Jacksonville (1-4) has now lost four consecutive games, the final three of those (Dolphins, Bengals and Texans) coming to teams who entered the game winless. The Jaguars have given up 30 points or more in all four of their losses.
This one will be remembered the most by its atrocious kicking woes and the Jaguars refusing to even give Steven Hauschka further chances
Hauschka missed a 24-yarder wide left on his first attempt and left a 49-yarder right before halftime short of the goalpost.
Those misses wasted an excellent showing by the defense in the opening half, including a diving interception by Sidney Jones to give Jacksonville that final shot before halftime for Hauschka.
So burned by Hauschka were the Jaguars elected to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the Texans 8-yard line late in the third quarter. Jacksonville tried a direct snap to James Robinson, who rolled out, looked to pass and fumbled the ball.
Houston recovered the ball, its first takeaway of the season. The Texans added their second takeaway in the fourth quarter after Minshew was blindsided and lost the ball.
That kicking roster spot will no doubt come into focus again this week.
With Josh Lambo on injured reserve (hip), the Jaguars have tried Brandon Wright, Hauschka, Aldrick Rosas and Jon Brown. Wright was waived after a hip injury (and a missed PAT against the Dolphins). Rosas was pressed into action last week when Hauschka was injured, and he hit four of his five field goal tries. But Rosas went on the injured list this week and Hauschka replaced him against the Texans.
Minshew was 12 of his first 14 passing, including a gorgeous fade that Keelan Cole Sr. grabbed in the end zone and managed to get both of his feet in bounds and give Jacksonville a 7-3 lead. He finished 31 of 49 for 301 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but was sacked three times and had constant pressure in his face from the Texans.