Texans stay in AFC hunt with 27-13 win at Jaguars
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The Houston Texans are facing a one-game season.
At least that's how they're approaching next week's game at AFC South-leading Indianapolis.
After outscoring Jacksonville 17-0 in the second half and winning 27-13 on Sunday, the Texans (7-6) wasted no time turning their attention to the Colts (9-4).
A win would keep Houston in the division hunt and in the mix for a wild-card spot. A loss would end their AFC South title hopes and leave them on the verge of being eliminated from playoff contention.
''Everybody knows that this is our shot,'' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said. ''You know what will happen if we lose a game, so every game is even more important than the last one. This one was huge for us and now we can look ahead to the next one, which will also be very big.''
Arguably the biggest.
But the Texans head to Indy with a little extra confidence after winning consecutive games for the first time in nearly three months.
Arian Foster ran for 127 yards and a touchdown, which came on a nifty cutback move after he demanded the ball, and star defensive end J.J. Watt was as disruptive as usual. The only real question for the Texans is whether receiver Andre Johnson will be back after leaving with a concussion.
''It was scary to see Andre lying there,'' Foster said. ''You saw the love and what he means to this team with all the players and coaches out there around him. It showed how much he means to our team. But I talked to him and he said he'll be all right, so that's good.''
The Texans seemed a little shaken after Johnson's injury. They trailed 13-10 at halftime and were out of rhythm offensively.
But Houston changed things up during the break and dominated the final 30 minutes.
Jacksonville (2-11) managed just 4 yards in the third quarter and 73 in the second half. Houston controlled the ball for nearly 21 minutes after intermission, with more than a third of that coming on a 16-play, 84-yard touchdown drive that changed the momentum.
Foster's 1-yard scoring run early in the fourth sealed the victory. After Fitzpatrick got stuffed on third down, the Texans lined up for a field goal before calling time out and opting to go for it. Foster emphatically told coach Bill O'Brien he wanted the ball.
Foster initially looked he would be stopped for a loss, but he eluded a tackle, headed in the other direction and high-stepped into the end zone.
''I was just screaming for him to give me the ball,'' Foster said.
The Texans didn't gain any ground on Indianapolis, which edged Cleveland, but kept pace in muddled wild-card race.
''We are in a must-win situation now,'' said Watt, who finished with three sacks. ''We have strung two together and we need to continue to do it. We need to go on the road (at Indy) and try to do it again this week.''
Here are a few more things to know about the game:
WILD WEATHER: Strong wind, misting rain and falling temperature kept many fans inside the club area and sent others home for the second half. The stands were less than half full after intermission, creating more perception problems for a franchise that has worked so hard to distance itself from blackouts and slumping ticket sales.
WATT WATCH: Watt pretty much had his way with journeyman Sam Young, who replaced injured starter Austin Pasztor this week. Watt finished with three sacks, five quarterback hits and a pass defended. ''What more can you say?'' O'Brien said. ''From a sideline view that I saw, he affected the game a great deal.''
LOW MORALE: For a team that should be used to losing, this one felt different. Jacksonville led 13-10 at the break and had momentum and the ball to start the second half. That's when things unraveled. ''It's a difficult one,'' running back Toby Gerhart said. ''The morale is down in here, and that is hard for this team. Morale is never down. This is one we feel got away.''
ANOTHER PICK: A week after his first turnover-free game, Jaguars rookie Blake Bortles returned to form against Houston. Bortles threw his NFL-leading 15th interception late in the third quarter, which led to Foster's TD run.
NOTEWORTHY: Foster topped the 100-yard mark for the 31st time in his career and the seventh time this season. ... Jaguars PK Josh Scobee became the first player in franchise history to score 1,000 points. ... Jacksonville now has lost 37 of its last 45 games, including 27 by double digits.
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