Bortles completed six passes for 61 yards before getting replaced by Kessler.
The Jaguars' offense struggled mightily in the first half against the Texans on Sunday, failing to score as Jacksonville trailed 20-0 after 30 minutes. Quarterback Blake Bortles attempted to get the offense on track in the first drive of the second half, but a fumble at the Jacksonville four-yard-line ended his afternoon early.
Head coach Doug Marrone benched Bortles after his second fumble of the afternoon, sending in third-year quarterback Cody Kessler. The USC product started eight games in his career, going 0–8 for the Browns in 2016.
Kessler made an immediate improvement on the Jags' offense, leading Jacksonville on a 10-play touchdown drive. Kessler found the endzone on a five-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Yeldon.
Bortles was pulled after going 6-12 for 61 yards on the afternoon. He added two fumbles against Houston, his eighth turnover in the past three weeks.
The No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, Bortles entered Sunday completing 61.2% of attempts, throwing for 1674. The Jaguars offense ranked No. 28 in the NFL in scoring prior to Sunday, averaging 18.2 points per game.
Jacksonville trailed Houston 20-0 midway through the third quarter.
On Kessler's second drive, he tossed a six-yard touchdown pass to Yeldon. He finished the game at 21-for-30 for 156 yards the one score and one interception.
However, the Texans held on to win the game 20-7.