|National Football League|
Texans have their way with Jaguars, win 27-7
By MARK LONG
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Defensive end J.J. Watt settled into a nice little routine Sunday in Jacksonville.
Three plays and a leisurely stroll to the sideline.
He did it early and often, but it never became mundane.
"They have really, really nice benches," Watt said. "They have shade and they have cooling, so it was awesome that our offense held the ball for so long `cause we were relaxing over there."
Watt and his Houston teammates dominated every aspect of their 27-7 victory over the Jaguars. Arian Foster ran for 110 yards and a touchdown, Ben Tate added 74 yards and two scores, and the Texans defense held Jacksonville to a franchise-low 117 total yards.
Watt certainly did his part.
The second-year pro had a team-high five tackles, 1 1/2 sacks, a fumble recovery, three quarterback pressures and two pass deflections at the line of scrimmage.
"It's a blast," he said. "We're like little kids out there. It's so much fun to just run around and make plays."
The Texans forced seven three-and-outs in 12 possessions and set a franchise record for time of possession, holding the ball for more than 43 minutes.
Houston improved to 2-0 for the third consecutive season. The Jaguars started 0-2 for the third time in the past five years, and have lost four straight in the series.
The latest meeting wasn't even competitive. It may have eased any concerns Houston had about last week's 30-10 victory against Miami, a game in which the Texans struggled until converting three consecutive turnovers into touchdowns late in the second quarter.
"We were mad that we started slow last game so we came out here with a mission, a goal, to start fast," Watt said. "Two 20-point wins the first two weeks? That's what you're supposed to do. If we can just stay focused on our goals, we should be fine."
Houston looked every bit like a team picked to win the AFC South and make a run at the Super Bowl.
The Texans gained 242 yards in the first half while building a 17-0 lead. Foster ran for 69 yards and a score. Tate added 49 and a touchdown. Matt Schaub, using mostly short throws, picked apart Jacksonville's defense.
Houston finished with 411 yards, ran 83 plays, managed 28 first downs and converted eight of 17 times on third down.
"This was a tough loss for us," Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny said. "You're playing at home, against a division opponent, a playoff team, and we go out and perform like this? We did not play well at all. It showed us where we're at. We have a lot of work ahead of us."
Especially on offense.
The Jaguars ran just 38 plays, managed 52 yards passing and finished 0 for 9 on third down. It was worse than anything they did last season as the NFL's least productive offense.
"I'm not going to sit here and say I've got the answers for what went wrong today," Jaguars guard Uche Nwaneri said. "But clearly we weren't firing on all cylinders."
Blaine Gabbert looked like a rookie, hurrying throws, missing open receivers and showing little pocket presence. Gabbert completed 7 of 19 passes for 53 yards - his fewest yards in 16 games as a starter - and ended the day standing on the sideline with an ice pack on his left leg. He played one series in the fourth quarter before giving way to backup Chad Henne.
Coach Mike Mularkey said Gabbert "has a strain in the back of his leg" and was unsure if Gabbert will be able to play next week at Indianapolis.
Even before Gabbert's injury, Jacksonville totaled just 43 yards in the first half.
"Obviously, this is not the way we wanted to start the season at home," Mularkey said. "It was not a good showing from the very start to the very end. ... I told them maybe we needed to take a good punch to see how we respond."
The Jaguars showed some life to open the second half, turning good field position into a touchdown. Gabbert hooked up with Laurent Robinson for 32 yards, and then found Maurice Jones-Drew in the flat for a 5-yard score.
Houston answered right back, though, driving 80 yards in 17 plays. Jacksonville looked as if it would force a punt, but rookie Andre Branch was flagged for being offside on a third-down play, keeping the drive alive.
Tate's 2-yard plunge made it 24-7.
"That was a huge drive," Texans left tackle Duane Brown said. "We came out the second half, kind of flat and not with the same urgency we had in the first half. Coach got on us quickly and told us to pick it up. So the long drive was good. It made a statement for us, especially those of us up front. I think it took the wind out of them and really gave us a lot of momentum."
NOTES: Jones-Drew ran 12 times for 60 yards. His touchdown was the 75th of his career. He joined Randy Moss, Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates as the only active players with at least 75. ... Jaguars PK Josh Scobee set the franchise record for points (765), breaking the previous mark held by Mike Hollis. ... Schaub completed 26 of 35 passes for 195 yards. ... The Texans have won four in a row in the series for the first time.
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Updated September 17, 2012