Sunday, January 03, 2016

Houston defeats Jacksonville 30-6; wins AFC South

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
By Robert H Kelly
Copyright 2016 TexSport Publications

HOUSTON, TEXAS (January 3, 2016) The Houston Texans punched their ticket to the NFL Playoffs on Sunday, January 3, 2016 with a 30-6 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. With the victory, the Texans win the AFC South; their first division title since 2012. Houston head coach Bill O’Brien discussed the Texans’ playoffs with the media in the post-game press conference.
“We got to really take advantage of the momentum that we have.  We got to put extra time in because there’s more to it than this hat. Congratulations on this hat but let’s keep getting some hats.”
The Texans drew blood first on a 29-yard field goal by Nick Novak. The drive lasted 3:30 and cover 47 yards in eight plays. Novak is now 16-of-18 in field goals this season. They added to their lead 46 seconds into the second quarter when quarterback Brian Hoyer connected with running back Jonathan Grimes on a 12-yard pass for the touchdown. The drive covered 79 yards in 10 plays; lasting 4:33. Novak split the uprights for the extra points, his 27th in 28 attempts this season.

The Jaguars answered at the 10:13 mark in the second quarter with a 43-yard field goal by Jason Myers to make the score 10-3 in favor of the Texans. Houston added 10 points in the final 5:37 of the first half. Grimes again got the call and romped the final three yards of a 42-yard, six play drive for his second touchdown of the game. Novak added the extra point to give the Texans a 17-3 lead. With three seconds remaining in the first half, Novak booted a 51-yard field goal to give Houston a 20-3 advantage with 30 minutes to play.

Photo by Darla Tamulitis-La Vita Loca Photography
Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved
After a bit of give and take during the third quarter, Myers added three points to the Jacksonville total as result of a 34-yard field goal with 43 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The Texans added an insurance field goal with 3:24 remaining in the game when Novak connected from 51 yards out for the score. They added another touchdown when Kareem Jackson picked off a Blake Bortles pass intended for Allen Robinson with 3:09 remaining in the game. He returned the interception 27 yards for the score. Novak added the extra point to take the score to 30-6.

Hoyer was in good form, coming back from concussion protocol, completing 25-of-40 passes for 249 yards and one touchdown. He discussed the season after the game in the press conference.
“It’s been a crazy year, but we’ve stayed the course. When we could have split apart, we really came together. I was just always staying ready. I never knew when that opportunity would come. It came a few weeks later and eventually, after the Colts game, I was back. It was just one of those things that for me, dealing with that adversity, coming in every day and staying ready, and then having to come in and deal with the injuries and stuff like that, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Billy (O’Brian).”
Alfred Blue carried the ball 21 times for 102 yards while DeAndre Hopkins caught seven passes for 89 yards. Grimes, with his two touchdown passes, caught four passes for 27 yards. Defensively, J.J. Watt accounted for eight tackles, three sacks and one forced fumble.  Brian Cushing tallied six tackles and one forced fumble. Bortles completed 17-of-32 passes for 239 yards and one interception for Jacksonville. Robinson caught five passes for 108 yards while Jonas Gray carried the ball nine times for 23 yards for the Jaguars.

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